Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bookanista Review: All You Never Wanted by Adele Griffin

ALL YOU NEVER WANTED is a story of sisters in crisis.  Alex is the older sister, prettier and more popular, but hiding an embarrassing secret that is making her withdraw from life.  Thea has always wanted to be like Alex, and as Alex diminishes, Thea sees her chance to take over, spinning wild lies in her quest for world domination.

It's also a "poor little rich girl" story, in a way, because Alex and Thea's problems are magnified by their new wealth.  Their mother has remarried, to a fabulously rich man who lives in a mansion the girls call Camelot, and while the money can buy lots of things, it has also effectively removed their mother from their life, as she now travels with her new husband instead of taking care of her children.

I absolutely loved how real both sisters came off.  They aren't best book friend material by any means - Alex is very withdrawn, prickly and "ice queen"-ish while Thea is overdramatic, a compulsive liar and could give Hedda Gabler a run for her money in the soul-sucking department - but their struggles are relatable and their motivations fully understandable.

Alex's story unfolds in third person, fitting for a girl who has distanced herself from her own life. Her secret shame came as a direct result of a rich guy power play by her step-father, so she's especially bitter. She's also developing an eating disorder, and no one wants to call her on it - not her drug-dealer boyfriend, her friends or her sister - all for their own underhanded reasons. But fortunately for her, Xander is in her life. And he might just offer the lifeline she needs. (LOVE Xander!)

Thea's story is first person all the way, and we get front row seats to the way she deceives everyone - even herself.

Highly recommended, especially to those readers who value excellent character development. I'd also suggest Bennett Madison's THE BLONDE OF THE JOKE as a read-alike. Thea reminded me a lot of Val, especially in the way she spectacularly self-destructs.

Find out more about ALL YOU NEVER WANTED at the author's website.

FTC disclosure: Bought

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week!

Shari Arnold loves SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL by Trish Doller

Tracy Banghart embraces IMPOSTOR by Susanne Winnacker

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Nikki Katz gets the shivers for 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Stasia Ward Kehoe, Carolina Valdez Miller & Debra Driza sing out for the cover of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO

Jessica Love raves about ROAD TO TATER HILL by Edith M. Hemingway

Katy Upperman celebrates THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay – with giveaway!


bermudaonion said...

You had me at sisters!

Christina said...

Love what you said about the distancing POV fitting her so well.

Also, I THINK I remember who Xander was and enjoyed that whole thing too.

Did you snicker when you learned the tragic secret? Because I did.

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I thought the tragic secret was pretty pathetic but I loved Thea's self-centered lies and scheming. I usually like books with characters I like but this one was an exception.