Everything we ever wanted by Sarah Shepard

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 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?

My Review:

            One thing I always like to do is figure out why a book has been giving its name. It took me a while to figure out where the title came from. It actually took me to the end of the book. To tell you, would be giving the book away and I want you to read it instead.

I could not quite figure out the plot to this book. I guess I was looking for a complicated plot when it became apparent to me that I was looking for something that was not there; the plot was simple. The book is about a family that struggles through life, something we all do. It is about how we do the best we can through each phase of our lives.

The book is about how we make mistakes. It is about how we say things we wish we could take back; the way we do things we wish we hadn’t. The book is about how we do things to get the attention of those we love. It is a story about how complicated relationships can be; those haunting memories of what could have been; should have been. It is about what finally breaks us; what finally allow us to either connect or disconnect with people.

It is only when we peel away the layers of the past that we clearly see the present and begin the future, thus fulfilling our destiny.

The only disappointment in the book for me was the ending. The ending left you with the impression that all works out, but I would have liked that extra chapter; I am a closer. I am giving this book two thumbs up (that is all I have) and would highly recommend reading it.

 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 Liarsand The Lying Game, as well as the adult novel, The Visibles, she currently lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband and dogs.

This book is set for release in October 2011.