Title: Everything You Want Me To Be
Author: Mindy Mejia
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me To Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town's darkest secrets come to the forefront...and she inches closer and closer to her death. High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she's found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie's acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view -- Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling -- Everything You Want Me To Be weaves the story of Hattie's last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death. Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me To Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery, or destruction?
Who are we, really? That’s the question that kept bustling through my mind as I read this amazing psychological thriller of a book. The mystery really took a back seat, in my mind, because there aren’t many suspects but what really became important is the question of the lives we lead and how every action results in a consequence.
This is a book told from three different perspectives. One is Hattie. She’s the main protagonist and you know that she has died from the beginning. But the book also starts right before that happens. That’s what instantly drew me in, actually, because it begins with her going to an airport and trying to get away from the place she lives with no explanation as to why. And everything is so damn vague but you can’t help but question everything. They say a good story starts with a question and this story just happens to start with a million. Where the hell is she going? Why does she have this envelope full of money? And when she can’t get to where she wants to go at the airport, why then is she sitting on the side of the road with soiled pants and then takes out a camera to document it all? Okay, maybe three huge questions.
I was hooked. And you will be too, I promise.
Then we have all the unfolding of events. We are slowly sucked in by two other different points of view other than Hattie. Because what we start to find out is that Hattie is from a small farming town and these are just simple people trying to do the best they can. And I liked that we got to see three characterizations of people who were completely different. We have the Sheriff, the man who has known Hattie since she was born and who is also a war vet and just as compelled as the reader to find out what happened. So, in essence, he almost fits the narrator’s role. I probably enjoyed his take the best because it was neutral but also brought in a lot of backstory of the suspects along the way.
Then we have Peter, the small town teacher, who just moved from a big city and is battling his own domestic issues. He gives the reader the perspective of that uneasiness and uncertain feeling which creeps up when you’re trying to figure out how the hell you got to the place that you’re at. This is when I started to realize that each POV starts to inform the other and the mystery of Hattie’s death really took a backdrop role. Not that a young senior high school girl’s death is minimized in any way, but the author did a great job in bringing it all together and tying it up in the most narrative-efficient way possible.
Finding the balance between review and spoiling the book is very thin so I will leave it with what I’ve said already. I promise that this book will suck you in from the very beginning and not let you go. I finished it in less than a 24-hour period (which included a full-work day) so that says a lot about how much I enjoyed this book and its writing style.
If you get a chance and enjoy the mystery/thriller genre, this one should definitely be on your radar when it comes out January 3rd!