Review: Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard
Author: Sara Shepard
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: October 11, 2010
Rating: DNF (Did not finish–read 37%)
Source: Publisher via netGalley
Natalie’s 1-Sentence Synopsis: Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard has earned the dubious distinction for being the first DNF of my book blogging career (and only the fourth DNF book of my whole life!)
A recently widowed mother of two, Sylvie Bates-McAllister finds her life upended by a late-night phone call from the headmaster of the prestigious private school founded by her grandfather where her adopted son Scott teaches. Allegations of Scott’s involvement in a hazing scandal cause a ripple effect, throwing the entire family into chaos. For Charles, Sylvie’s biological son, it dredges up a ghost from the past who is suddenly painfully present. For his wife Joanna, it forces her to reevaluate everything she’s hoped for in the golden Bates-McAllisters. And for Scott, it illuminates harsh truths about a world he has never truly felt himself a part of.
But for all the Bates-McAllisters, the call exposes a tangled web of secrets that ties the family together: the mystery of the school hazing, the event that tore Charles and Scott apart the night of their high school awards ceremony, and the intended recipient of a certain bracelet. The quest to unravel the truth takes the family on individual journeys across state lines, into hospitals, through the Pennsylvania woods, and face-to-face with the long-dormant question: what if the life you always planned for and dreamed of isn’t what you want after all?
Believe me when I tell you that when it comes to books, my tenacity knows almost no bounds. I’ve soldiered through boring novels, hackneyed plots, and annoying characters in my career as a reader. My mildly compulsive tendencies compel me to finish books I’m not enjoying, especially if I’ve accepted them for review.
While I’ve generally accepted this character flaw of mine, I’ve noticed other bloggers refusing to be bogged down by books that aren’t working for them–marking them DNF or publishing mini-reviews–and letting the books go. Breaking up with a book has always gone against everything in my genetic makeup. I’ve written posts about it and to this day am haunted by my failure with The Book Thief, a book I haven’t yet been able to finish despite a 2009 New Year’s resolution and the accolades and plaudits its garnered from friends, bloggers, and the media.
Several times over the summer and into the fall, I tried to get into Everything We Ever Wanted but met failure at every turn. Many of my students are rabid Sara Shepard fans–the Pretty Little Liars books are ubiquitous in my girls’ backpacks and lockers–and I read a few of the PLL series and tried out (but didn’t love) The Lying Game.
Despite my attempts, this book just didn’t work for me–it moved too slowly, I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, and just couldn’t muster up any interest in the plot–so I’m marking it DNF.
If you’ve read and reviewed this one, leave a comment and I’ll link your review here.
Do you suffer from DNF guilt or is life too short to spend time on books you’re not enjoying?