Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: All You Never Wanted by Adele Griffin

4 Stars: Recommended
Hardback: 240 Pages
Publication: October 9, 2012 by Knpof Books for Young Readers

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With my eyes closed and Alex's core friends all around me, it was like I'd become my big sister, or something just as good. And so who cared if they were calling it Alex's party? One thing I knew: it would be remembered as mine.

Alex has it all—brains, beauty, popularity, and a dangerously hot boyfriend. Her little sister Thea wants it all, and she's stepped up her game to get it. Even if it means spinning the truth to win the attention she deserves. Even if it means uncovering a shocking secret her older sister never wanted to share. Even if it means crying wolf.

Told in the alternating voices of Alex and Thea, Adele Griffin's mesmerizing new novel is the story of a sibling rivalry on speed.

This is a dark, dark story.

Told from the alternating perspectives of Thea (in first person) and Alex (in third person), All You Never Wanted tells the story of two sisters whose lives take a drastic change for the worst. Once the queen of the school, Alex has been wasting away since the terrible incident at Haute caused her to begin starving herself. Thea resents her sister for throwing away all that she had, all that Thea wants to be, and plots to steal Alex's friends and power.

The characters are intense and complex. Alex is a really nice girl deep inside, but her intense fear of losing control prevents her from getting close to people and living life. She is the one I had the easiest time connecting with and the one I wanted to see find happiness. Xander is the sweetest guy ever under all his tattoos and someone who has the capability to draw Alex out of her shell. Her boyfriend Joshua seems to genuinely love her, but he's at a loss at how to handle Alex's insecurity and he doesn't have the ambition that she has to do something with her life (even in spite of her fears). I'm still not sure what to think of him or what Alex ever saw at him. He seems to be the victim in a lot of ways; at the same time, I don't like guys who fall on the wrong side of the law.

As for Thea, she is one messed up kid. It seems as though she used to be close to Alex, and I can easily picture her as a cute little book nerd. However, she doesn't want to be that nerd. She wants power and popularity, and she's willing to do anything to get it, even if it means spreading false, very nasty rumors about people. Even if it means seducing her sister's boyfriend, whom she's lusting after. In short, she's a manipulative bitch with a talent for coming up with stories on the spot, and she has the ambition to take down her own sister to reach her goals. I wanted to strangle her many times over the course of the novel.

This is an emotionally exhausting story. Though it's a short book, it takes time to process. Thea tells one last story at the end, and we never figure out whether or not it's true. I don't want to believe that she would make up something so horrendous. From her thoughts, I'm hoping that deep down inside Thea truly wants to bring her family together again and just doesn't know how to correctly express herself. At the same time, I don't want it to be real. However, Thea has gone overboard with everything in her quest for power. It is so very hard to trust her, and I can understand if Alex takes a long time to forgive her. If Thea takes a long time to separate herself from her lies and figure out who the real Thea is.

We aren't given any answers at the end of the book. They are for us to come up with on our own as we think about what too much wealth and ambition can do to people. What it means to be strong; what a true partner/sister/friend should be.

This is a book that I recommend reading at least once.

A copy of this book was provided by Random House for review.

6 comments:

  1. I'm not sure I could read such a dark story --especially if there aren't answers at the end...sounds difficult to read even if necessary!

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    1. This book isn't for everyone. I ended up loving it, and I don't think I'll be picking this up again anytime soon! So I can see why you might not want to read this book :)

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  2. This sounds like one that many won't like, but I usually end up enjoying those. I'll be sure to check this one out!

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  3. The ending was so shocking-I could not believe it. Great review of this powerful read!

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    1. I was pretty intense. I didn't know which would be worse to believe--that Thea was telling the truth or that she was telling another lie. And if so, what that tells us about her as a person.

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