You know makes a great beach read? An addicting thriller, that grabs you immediately and never lets you go. Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia is a perfect blend of secrets and lies wrapped Jane Eyre and Macbeth literary illusions.
Hattie Hoffman has no idea who she is. She’s spent the first eighteen years of her life becoming whoever she’s expected to be, by any group of people.
After graduation, Hattie is set on leaving for New York City, but her plans are upended when she ends up murdered in the Erickson’s barn.
During the investigation is becomes clear that Hattie is engaged in a secret online relationship, and it raises the question: “Did anyone else know?” and “To what lengths might they have gone through to end it?” Hattie’s boyfriend worships her, but has he fallen so deeply that his love for her has become an obsession? Or did Hattie’s daredevil nature put her in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Everything You Want Me To Be reconstructs Hattie’s senior year of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, who with each page slips a little closer to death.
For me, the best thing about this plot was the characters. We get three perspectives in the book: the main character and murder victim Hattie, the new English teacher Peter, and the Pine Valley Sheriff, Del. Hattie and Peter’s chapters are told from the past, and Del spearheads the investigation in the present, resulting in an addicting read that kept me turning the pages late into the night.
When I picked up this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The premise sounded interesting enough, but I found that once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a well-paced story that still has fully-formed characters whose lives are beautifully rendered with all the pain and hurt they bring.
I will admit, that I found Del’s chapter’s difficult at times, but Mejia has developed a character with such a moral compass that I really got a sense of his mood. It was the same with Hattie and Peter. They were all very different, but they are all captured perfectly in their own lens.
The book is also a great match for avid readers of the classics. Both Jane Eyre and Macbeth make appearances in this book, and with Peter Lund being an English teacher there is ample discussion of the characters and their motivations that create nice parallels to the story.
I also think that fans of Pretty Little Liars will love this book, especially any that are older and want a bit of a juicier story.
When I first picked up this book, and I read the first chapter, I immediately liked Hattie, and having just wrapped up coverage of Pretty Little Liars at Tell-Tale TV, I couldn’t shake the similarities between Hattie Hoffman and early “mean girl” Alison DiLaurentis.
Hattie is where the comparison stops, but in trying to unravel her life, you get a plot that is similar to the first few seasons of the show, where you have people trying to figure out what happened that night.
The rest of the book isn’t at all similar to Pretty Little Liars. Where Pretty Little Liars has a cast of characters that’s tortured by an all-knowing bully, Everything You Want Me to Be is really about how this murder affects a community, and the secrets kept by Hattie Hoffman. So for anyone is going through Pretty Little Liars withdrawal since the series finale, I would highly recommend this book.
Overall, Everything You Want Me to Be, is an addicting page-turning tale about innocence, culpability, and manipulation. It’s a surprisingly quick read with a share of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the final chapters.
FINAL RATING: 5 Stars
You can add the book to your Goodreads list here.