Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Everything We Ever Wanted" Was Not This Book...

In the past five months, I have read four books about high school scandals. There must be something in the air that has turned so many people’s attention to these events. Of course bullying is in the forefront of everyone’s mind these days and I think that many of these books do justice to such a complicated topic. Unfortunately, there are other novels that fall short and do not add anything to this canon of literature. Sadly, Sara Shepard’s “Everything We Ever Wanted” is one of these works.

The story is told from various viewpoints within the Bates-McAllister family. First, is the matriarch of the family, Sylvie Bates-McAllister whose family established a private prep school in Pennsylvania. Two months after her husband dies, Sylvie receives a phone call from the headmaster of the school informing her that her son has been involved in a hazing situation. Sylvie’s son, Scott, is the school’s wrestling coach and was in fact adopted by the Bates-McAllister’s when he was young. Due to this, he has never felt like he fit in with the rich and famous with whom he was raised. Sylvie’s other son, Charles, is devastated that once again his adopted brother has dragged the family name through the mud. Watching all of this unfold is Charles’ new wife who has striven most of her life to become a Bates-McAllister and still is made to feel on the outs. The family must attempt to come together during this time and face their past demons in order to save their name, the school, and their family.

Clearly, there is a lot going on in this novel. I would like to say that it is handled well...but it’s not. There are far too may issues for a book that is under 300 pages and with characters that lack any development. The plot is horrifically predictable which would not be such an issue if the characters were more realistic and grew during the novel. The relationships portrayed are very thin and therefore hinder the novel from progressing or being meaningful. Though one can easily see where the book is leading you, there are many questions left unanswered. However, this is not like other pieces of literature where you mull over the ending and discuss with friends what really happened. Instead, this is as if you’re doing a crossword puzzle and someone forgot the clue for 39 can still figure out the answer but it’s annoying and you lose interest. Personally, I will not be recommending this to any friend, book group, or family member. I give it two stars because I believe Shepard could make this into a decent young adult book, but there’s nothing here that hasn’t already been done...and done better.

1 comment:

  1. It's so disappointing when a book isn't well written. Bullying is a very important subject, too bad this book didn't do the subject justice. New follower from blogholic, I love to read and look forward to your future reviews!