Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia (5 out of 5)
Wow. THIS book was another revealation. January is going to be a great month for new releases if this is any indication. I am still shaking my head over this book and NOT in a bad way, my fellow readers. It’s out January 3rd, 2017, and brought to us by Emily Bestler’s Books. Let’s talk about that cover first. Creepy! I am pretty sure it isn’t meant to be, but…I shudder looking at it. Kind of like when I see old pictures of Chucky, come to think of it. Something about this cover? After having read the book…. makes my skin crawl and I get the chills. And in that regard? Absolutely perfect to accompany the story that Ms. Mejia tells.
Hattie is a 17 year old girl with ridiculous acting talent, above average intelligence, and a burning desire to take herself out of her small town and to the big stage in New York. Those plans never come to fruition. Hattie disappears and her body is found in the corner of an abandoned barn. Through three narrators- Hattie, Del (Pine Valley’s police chief), and Peter (Hattie’s married English teacher with whom she is infatuated), a tale about Hattie’s life leading up to the time of her death is told. Accusations run fast and far in this tiny town- from her football jock boyfriend to whispers of a curse because at the time of her death, Hattie was starring in a production of “Macbeth”. I have to say, my fellow readers, I am not usually a fan of more than one narrator. This is one of the exceptions! There is no way the reader could grasp the many sides of this without Hattie’s unflinching honesty, Del’s emotive logic, and Peter’s shameful cowadice. Because try as I did, I really would have smacked Peter across the head with a gigantic pickle. Then I would have smacked him again…for making me waste a pickle on him! This is a story that had me shaking my head, going “WTH” and “WTF” at various parts, and still rattled me and made me terribly bereft at the end. Bereft? Yes. Because it is….in my opinion… a story of misplaced affection, human frailties and ferocities, and the dark corners that all of those pinwheel emotions can take us to in the name of love. Also bereft because it is the end! I really had hoped there was some magical plot device that our author was going to whip at us and find a way to keep it going. But alas, all good things (like Hattie) have to come to an end. I really can’t give more of a specific review than this. I rewrote the damn thing five times already…every draft before this, I felt I was giving away more than I should. The way that Ms. Mejia writes this is one curve ball after another, and in the end, she really hits it out of the park!
Nothing more to offer except this: the storyline is incredibly real. It really felt like something that could happen in this crazy world. And Hattie? I have SO many mixed emotions with this girl. You like her ambition, spunk, quick wit and her ability to make things happen. But the way she went about things? You want to knock common sense into her when you see how she handles things. Then again, how many of us acted rationally at 17? I sure didn’t! So. Many. Feels. I was thrown about like a load of laundry on the back of a missionary truck in the middle of Cambodia. I had no idea what each character was going to play a part in this. And they all play a part. That’s amazing to me. I have read a ton of books this year with many supporting characters that really had no reason to be on the road to the end. Not the case here! And that is quite refreshing. I like a good character (main and supporting) novel. Overall, all the way around, a win for the reader. Pick up a copy when it comes out in January!