Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard
"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?"- summary from Amazon
Most people know Shepard from her YA series Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game, which is where I got my start with her, but she's also gone into the adult world. This is her second adult book, originally published in the UK in 2010, and now finally published here last month. I had been meaning to read Shepard's debut adult novel, The Visibles, when it came out but never got around to it, so I'm glad I was able to fit this into my reading schedule.
This book is different from Shepard's YA titles- there are secrets and scandals, but they're handled in a more reserved way, mainly due to the characters and how they were brought up, though the atmosphere plays a part too. It's a more intimate novel that spends time with each of the main characters and getting their perspective on everything that's unraveling throughout the book. The story is still pretty compelling and I wanted to spend time with these characters.
The characters in this book are filled with regret because of how their lives turned out. Things aren't what they seem, and that realization forces them to take a hard look at themselves and what they really want rather than what they thought they wanted. Shepard writes these characters really well and, like with her YA titles, goes back and forth between each one and they're so fully fleshed out.
Overall, a really wonderful adult title and it's nice to see something different from Shepard. I hope she continues to write more adult novels when the time allows.
FTC: Received e-galley from NetGalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.