Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small towns darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to her death.High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When shes found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hatties acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of viewDel, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumblingEverything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hatties last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death. Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discoveryor destruction?
Initially, I wasn’t going to write this review. After lots of thinking, I decided that I wanted to let you know why this book didn’t work for me. When you finish a book you haven’t liked and you see that all your blogger friends and people on Goodreads have loved it and recommended it highly, you’re probably going to feel a bit misunderstood. But that’s why I thought it’s important you read diverse opinions.
My main issue with Everything You Want Me To Be was that I felt this could’ve easily been two different books. There was Hattie Hoffman’s story, a young teenager who’s used to acting and becoming “everything their friends/family want her to be”. She’s dying to escape her small-town and move to New York. And even though I didn’t like her personality, I thought she was incredibly interesting to read about. She reminded me a bit of Gone Girl‘s Amy. Some people are great actors and life is just a play for them. Hattie wanted to be an actress… and so she practiced with everyone around her. That part was the most appealing to me.
Peter was another character I didn’t like, and he came across as conceited and snobby, but he was already an adult, so I definitely think he was way worse. They thought they were so much better than everyone else, just because they loved books and plays. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with trying to connect with people with your same interests (we all do that, and that’s why I started blogging), but the way they talked about everyone like they were the smartest people on earth… I thought they were incredibly irritating.
Then we had the mystery, which in my opinion, was the weakest part of the book. Maybe my lack of interest had to do with my inability to connect with the characters. But I also felt that there were no twists and turns and the investigation wasn’t as thrilling or intriguing as I would’ve liked. Of course, I wanted to know who had killed Hattie and I kept reading to find out. However, when the ending came, I realized I didn’t really care about its resolution. It wasn’t a bad ending, I just thought this kind of story had been done before and so I wasn’t really impressed.
In addition, at some point, one of the characters (and it bothered me a lot because it was one that I previously liked), said that Hattie’s death was her fault. That she was to blame for what had happened. And they said it like they were stating something meaningful and poetic. I absolutely hated that part. So the girl was to blame because she was difficult? And the killer was a poor, misunderstood soul, so it’s her fault they decided to murder her. She should’ve have provoked them. You know how that sounds, right?
Everything You Want Me To Be had all my favorite ingredients: a small town mystery, different points of views, flashbacks, a murder… and yet, I never felt the connection, no matter how much I tried. I admit I just wasn’t feeling this book, not even in the beginning.
Atria Books, 2017 // Netgalley