Author: Adele Griffin
Release Date: October 2012
Published By: Knopf Readers
Goodreads Rating: 3.25 stars
Review: Alex has it all—brains, beauty, popularity, and a dangerously hot boyfriend. Her little sister Thea wants it all too, and she's stepped up her game to get it. But she'll stop at nothing to get what she wants, no matter the cost. 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.
ALL YOU NEVER WANTED is a dark contemporary novel that unfolds some very gritty issues. Each of the characters struggle with their own obstacles, and I liked seeing their individual lives mesh together into a painfully honest story. It can be hard to write an "issues book" well without coming across as too sappy or exaggerated, but Adele Griffin pulled this off with the same skill I've seen in her previous novels.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of this book is the fact that it's told through alternating perspectives, which can be a tricky thing to write. Sometimes authors use it when it's not really necessary, but luckily, this was not the case here. The alternating chapters lent insight into both characters, providing deeper looks into what made them tick and how they were grappling with the issues at hand.
However, not every part of this story was perfect, and one part that rather bothered me was the ending. The book was building and building up, and then I felt like the ending didn't truly resolve everything. It wasn't as summative as it could have been and didn't address all that it could have - or as I felt, should have. If the ending had instead covered more (not necessarily everything), I would have finished with a better feeling about it.
All in all, ALL YOU NEVER WANTED is nearly all you've ever wanted (the pun was impossible to resist). From its sensitive but bold handling of difficult issues to the well-written alternating viewpoints, the beginning and middle of this book will keep you thoroughly absorbed in the story. I did wish for a better ending, which was the main part that disappointed me, but other than that, I would recommend this to any fans of contemporary.