All We Ever Wanted
by Giffin, Emily

When her golden-boy son posts a controversial photograph of a scholarship student online, triggering a local scandal, a wife and mother finds herself sympathizing more with the girl's family than her own. By the best-selling author of First Comes Love.

Emily Giffin is the author of eight 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, and First Comes Love. A graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children.

New York Times bestselling author Giffin (First Comes Love, 2016) tackles the topics of race, sexual assault, and class in her latest. Nina Browning is the crème de la crème of Nashville high society-beautiful, smart, and married to one of the richest men in the city. Raised in middle-class Bristol, Nina hopes that she has instilled humble values in her teenage son Finch-values that her old-money husband appears to lack. But when Finch is accused of taking and sending an explicit photo of an unconscious Latina coed, Nina wonders if she has failed her son and, ultimately, herself. Using the points of view of Nina, Lyla (the girl in the photograph), and Lyla's father, Tom, Giffin weaves a story of what parents will do to protect their children, even if it's from themselves. But the story lacks authenticity and sincerity. The author's attempts to call out white privilege fall a little flat, which may disappoint new readers, though longtime fans will appreciate her beach-read style exploration of serious issues. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

The day after Nina Browning's son, Finch, is accepted to Princeton, he makes a terrible decision, and Nina's perfect life comes crashing down. Raised in the small town of Bristol, on the border of Tennessee and Virginia, Nina married well. Her husband, Kirk, and she have raised Finch among Nashville's privileged, well-manicured mansions, sending him to the prestigious Windsor Academy. Yet an alcohol-soaked party ends with Finch snapping compromising pictures of an unconscious young woman, Lyla Volpe, a sophomore on scholarship to Windsor. The photos spread like wildfire through the town, leaving Lyla devastated. Her father, Tom, a carpenter struggling to raise Lyla alone after her mother deserted them, is determined to exact justice from the school's Honor Council. Nina is dismayed to find Finch and Kirk blithely unconcerned about Lyla's feelings or Finch's crime. They are far more interested in using the Browning family wealth to convince the school and Tom to turn a blind e ye—not to mention using Finch's sexual magnetism to manipulate Lyla's emotions. Distraught, Nina forges friendships with Tom and Lyla, which will expose the fault lines in her own family. Giffin (First Comes Love, 2016, etc.) shifts perspectives from chapter to chapter, giving voice to Lyla's teenage fears of social repercussions and Tom's efforts to balance his fierce protective streak with his desire to give his daughter her freedom. Yet it is Nina's chapters that ring most powerfully, as Giffin captures the complexity of Nina's emotions: Her maternal instincts to protect her son war against her feminist alliance with the wronged Lyla; her wistful memories of her beloved little boy wrestle with her outrage at his racist, sexist, and increasingly devious young adult behavior; and her carefully constructed sense of family fractures against her realization that Kirk may not be the husband, father, or man she thought he was. A compelling portrait of a woman facing the di f ficult limits of love. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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