Emily Giffin’s books have always been juicy page-turners, many revolving around a love story. Her latest, “All We Ever Wanted,” takes a more serious turn. Its relevance, particularly in the #MeToo era, makes it a must-read.
The story takes place in a wealthy suburb of Nashville, Tennessee. The characters are mostly stereotypically rich, working in finance or taking spin classes and meeting for green juices at the local hotspots. The book focuses on three specific people in the small town: Nina Browning, who married into money; Tom Volpe, a single carpenter living on the “other” side of town; and Tom’s 16-year-old daughter Lyla, who gets caught up in a texting scandal.
“All We Ever Wanted” takes the reader on the journey as the scandal unfolds, following each of the three characters. Giffin has a knack for writing almost exactly like teens speak nowadays, which makes the chapters that Lyla narrates quite believable. Throughout the book, the intertwined stories of Nina, Tom and Lyla make it easy for the reader to cheer for them.
The heart of the book is the teenage Lyla. We, as readers, see her experience sexual abuse and, as the book ends, discover whether she triumphs or falls in facing its consequences.