Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
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, a family friend of the Hoffmans, 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?
Wow, What a roller coaster ride this one was! I’m really excited about this book and I predict that it will be a standout in 2017. It had everything I look for in a solid mystery; intrigue, suspense, twists and surprises. But it also had so much more, it’s racy, edgy and provocative and Mejia cast quite an intoxicating spell on me. This is one that will be hard to review without revealing the plot, but here goes.
Sometimes having multiple perspectives works brilliantly, and other times it reads as confusing and disjointed. It worked beautifully here. Hattie’s chapters are in the year before her death and knowing how it all ends for her added a sense of mounting dread and made me think of my own morality. She is an actress, but not just on the stage in her high school play, she is constantly playing a role, and she adjusts who she is based on who she is talking to at any given moment. She’s intelligent, calculated, and dangerous, a total millennial Lolita. Peter is Hattie’s English teacher, and though it’s no big secret how he fits in, Mejia has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. Finally, Del is the sheriff of Pine Valley and my favorite character. He’s a close family friend of Hattie’s family and I love a personal connection to a case.
The plot here is beautifully and meticulously executed, there is no confusion to be found. It’s one of those books that as you’re reading, you’re thinking, I totally have this all figured out followed by pats on the back. Except you don’t and you’re blindsided when the truth is revealed. This is perfectly paced, the beginning discloses enough to draw you in, and then when you’re around seventy five percent in, things start to come to a head and there is no way you’ll be able to put it down. The ending is explosive, shocking and completely unpredictable and oh so satisfying. Put this on your radar for next year and clear a day on your calendar so you can devour Everything You Want Me To Be in the manner that it demands.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to Atria/Emily Bestler for my review copy.