Loved this novel!

filled star filled star filled star filled star filled star
cmcgowan Avatar


This novel just brought to the surface so many feelings of frustration, and they are well-founded. Nina is in an impossible situation, Tom is trying to hard to do the right thing, Lyla is so confused about what she should do because society has created such tunnel vision on her social stance, Finch (Nina's son) has become someone his own mother can't recognize, and Kirk (Nina's husband) is just about as big of a douchebag as one can be.

This novel hit me so hard because I just finished reading What Happened that Night about a young woman sexually assaulted where no blame was ever founded. Even upon report to the police, she is questioned because she was intoxicated. Really - is that a license for sexual assault - drinking? I can accept that as a woman I do bear responsibility for my behavior and choices, but it sure doesn't mean I deserve to be violated. If that's the rule, a lot more men would find themselves victims. Anyway - point being in this novel, the assault happens in college, which is why the high school incident in All We Ever Wanted hit me so hard. If young men aren't held accountable for their actions with regards to young women when parents are still somewhat in control - college rape is WHAT HAPPENS! It's a progression in abuse.

Finch has made horrible choices that Nina never thought her son could make, and when Lyla is the victim of the choices, Lyla is the FIRST (not the only) to be "found out" due to her photograph in a compromising situation being circulated. Her father Tom, doing his best as a single dad, pursues punishment. I loved the way Giffin created all the characters as so real and raw. Nina struggling to handle her son's indiscretion, and her jackass husband's attempt to "cover things up" for his son insisting he's a "good kid," he just made "one mistake." For. The. Love. Tom's frustration with "the system" and attempting to infiltrate and shut-down the massive money gap that buys innocence whether it's there or not. These two parents, Tom and Nina, of very different children, expose the true struggle of parenting not only in a digital age, but an age where the battle-of-the-sexes rages furiously.

Giffin's novel is strikingly provocative covering difficult topics: child pornography (face it - any picture circulated of a person under the age of 18 that is sexually explicit is child pornography), socio-economic status and the way the rich buy the world whether it's right or wrong, divorce, crumbling family structure, and racial bias.

This novel prompted a strong dialogue between my son and me and it was an opportunity to discuss with him why things like aren't okay or funny or just a joke as many of the novel characters attempt to use as defense for their actions. This behavior is wrong, disrespectful, and cruel.

This novel is a must read for me and honestly I would say read this and then read What Happened that Night directly after and see if you find the same correlation I did.