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All We Ever Wanted

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In the riveting new 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

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

“Nina Browning has it all: the handsome husband, the Ivy-League-bound teenage son, and the big house in the Nashville suburbs. But with one unthinkable social media post from her beloved child, could it all fall apart? Dealing with issues of class, money, and race, All We Ever Wanted is the book everyone will be talking about.”PopSugar

“This complex and layered novel will give you all the feels.” Brit + Co

“This thought-provoking novel follows two Nashville families as they struggle with the fallout from a horrible incident. . . . It's one of Giffin's most topical, gripping books yet.”Good Housekeeping

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 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.

Customer Reviews

A Coming-of-Age Story Within a Family Drama

All we ever wanted was wealth, comfort, happiness, acceptance, and love. Emily Giffin’s latest novel, All We Ever Wanted is a coming-of-age story within a family drama.

Ms. Giffin’s story outlines the evils of affluence. Her message that with money comes a sense of entitlement that allows one to believe they only have to answer to themselves is not subtle. Many of her key characters feel justified in any action if it secures them their rightful place in their socio-economic class.

All We Ever Wanted is narrated from three points of view. After years of marriage, Nina Browning finally comes to the realization that her husband is a user and a liar. Worse yet, he is teaching their son, Finch, to be the same. She is a passive heroine. She is supportive of Lyla Volpe, who {allegedly} her son as publicly shamed, however, she makes no effort to push her son to own his misbehavior and accept the consequences of that admission. Single dad, Tom Volpe, tries his best to be a good role model and a protective father. He is not wholly successful, however, he is by far the only character who seems to be truly a good person. Lyla Volpe, the third narrator, is a typical teen. She is desperate to be noticed and to fit into with the cool kids at her posh private school. She makes serial bad choices, and she easily falls prey to the charms of Nina’s womanizing son and his friends.

Lyla’s story, along with that of her classmate Polly, allows Ms. Giffin to show her readers the pitfalls of social media and underage drinking. The author also broaches the tough topic of teen suicide None of these topics are explored in depth, but the author does show how quickly the well-to-do circle their wagons when accusations are made.

The story is well paced. There are a few likable characters, however, the only narrator I had empathy for was Tom Volpe. I liked the trajectory of Lyla’s life both in terms of her decision to tough out the rest of high school and later her happy and successful life. However, I was not completely satisfied with Tom, Nina and Finch’s story. The lack of justice is sadly realistic, but does result in an unsatisfying end. All We Ever Wanted is an excellent book for meaty book club discussions.


All We Ever Wanted is a superbly written novel. Emily Giffin completely transported me into the story. I was so captivated that I stayed up reading late into the night just to finish it. I didn’t want to put it down. It’s an emotional book that tugged at my heart from the very first page. All We Ever Wanted also has a great message about girls and women standing up for themselves; and about abusers taking responsibility for their own actions.

Nina Browning’s life changed drastically when her husband, Kirk, sold his business. She found herself suddenly ridiculously wealthy. For the first time in her life, anything that money could buy was at her fingertips. She enjoyed expensive vacations, clothes, jewelry and the elite status that was reserved for the wealthy. Her son Finch grew up privileged and was able to attend private schools from the kindergarten up. But, Nina’s life wasn’t all bliss. She, unfortunately, discovered that the old cliche about money and happiness was actually true. Nina’s heart ached. She had reasons to seriously question her husband’s fidelity. They were growing apart, and he spent more time on the road or flying than at home.

But Nina’s heart didn’t truly break until it was her son, who was the one, in trouble. The mistake Finch would make would not only change his life but the entire family dynamic, forever.

I thoroughly enjoyed All We Ever Wanted and highly recommend reading it.

Thank you, Ballantine Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I loved it!

Interesting read

Emily Griffin’s newest novel All We Ever Wanted was an thought provoking, page turner. Parents dealing with teenagers and social media issues, was an interesting read. I loved it.

All We Ever Wanted
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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Jun 26, 2018
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings