Recently widowed Sylvie Bates-McAllister's life revolves around Swithin, the prestigious preparatory school endowed by her grandfather. When a scholarship students dies, concerns about hazing within the school's wrestling team (now coached by Sylvie's adopted son, Scott) come to light. An investigation begins. Scott might be fired, Sylvia might lose her seat on the board, but worst of all, Swithin's reputation might be tarnished.
Sylvie's biological son, Charles, and his new wife are on the sidelines of this drama, but neither can avoid the familial rift and long-hidden secrets the death and its aftermath have dislodged.
Sara Shepard has written for an adult audience before (The Visibles, 2009), but she's best known for her young adult series (Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game). I haven't read The Visibles, but I have read the first two Pretty Little Liars books (Pretty Little Liars and Flawless). I suspect that fans of Shepard's usual work will be disappointed with Everything We Ever Wanted. This new novel is quite different than her young adult books. It's not that the subject matter is more mature or that the book is written for an older audience. It's that the pacing is slow, there's an inexplicable lack of suspense, and the characters are for the most part unsympathetic.
There were so many things that I didn't like about the story (I won't include specifics for fear of spoiling) that it's hard for me to remember the things I did like. I appreciate the idea behind the novel (it's message, if you will), but I'm not fond of the execution.
Everything We Ever Wanted is coming out in October.
disclosure: I received a review copy of Everything We Ever Wanted from HarperCollins via NetGalley.