Everything You Ever Wanted


Over the weekend, as my husband and I ventured off to Florida and to the beach, there was one thing I had to take with me: a good book. You simply cannot go on vacation without one! This book, however, was different than other books ordinarily spotted while on vacation. It was definitely not the typical, chick-lit, easy-to-read story that everyone takes on vacation. No, this story is a memoir – a deep, intense, heartfelt memoir about raising an adopted child with special needs.

Let me back up a bit.

Jillian Lauren wasn't your typical mom-to-be. Adopted at a young age, she grew up in the New Jersey suburbs. With a life so calm and structured, it is unsurprising that a chance encounter with a woman named Ari leads to complications that include stripping and drug addiction. As Lauren writes in her book Some Girls, "When you find yourself doing things you never imagined, it happens in stages.”

The follow-up book Everything You Ever Wanted is a memoir of Lauren's life after the fact. Now in her 30s, she meets her husband, Scott Shriner, the bassist for Weezer, and has intentions of forming a family in Los Angeles. The beginning of the book focuses mostly on her attempts to become pregnant and all that she undergoes (and spends) on the endeavor. When nothing seems to work, rather than give up, she decides to go the route of adoption taking in a child from Ethiopia, Tariku.

Tariku is not like other children his age. He hits and bites his mom, he doesn't get along with other children, and no school will take him in for longer than a few weeks at best. Jillian Lauren is trying everything she can, reading every book she can, talking to psychologists, social workers, and therapists trying to figure out what's wrong with him, what's wrong with her, and what she can do to improve her circumstances and her son's chances at success.

I have mixed feelings about this story. While I can't say that I could necessarily relate to Jillian Lauren's story told from the perspective of an upper middle-class Los Angeles suburbanite home, I definitely feel this was a fantastic story to share with the world so close to mother's day. It is true that Tariku was providing unique challenges to his new family, but what parent hasn't struggled with their child before? In this sense, I feel like one could relate completely to the author.


Given that Everything You Ever Wanted is hitting bookstore shelves today, I have been provided a unique opportunity to give away one copy to my blog readers. Are you looking for a fun summer read? Have you already read Some Girls and want to know what happens next? Simply share with me a book related comment to enter. What book(s) do you recommend I read next? What was your favorite childhood story? Do you have any fond memories that involve reading? You can submit a new comment every day, or complete any of the other entry methods, to enter. The giveaway will conclude on 5/21 when I announce the winner!

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Good luck!

For more information on this book, the author, or any of Lauren's other works, check out Jillian Lauren's Twitter and blog!

Edit: For some reason a lot of comments aren't posting automatically. I am approving them as quickly as I can.

• I received a copy of this book (and the one I'm giving away) for free in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

48 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I like chick lit books too- Tattoo Thief by Heidi Joy Trethewey is a great read!

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    2. My favorite chick lit books are Jennifer Lancaster books, specifically My Fair Lazy and Jennireation X! She's hilarious!

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    3. My Fair Lazy? Jennireation X? Oh my goodness! I have to say those titles crack me up! She definitely sounds like an awesome (humorous) author! I'll have to look those books up. :)

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    4. Janet Evanovich - she is laugh out loud funny! ;)

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  2. My current favorite is The Mermaid's Sister by Carrie Anne Noble. I also recently read The Boy Who Ran by Michael Shelden- also very good. I am reading two books of short stories now. My sister recommend Sidney Poitier's autobiography (The Measure of a Man) to me today - so that will be my next read!

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  3. My all-time favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It's timeless and I have read it 5+ times!

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    1. I loved To Kill A Mocking Bird too 😘

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    2. This was one of my favorite books in high school! :)

      I have to ask … will you be following up with the newest book by Harper Lee that is coming out this summer?

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    3. Yes! I'm so excited to read the new book! I hear it's about the same characters!

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  4. The Kite runner. Favorite when I was a kid is Charlotte's Web. You should try reading fantasy for books in that genre is really amazing

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    1. I loved Charlotte's Web too. It is the first book ending I remember crying over as a child.

      Nancy
      allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    2. I liked the Kite Runner too. I would never have picked it up on my own. The library had it as their community read book though so I gave it a chance. I'm glad that I did. I even listened to it on audio book read by the author. That was pretty cool too.

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    3. I love Charlotte's web really enjoyed tht book as a kid...

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  5. I like dystopian novels, it is a good escape from my crazy life

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  6. I think one of my favorites from when I was younger was "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky :) It had such an emotional impact. It's really hard to pick favorites, though!

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    1. We read that in school and I loved it! - Chelsey L

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  7. I loved all of the Shel Silverstein books when I was younger! I'm currently reading the final Wicked book! -Chelsey l.

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    1. I didn't read Shel Silverstein until I got older. His books are definitely awesome though! And I didn't know there was a Wicked book… I'll have to check that out! :)

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  8. One of my all time favorite books is The Christmas Box by Richard Evans. It's about the first real gift of Christmas. My dad read this to me as a child and now every year before Christmas I read it to my son. I'm currently lost in Amish romance and also love Nicholas Sparks books.

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    1. I love Nicholas Sparks! My favorite is "The Longest Ride."

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    2. I need to keep up with Nicholas Sparks books

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  9. My current favorite book is "Where Can I Flee" by A.M. Heath. My favorite book from when I was a child is "The Story of Ferdinand."

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  10. I really like the crossfire series right now and when i was a kid I loved the no good very bad day

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  11. I loved the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar growing up!

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    1. I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar! The illustrations are so amazing!

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  12. I loved Rainbow Fish when I was a kid!

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    Replies
    1. Rainbow Fish was my favorite! So cute and colorful as a child.

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  13. As a child I love the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House series of books. I read the series numerous times.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  14. My favorites are The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, and The Truth About Forever. Two lit classics and one young adult romance novel. :)

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    Replies
    1. I so wanted to like The Great Gatsby. :( I think I may have to read it again and give it another chance. :)

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  15. Pillars of The Earth is my all-time favorite book.

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  16. I learned to read when I was

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  17. Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark by Laurence Gardner

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  18. I love books. Hard to say what my favorite is, although I loved Frankenstein.

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  19. I love the Jen Lancaster books too - plus any books she recommends.

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  20. My favorite was GO Ask Alice when I was a teenager
    sunniewoodyplus2 atmsn.com

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  21. Current favorite I'm reading is In the Prescence of my Enemies!

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  22. I love to read! There was a while I wasn't reading much but I'm trying to change that now! My teen daughter recently asked me to read a book she had read & enjoyed: Eleanor & Park. I'm liking it so far. And a few months ago I read Where'd You Go, Bernadette and I have to admit it's one of my all-time favorites! It's wonderful! As a girl, I read all the time...and loved the Trixie Belden mysteries most of all!

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  23. My favorite book currently is Gone Girl. I think when I was growing up, Harold and the Purple Crayon was a pretty consistent favorite of mine.

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  24. my favorite book as a kid was Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister!

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  25. I love the book called The Child Called It. That book is heartbreaking but will make sure you don't put it down until the end. (lilbittypanda@aol.com)

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  26. I like reading biographies/memoirs. I love it when a person shares their story with others. There is something really special about that.

    Les Johnson

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  27. I have been reading Vertical Gardening. Its a great resource and perfect inspiration for spring

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  28. Currently im reading the book theif so far great book as a child i loved anything true story read many books as a teen the child called it series was my fav....ty for this chance

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