By: Mindy Mejia
My Rating: 4 Stars
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?
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A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Mindy Mejia’s EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO leads us to deadly dark secrets and lies of a small rural town. The good daughter, turns up murdered, leaving the town in shock. Haunting, twisty, and psychologically rich the author will keep you guessing until the end.
Hattie Hoffman is living in a small rural town in Minnesota. She attends a small high school, Pine Valley. Like most teens with ambition and dreams, they cannot wait to escape the small- town community for the big city.
In this case, Hattie has set her mind on New York City, for an acting career on Broadway. If she needs to use a few people along the way, she will manipulate to her advantage. She has played lots of parts, in her life trying to be what everyone wants her to be.
Told from three POVs, we hear from Del, Hattie, and Peter. A young girl’s dreams, loves, desires, and ambitions. Her secrets. Her last year of high school, which is to be special, turns into a deadly nightmare.
Peter Lund, her English teacher, is a bad marriage. His wife is not the nicest woman and too focused on other things to satisfy her hubby. Of course, an affair begins between Hattie and Peter. The two keep their secrets, and throw everyone off course, while Hattie begins dating the high school jock, Tommy.
However, she never truly warms up to Tommy (if you know what I mean), because she has her sights set on bigger things and getting action elsewhere. Hattie was going places and Tommy was not. We also are introduced to parents Bud and Mona and fishing buddy, Sherriff, Del.
As the book opens, Hattie is planning her escape. The play was finished and she has her bags packed. She has written her note and planned her meet up at the barn. On the night she plans her getaway, she has all her cards lined up perfectly. However, her well-laid plans do not go as intended.
She is stabbed to death in the Erickson barn. Brutally murdered. She also had sex before the murder, not rape. The town is shocked. Del, the family friend is leading the murder investigation and the suspicions point to Tommy and Peter. However, could it be someone else? What about Peter’s wife, or someone else? The parents are devastated. Did they really know their daughter?
Hattie had spent her entire life playing parts, being whatever “they” wanted her to be, focused on everyone around her while inside she felt like she was sitting in the exact same spot. She was her parent’s only daughter. Who could have murdered Hattie Hoffman?
The child who was going to succeed and make a new life away from Pine Valley and marry some hotshot lawyer and come home for the holidays with a kid or two. She was not supposed to the child who was going to die. They had worried more about their son Greg, who went to Afghanistan. A life cut short.
From the Dairy Queen to other small town characters, high school, a marriage, a farm, and three main characters with events leading up to the murder. From a girl who worked at the local CVS photo counter, a dangerous affair, to high school theatrics - a girl who wanted what she wanted. A man caught in the middle, and a Sherriff, father, and mother, seeking the truth.
A contemporary young adult suspense, ideal for those who enjoy a little Macbeth and Shakespeare mixed with mystery.
Depending on the reader, each person will have their own person they may have more sympathy towards, than others. I enjoyed the book version, much more than the audio version. Del’s narrator was very poorly done. However, recommend the book and ideal for book clubs and further discussions. An author to follow!
Jan Must Reads
About the Author
Mindy Mejia is a Minnesota author whose debut novel, The Dragon Keeper, was published by Ashland Creek Press in 2012. Besides the occasional book review or blog entry, Mindy focuses on the novel and she writes what she likes to read: contemporary, plot-driven books that deliver both entertainment and substance.
Her upcoming thriller, Everything You Want Me To Be, will be released by Emily Bestler Books in January 2017. Read More