Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

Title: Everything You Want Me to Be
Author: Mindy Mejia
Read by: Caitlin Thorburn, Jeff Harding, & Jon Moraitis
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: Approximately 10 hours and 44 minutes
Source: Simon & Schuster Audio Digital Review Copy – Thank-you!

Everything You Want Me to Be riveted me.  Other audiobooks I’ve had to turn off lately after a long day of work to listen to music in order to keep me awake on my drive home.  Everything You Want Me to Be was so intriguing that even after a fifteen hour work day, it kept me wide awake on the hour drive home wanting to know more about the story.

Hattie Hoffman is a senior excited to finally be graduating and realizing her dream of moving to New York City to become an actress.  Always feeling out of place in her small town in Minnesota, Hattie longs for a more sophisticated life.  She lives life always trying to be everything everyone wants her to be.  She is the perfect actress.  When she meets the perfect man online, she steps into a dangerous love affair.  Who is Hattie Hoffman?  The perfect daughter, friend, high school girlfriend, or is she far more sinister?

When Hattie is found murdered, her father’s best friend, the Vietnam Veteran and county Sheriff Del, investigates her murder. As he tries to close in on her real killer, he realizes that Hattie is much more than the sweet and sassy girl he watched grow up.  She had become a real woman who lived life trying to be everything everyone else wanted her to be.  Del must also confront his own demons along the way.

The third point of view in this novel was a new teacher in town, Peter, who misses the bright lights of Minneapolis moving to this small town with his wife to care for his ailing mother-in-law.  Feeling more and more out of the picture as he wife cares for his mother in law, Peter finds himself yearning for a different life.  When his star pupil is murdered, Peter finds himself in the crosshairs.

This book was told from three point of views, but what I thought was a unique format.  Del’s view point was in the future trying to track down Hattie’s killer, while Hattie and Peter’s viewpoints were from the summer before Senior Year leading up to the murder. I loved the unique perspectives and how it shaded the tale depending on whose viewpoint you had.  I’ll admit I thought I had this story figured out early on with who the points of view were and some heavy foreshadowing and the book played into this assumption, but it still managed to surprise me. 

Mejia wrote a book that was not only a fabulous psychological thriller, but also great characters.  I really felt for Hattie.  She felt out of place in her small town and tried to please everyone, but felt she couldn’t really be herself.  At times I was also annoyed with her as she was only a teenager and often made poor decisions.  The place and the characters in the story all felt real.  I’d love to see a movie of this novel.

I really like when a novel is told from several points of views to have different narrators for each point of view in an audiobook.  Everything You Want Me to Be did just that.  I love that each character had a unique voice and it kept me in tune with who was speaking at the time.  The only complain I had was that the accents were strange.  At times the sheriff sounded like an old west sheriff, but the action all takes place in a small Minnesota town.  Having a husband from Minnesota, it threw me off every time I heard this odd accent.

Overall, Everything You Want Me to Be is a gripping psychological thriller with unforgettable characters.  I highly recommend it!

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