Monday, October 8, 2012
All You Never Wanted
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2012
YA Contemporary Sisters
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Immediately after finishing this, I logged onto goodreads to update and the only word I could think of to put in my review then was "wow." Just wow. This was a very hard review for me to write-Griffin is such a talented writer and when she turns her lens on rich girls and the sister-sister relationship, she really hits on my soft spots when it comes to reading.
This book is told in alternating perspectives, first-person from younger sister Thea and third-person from older sister Alex. The reviews I've seen have mostly gravitated toward Alex but personally I found Thea more compelling and I think that was partly because she was telling her story. The other reason is that I think I like to read about master manipulators and liars, which describes Thea. She thinks Alex has it all and she wants it for herself; that means the cool friends, the reputation, the boyfriend, everything, no matter what story she has to spin to secure them for herself.
Meanwhile Alex suffers crippling anxiety from something that happened at an internship. This is revealed to us fairly early in the book and while it was definitely embarrassing, I don't think it deserved as much importance as she placed upon it. Then she spends most of the book hanging out with Xander, a guy who is very much not her boyfriend but who magically lifts her out of her funk over the course of one day...um...awful fast, eh? So even as Thea made me cringe with her obvious grasping ways, I at least admired her determination and nerve over Alex's more sniveling ways.
Lastly we come to the end, which just made me drop my jaw. I can't believe it ended that way. It's been about a week and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, this; on the other hand, that (Obviously I can't be too specific without going into spoilers!) The way that their sibling rivalry comes to a head and is resolved (or more precisely not resolved) just blew me away. I don't think anyone could predict this ending.
Cover: Makes me think "poor little rich girl" but I don't really think Thea or Alex when I look at it.