A Book Spy Review: ‘Everything You Want Me To Be’ By Mindy Mejia

51hLDe16ujL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgWhen a teenager’s body turns up in Minnesota, the ensuing investigation unearths some scandalous details about her past…and the well-kept secrets about a number of those around her. 

Hattie Hoffman had dreams that reached far beyond the small town she grew up in, but felt trapped and confined to the place she, unfortunately, called home. With aspirations of becoming an actress, a skill she treated all of Pine Valley with when she crushed the leading role in the school play, the eighteen-year-old young woman attempted to catch a flight to New York.

Instead, police found her body in a barn. The girl with the bright future was stabbed to death before she ever truly got the chance to shine.

As Del Goodman, the local police officer and family friend of the Hoffmans, investigates her murder, he quickly realizes that Hattie’s performances extended far beyond the characters the town saw her play onstage. In truth, her entire life was one big performance, with Hattie changing her role based on who she was with at the moment.

Each answer Del finds sparks two more questions. But as he dives deeper into Hattie’s senior year of school, several solid suspects emerge. The most intriguing being one of Hattie’s teachers, Peter, and one of her ex-boyfriends.

While everyone in town knows Peter Lund as the high school’s English teacher, nobody knew his darkest secret. Besides his marriage being on the rocks, Peter was hiding something else that Goodman eventually traces back to Hattie. And the more Del investigates, the more he realizes just how deceptive and calculated the eighteen-year-old was.

The story itself switches between the perspectives of Del, Peter, and Hattie–whom we hear from directly before her murder. Each character has a different piece to the puzzle, and Mejia brings them into focus with the stroke of a master artist, slowly revealing the big picture one page at a time.  

While the concept–the beautiful girl next door winds up dead, leaving the small town in shock–isn’t new in itself, the author takes a somewhat provocative approach to the way she delivers the captivating details of Hattie’s life and death. There’s also a subliminal message about the importance of not living your life for others, something we’re all reminded of thanks to Hattie’s tragedy.

As the suspense piles up with each passing page, readers will race to the finish line where Mindy Mejia saves her best twist for the end. Everything You Want Me To Be is a mesmerizing psychological thriller that is, in fact, everything you want it to be.

Making the jump from YA to adult fiction, Mejia delivers 2017’s first surprise hit, as this book is not to be missed!

Book Details

Author: Mindy Mejia
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1501123424
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: January 3, 2017 (Order Now!)

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