Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Everything We Ever Wanted

About the book:
One phone call can change everything...

When Sylvie Bates-McAllister, a recently-widowed mother of two, receives a late-night phone call from the prestigious school founded by her grandfather, her family is thrown into chaos. Her adopted son Scott may have been involved in a hazing scandal --and it may or may not have led to the death of one of the boys he coaches on the school team. Sylvie must decide between maintaining her outwardly perfect life --the family estate outside Philadelphia inherited from her grandfather, the school, the reputation --and the son who she feels wants nothing to do with her.

For Charles, Sylvie's biological son, the call dredges up a ghost from the past --his high school girlfriend who has been off the map for years. Joanna, his wife, is forced to confront all the things that she didn't anticipate would come along with a perfect life she imagined ever since she was a young girl, creating her scrapbook of the Bates-McAllisters. Scott, haunted by years of first impressions and assumptions, is drawn into a new understanding of a world he has never felt a part of.

For all the Bates-McAllisters, the phone call awakens questions lain dormant for years, revealing a tangled web of secrets that ties the family together: the mystery of the school hazing, Sylvie's deceased husband's locked filing cabinet, the event that tore Charles and Scott apart the night of their high school graduation, and the intended recipient of a certain bracelet. The quest to push past a legacy of resentment and judgments to unravel the truth takes the family on individual journeys across state lines, into hospitals, through the Pennsylvania woods, and face-to-face with the question: what if the life you always planned for, and dreamed of, isn't what you want at all?

Sara Shepard graduated from New York University and has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College. The author of the bestselling young adult series, Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game, as well as the adult novel, The Visibles, she currently lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband and dogs.

My Thoughts: Sara Shepard writes a compelling story that was hard to put down. I thought this book might dwell on the hazing but instead it focused on the family's relationships and interactions. Just when you thought you understood the Bates-McAllister family, a secret from the past was revealed compelling you to keep reading to see how it would impact them. The nearly 20 page epilogue tied up loose ends and left the reader with a feeling of hope and possibly a sequel.
Sara Shepard is an author I will continue to read; I am going to add The Visibles to my reading list.

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.

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