Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Twisty Psychological Thriller Engrossing, But Not Satisfying

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

High school senior Hattie Hoffman appears to have it all.  She's beautiful, popular, smart, and a talented actress.  Maybe too talented.  Hattie is hiding a lot more under her innocent, girl-next-door facade than anyone would ever guess.  When the 18-year-old is found murdered in an abandoned barn, one question hovers the whole sad affair:  Who was Hattie Hoffman?  The answers are plentiful.  What's the truth?  

County sheriff Del Goodman is tasked with finding Hattie's killer.  A close friend of the Hoffmans, he's baffled by what he's finding out about their daughter.  Did anyone really know Hattie?  He's beginning to think not.  There's only one thing he knows for sure:  He will find her killer.  No matter what it takes.

Peter Lund, Hattie's English teacher, is hiding an incriminating secret—from his wife, from his colleagues, from the police.  What will happen when the truth comes out?  Will he find himself accused of killing his favorite student?  Did he?

Told from three perspectives—the victim, her English teacher, and the policeman investigating them both—Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia is a compelling psychological thriller.  The story twists and turns all over the place, making for a tense, engrossing read.  Hattie and Peter are complex characters, neither of whom is very likable.  The former is a manipulative brat (who seems WAY older than 18) while the latter is a selfish wimp.  Despite these less-than-desirable qualities, I did want to know what happened to them.  The ending of this one frustrated me, so in the end, I'm not sure quite what I thought of Everything You Want Me to Be.  It's an intriguing page turner for sure, but I can't say I really liked it.  Overall, it didn't leave me feeling very satisfied.  

(Readalikes:  Reminded me a little of The Secret Place by Tana French)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for strong language, violence, blood/gore, and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Everything You Want Me to Be from the generous folks at Atria Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) via those at NetGalley.  Thank you!

5 comments:

  1. Nothing worse than a dead protagonist you hate.

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  2. I have this one either on my Kindle or in my Audible library. Can't remember which. I'm encouraged by the fact that you said it reminds you of THE SECRET PLACE, which I liked a lot. I will say that I've read other mixed reviews of this one. Guess we shall see whenever I get around to it.

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    Replies
    1. It's the teen-girl-hiding-secrets thing that reminded me of THE SECRET PLACE. I'm not sure how good of a comparison the two novels are otherwise. I definitely liked THE SECRET PLACE a lot better than I liked this one.

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