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All We Ever Wanted
Cover of All We Ever Wanted
All We Ever Wanted
A Novel
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER In the riveting novel from the #1 bestselling author of Something Borrowed and First Comes Love, three very different people must choose between their families and their most deeply held values. . . .
"An unpredictable page-turner that unfolds in the voices of three superbly distinct characters."—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution • "A gripping, thought-provoking journey."—Jodi Picoult
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THESKIMM

Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville's elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton.
Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she's strayed from the person she once was.
Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville's most prestigious private school.
Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn't always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn't help—but in most ways, she's a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving.
Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.
At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.
Praise for All We Ever Wanted
"Page-turning . . . Timely and thought-provoking, it's Giffin's best yet."People
"Giffin's novel has style and substance . . . . Truly excellent."The Washington Post
"If you're looking for a book club selection, All We Ever Wanted is bound to spark meaningful and meaty discussions."The Augusta Chronicle
"A page-turning exploration of wealth and privilege."Entertainment Weekly
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER In the riveting novel from the #1 bestselling author of Something Borrowed and First Comes Love, three very different people must choose between their families and their most deeply held values. . . .
"An unpredictable page-turner that unfolds in the voices of three superbly distinct characters."—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution • "A gripping, thought-provoking journey."—Jodi Picoult
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THESKIMM

Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville's elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton.
Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she's strayed from the person she once was.
Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville's most prestigious private school.
Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn't always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn't help—but in most ways, she's a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving.
Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.
At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.
Praise for All We Ever Wanted
"Page-turning . . . Timely and thought-provoking, it's Giffin's best yet."People
"Giffin's novel has style and substance . . . . Truly excellent."The Washington Post
"If you're looking for a book club selection, All We Ever Wanted is bound to spark meaningful and meaty discussions."The Augusta Chronicle
"A page-turning exploration of wealth and privilege."Entertainment Weekly
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  • From the cover chapter one

    NINA

    It started out as a typical Saturday night. And by typical, I don't mean normal in any mainstream American way. There was no grilling out with the neighbors or going to the movies or doing any of the things I did as a kid. It was simply typical for what we'd become since Kirk sold his software company, and we went from comfortable to wealthy. Very wealthy.

    Obscene was the description my childhood best friend Julie once used—­not about us, but about Melanie, another friend—­after Melanie bought herself a diamond Rolex for Mother's Day and then offhandedly remarked at one of our dinner parties that homemade pottery from her kids "wasn't going to cut it."

    "She could feed a Syrian refugee camp for an entire year with that watch," Julie had groused in my kitchen after the other guests had departed. "It's obscene."

    I'd nodded noncommittally, hiding my own Cartier under the edge of our marble island, as I silently reassured myself with all the ways my watch, and therefore my life, were different from Melanie's. For one, I didn't buy the watch for myself on a whim; Kirk gave it to me for our fifteenth anniversary. For another, I had always loved when our son, Finch, made me presents and cards in his younger years, and was sad that those had become relics of the past.

    Most important, I don't think I ever flaunted our wealth. If anything, it embarrassed me. As a result, Julie didn't hold our money against me. She didn't know our exact worth but had a general sense of it, especially after she'd gone house hunting with me when Kirk was too busy, helping me find our home on Belle Meade Boulevard, where we now lived. She and her husband and girls were regular guests at our lake house and our home on Nantucket, just as she happily inherited my gently used designer hand-­me-­downs.

    Occasionally Julie would call Kirk out, though, not for being showy like Melanie but for having elitist tendencies. A fourth-­generation silver-­spoon Nashvillian, my husband grew up ensconced in a private-­school, country-­club world, so he'd had some practice at being a snob, even back when his money was merely old, and not yet obscene. In other words, Kirk came from a "good family"—­that elusive term that nobody ever came out and defined, yet we all knew was code for having old money and a certain well-­bred, refined taste. As in: he's a Browning.

    My maiden name, Silver, held no such status, not even by the standards of Bristol, the town on the Tennessee-­Virginia border where I grew up and Julie still lived. We were no slouches—­my dad wrote for the Bristol Herald Courier and my mom was a fourth-­grade teacher—­but we were squarely middle class, and our idea of living large was everyone ordering dessert at a nonchain restaurant. Looking back, I wonder if that may have explained my mom's preoccupation with money. It wasn't that she was impressed with it, but she could always tell you who had it and who did not, who was cheap and who was living beyond their means. Then again, my mom could pretty much tell you anything about anyone in Bristol. She wasn't a gossip—­at least not a mean-­spirited one—­she was simply fascinated by other people's business, from their wealth and health to their politics and religion.

    Incidentally, my dad is Jewish and my mother Methodist. Live and let live is their mantra, an outlook that was passed on to both my brother, Max, and me, the two of us embracing the more attractive elements of each religion, like Santa Claus and Seders, while punting Jewish guilt and Christian judgment. This was a good...
About the Author-
  • Emily Giffin is the author of nine internationally bestselling novels: Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You're With, Heart of the Matter, Where We Belong, The One & Only, First Comes Love, and All We Ever Wanted. A graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 30, 2018
    Giffin’s stellar latest (following First Comes Love), set in Nashville, concerns the wealthy Brownings and the scandal that ensues when their Princeton-bound son Finch appears to have taken a racy photo of Lyla Volpe, a high school sophomore on scholarship at the prestigious Windsor Academy. Nina’s husband Kirk grew up with money, and they’re richer than ever now that he’s sold his tech company. Though he’s confident and charming, Nina’s starting to question his character—especially when Kirk doesn’t want high school senior Finch to face the consequences of the photo of Lyla unconscious and exposed at a party. Though it’s not revealed until later in the book who took the photo, it gets widely spread around, and the fallout is substantial. Nina wants Finch to be a good person above all, and she bristles when she learns that Kirk tried to bribe Lyla’s father, Tom, to drop the issue with the school. Nina tries to right things with Tom, a carpenter who also drives an Uber to make extra cash. Tom has a huge chip on his shoulder that’s exacerbated by the stresses of single parenthood, but he finds himself liking Nina despite her wealth. Meanwhile, Finch starts dating Lyla and tells her that he’s covering for the person who really took the photo. Things come to a head as Nina attempts to find out whether her son is honorable or as untrustworthy as his father. Giffin’s plot touches on social class and misogyny while delivering an excellent page-turning story. This satisfying novel will appeal to readers looking for a nuanced, thoughtful take on family and social dynamics.

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All We Ever Wanted
A Novel
Emily Giffin
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