TLC Blog Tour: Everything We Ever Wanted

Everything We Ever Wanted

Sara Shepard

Harper Paperbacks

352 pages

It’s typical, especially in smaller towns, for there to be a family that is revered above all others, whose wealth and legacy makes them seem special.  The Bates-McAllisters are that family.  Sylvie Bates-McAllister is the granddaughter of Charles Bates, founder of the private school Swithin, and she had also inherited the family estate Roderick, where she now lives as a middle aged widow.  Sylvie and her deceased husband James have two adult sons, Charles and Scott.  Charles is a meek man who keeps everything bottled up.  He is recently married to Joanna and his new marriage is already showing cracks due to Charles’s unwillingness to open up.

Meanwhile, Scott has his own troubles.  He is very a combative, caustic man, a lot of that owing to his adoption.  While Charles is the biological son of James and Sylvie, Scott is not, and has always felt different because of it.  Now Scott is coming under fire because of the apparent suicide of a student at Swithin, where Scott is a wrestling coach.  The headmaster informs Sylvie that there is suspicion that there has been hazing on the wrestling team that may have instigated the suicide and that Scott may be involved in the hazing.  All of a sudden, the reputation that has taken generations to build seems to be shattering right before Sylvie’s eyes.

Everything We Ever Wanted is told by three different people: Sylvie, Joanna and Charles.  At first it was hard to see where the book was going and how the narration of all three characters fit together.  It then started to become clear that the hazing situation, while being a major plot point, was just a fraction of what the book was about.  Instead, it was a great expose on family as well as reputation and what is really important.  Scott quickly became a sympathetic character.  In fact, they all did, but his was the character that I felt the most towards.  He went from being a despicable person to being someone that was tormented by his own demons.  Scott had never been able to forge relationships with the people around him.  He had always felt like an outcast, and that’s the way he was treated.  It was sad; Sylvie had tried her hardest to be a good mother, but she let James dictate the way the bonds were formed in their household and her children suffered because of it.  Everyone became a victim of the circumstances and it wasn’t until James had been dead a few months and the scandal hit that everyone was eventually able to break out of the cycle they had been trapped in and finally reach out to one another.

I was hesitant about this book for the first thirty pages or so.  I couldn’t see myself caring about the characters and I was unsure of where the story would go. I am glad I put aside my doubts and kept on reading because this book actually exceeded my expectations.  It was such a great look into the dynamic of a troubled family and I found myself thinking about it long after I turned the last page.

About Sara Shepard

Sara Shepard graduated from New York University and has an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College. The author of the bestselling young adult books Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game, as well as the adult novel The Visibles, She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and dogs.

Visit her website at, and follow her on Twitter, @sarabooks.

Sara’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, October 11th: A Soul Unsung

Wednesday, October 12th: Life in Review

Thursday, October 13th: Books Like Breathing

Friday, October 14th: A Bookish Way of Life

Monday, October 17th: A Cozy Reader’s Corner

Tuesday, October 18th: Rundpinne

Wednesday, October 19th: Reviews By Lola

Thursday, October 20th: Jo-Jo Loves to Read!

Monday, October 24th: Book Addiction

Tuesday, October 25th: Good Girl Gone Redneck

Wednesday, October 26th: In the Next Room

Thursday, October 27th: Colloquium



I received a copy of this book via the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for my participation on this tour.

10 Responses

  1. I enjoy books about dysfunctional characters especially within the same family and these characters definitely have some issues. I find it so interesting what people think is important in life. I’m interested to see how the idea of the importance of reputaton plays out in Sylvie’s story when her family’s reputation is potentially damaged. It sounds like there are a lot of themes interacting and developing in this book and i want to see how they’re resolved!

    Thank you for a great review that has convinced me to list this book on my tbr!

  2. You’ve written a good review of this book! I really wanted to review it, but missed the opportunity. From your review, I felt I almost did! Geat job!
    And, thank sor visiting me, as well. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.


  3. This is interesting to me because it sounds a lot like a book I just finished (for Jan. publication) called Defending Jacob. But it was just so tragic and so emotionally draining to read, I think I’ll pass on the opportunity to go through that again!

  4. I’ve been curious about this one, and I think I will need to give this one a try. Thanks for the review!

  5. I’ve seen this one popping up here and there. It’s sometimes nice to read about a really dysfunctional family, so I can realize how good mine was/is. Thanks for a thoughtful review!

  6. I am planning on reading this one as I often find myself attracted to stories about dysfunction families. Thanks for the great review.

  7. It sounds like its about little and a lot at the same time. I usually love books about families like this so I’ll keep it in mind. (actually I think I might have the net galley of this lol….)

  8. Lovely review — I haven’t heard of this book but I’m intrigued — esp since it seems to be about so much more (hazing incident didn’t grab me).

  9. Don’t you love it when you stick with a book and it turns out to be such a great read?! Thanks for being a part of this tour.

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