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Review: All You Never Wanted (Adele Griffin)


Product Details:
Reading level: YA
Pages: 240
Publisher: October 9th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780375870828
Source: Netgalley
  

All You Never Wanted
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.

I know there are mixed reviews out there on this one, and honestly I’m stuck somewhere in the middle. On a small level, this is the story of two sisters that suffer the devastating effects of becoming nouveau rich. On a much larger and deeper level, however, this is a story of sibling rivalry… and that story is dark and troubled.

Thea is the younger sister tired living in Alex’s shadow. She has developed this image of what her life should be like and it eats away at her. It consumes her, really. Thea’s story sucks you in from the beginning. She is so screwed up that you can’t help but continue to read because you want to find out where that train wreck is heading. And what a train wreck she is! Is she crazy? Yes, but that’s an understatement. Border line psychotic? Oh yeah. Pathological liar? Mmm, yep. An endangerment to herself and those around her? Right again! Like I said, complete train wreck.

While Thea’s highly disturbing story unfolds, the mystery surrounding Alex’s neurosis also unravels. You can tell that Alex was once this amazing person (that probably wasn’t too likeable), but her unfortunate “event” has left her scared and damaged. So is so damaged, in fact, that she is allowing herself to fade away—literally. She’s got a plate full of issues to handle too!

So yes, I thought the story behind these two sisters was very interesting. Compelling even. I was captivated for the most part. But the other characters did not hit the mark for me, and I think they took away from the book as a whole. For starters, Alex’s boyfriend was a douche bag. Barf. I understand the purpose he played, but geez. Then there was Xander… I really liked Xander, but the whole Alex-Xander “thing” was too rushed. It happened so quickly. In one paragraph the entire orbit of this book changed and I wasn’t fully buying it. Sorry. I’m happy with the ending. I think it worked, even if it left a lot of questions unanswered. I can certainly say there is no neat little bow ending to annoy you, and that is commendable.

Overall, I think what could have been a phenomenal story was rushed in places, which ultimately took away from the force of the story between the covers. It was still a good read for older YA readers, but not my favorite in this genre.

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