by Adele Griffin
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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.~Thea
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.
All You Never Wanted takes you on a dark journey into sibling jealous, a dysfunctional family. Griffin delivered a unique disturbing contemporary unlike anything I have ever read. This tale takes you on a journey dealing with the effects of instantly having money and emotional issues. It gives you a dark and sinister look at sibling rivalry. While I certainly became entangled in the tale, it left me wanted more.
The tale takes place over the course of a few days and is told from the perspectives of each sister. Thea is the youngest sibling and parts of her personality could have been conceived by Stephen King himself. She is a pathological liar and determined to finally outshine the shadow her older sibling, Alex. Alex has had a melt down and feels as if her life is spiraling out of control. She is living in a state of severe anxiety. Thea is planning a party, spreading lies and secretly coveting Jason who is Alex’s boyfriend. The tale that unfolds gives us unique insight into each sister and I found myself swept up in their tales.
Thea immediately captured my intention. She has this dual personality, is a compulsive liar and you never knew what she was capable of from one moment to the next. I began to question whether or not she was psychotic. Let’s just say I would never turn my back on her. Alex on the other hand, I felt sorry for. She definitely needs help and her absentee Mom and new stepfather certainly didn’t win any of my love. We often see this theme of absentee parents in YA to develop the story line. Here it’s quickly obvious that this family is seriously dysfunctional. During the time period this takes place Daddy Warbucks is at a big meeting out of town and Mom accompanies him leaving Alex in charge. Alex!! Who sometimes is so anxiety ridden that she cannot leave her room for days on end. GRR!
The world building was both engaging and frustrating for me. I was captivated by both sister’s and certainly could not stop reading. However things didn’t fit or fell flat for me. I certainly question the parents, and school where Alex was concerned. While her problems were psychological they manifested themselves in very physical ways. Thea seemed to waiver between being concerned for Alex and being angry at her. The reasons for Alex’s breakdown when revealed left me feeling like I missed something. Perhaps there were underlying problem but it wasn’t adequately revealed. Thea’s perspective stole the show as far as keeping me enthralled, I felt like I was in the mind of a future serial killer. An unexpected insta-love threw me for a loop as it seemed to come out of left field. While, the ending seemed to offer an escape and a ray of hope for one sibling it left things open for the other. When I closed the book, I was left feeling like I wanted more.
Do I recommend All She Never Wanted? Absolutely because despite all of the issues I noted, this dark, disturbing tale engaged me and was so unique I think it’s worth the read.