Everything We Ever Wanted
By Sara Shepard
(William Morrow Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780062080066, 352pp.)
Publication Date: October 2011
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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?
Sara Shepard is the author of two New York Times bestselling series, Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game. She graduated from New York University and has an MFA from Brooklyn College. Sara's Pretty Little Liars novels were inspired by her upbringing in Philadelphia's Main Line.
- Throughout Everything We Ever Wanted, Sylvie’s house, Roderick, is as much a character in the novel as it is a setting. How do other homes in this story play a role? What is the significance of the empty houses on Spirit Street? Of Catherine’s house in Maryland? Is it significant that Bronwyn and the members of Back to the Land don’t have houses?
“Sara Shepard delivers the perfect read with Everything We Ever Wanted. This is a delicious story loaded with mysterious twists and turns and a vault of secrets, that when revealed, will keep you turning pages long into the night. Sara is a brilliant storyteller.”
-Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Very Valentine and Brava, Valentine
“With unflinching honesty and unstinting compassion, Sara Shepard tells the story of a proud family, with the best intentions, who must face the hypocrisy of the past or lose any hope for saving the future.”
-Jacquelyn Mitchard, author The Deep End of the Ocean and Second Nature: A Love Story
“[An] expertly rendered novel of family dysfunction set in moneyed Main Line Philadelphia. . . . Readers will respond as this family grapples with their many long-held secrets.”
“The strings are so tightly laced around this family that they are bound to break-when they do, old secrets reap surprising results. . . . Shepard has crafted a fine character study on the repressed lives of the American elite.”
“Explor[ing] the complexity of family dynamics and heritage. . . . Shepard delves deeply into the differing emotions and moods aroused by family conflict.”
“This riveting, provocative and well-crafted family drama surprised and delivered at every turn. I could not put it down.”
-Sarah Mlynowski, author of Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)
“Compelling and touching, this is a story with a difference—a real treat.”
-Closer, 4 stars (UK)