Atria/Emily Bestler Books | January 2017 | 352 pgs
Everything You Want Me to Be is a stunning psychological thriller which explores one's identity and makes you wonder what one would do for love.
Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress. She's been spending her life playing many roles for the people around her; she will be the person what the others want of her and she is good. However, her life changes the day she knew 'LitGeek' on a website. And when she was found brutally murdered in a remote barn in her small town community, many speculate if it is 'LitGeek' who had killed her in cold blood. After all, who knows the real identity hiding behind that screen? Or is it Hattie's boyfriend who had done it? He was clearly in love with her and is his love for her has became an obsession? Finally, is Hattie a manipulator? Did she manipulate people to get what she wants?
Narrated by Hattie, Del (the town's sheriff) and Peter (Hattie's English teacher) and through chapters alternating between the present and the past, this story chronicles the one-year timeline surrounding Hattie's life and the truth about her death. Mindy Mejia entrances the readers right from the beginning through Hattie; a character we don't know if we should trust initially. Hattie may be a people pleaser but she does has a dream to fulfil - living in New York and be a successful Broadway actress. Pine Valley is too small of a town and she is not a farm girl at heart.
This is a well written tale with a balance of suspense and a case of characters study. Hattie was an interesting character; she may be a 17-year-old girl but at times she thinks like an adult. I liked her devotion in the plays and her love for reading. Speaking of reading, there are bits of references of Jane Eyre and Macbeth here and there which may delight fans of these two characters, especially the latter since there are scenes of Hattie rehearsing for the play and some culture is infused into the story as well (e.g. In the backstage world of theatre, some believe that the play is cursed and will only refer the title as "The Scottish Play").
Filled with twists and many unreliable narrators as the story progresses, this book was unputdownable for me as I raced though the last few chapters in one sitting to find out what really happened to Hattie and why she was murdered. It was a great read in terms of the intensity and the suspense but then it left me feeling raw and sad after knowing what happened.
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