Book Review: All You Never Wanted by Adele Griffin

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.

Release Date: October 9, 2012
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley

All You Never Wanted was different from my usual reads.  It reminded me a lot of Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game in that it's about two rich girls at odds with each other.  Alex is the older sister and she is an integral part of the popular crowd---where her younger sister Thea desperately wants to be.  Thea will stop at nothing to be popular like Alex, even going so far as to spread lies about everyone around her, just to get attention.

I really hated Thea, although I did understand where she was coming from.  She just wanted to be included, to be part of a group, like Alex.  The lengths she went to to insure her place in the popular crowd were unbelievable!  Thea was very vain and immature and all that back-stabbing started to get old for me.  For me, Thea's quest for popularity made the whole book feel petty and shallow.

Alex has something more going on though.  She has a huge secret that is literally eating her up inside.  She's never shared it with anyone...and doesn't plan to either.  Until she connects with Xander.  The source of Alex's misery was a definite surprise.  I was expecting her problems to stem from an eating disorder, abuse, or something more typical of a teenage girl.  To find out what happened in her past that's the source of all of her present trauma was a true surprise for me, which was nice.

Alex and Xander's relationship really saved the book for me.  I loved the ending (although I would have liked a few more details as to whether Thea got what she deserved).  I did feel like the resolution to Alex's problem was pretty unrealistic, and I hated that her strength did not come from within, but rather from Xander.  I would have liked to see her overcome her problem in a healthier way.

Overall, All You Never Wanted was a good read, but not one of my personal favorites.  I think that fans of Sara Shepard will enjoy it, as well as fans of contemporary YA.   


  1. I've been a bit weary of this one due to the all the popularity drama, but I'm curious to find out what Alex's real problem is. I would have thought it would've been a disease or abuse of some kind too. Glad you enjoyed it despite some of the problems.

  2. I'm not sure I'd dig this but I appreciated your review.

    Based on the cover, I thought this was a scary book.


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