Review: Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

Review

“My name is Henrietta Sue Hoffman. And by the time I was done with Pine Valley, no one would forget who I was.”

Hattie Hoffman wanted out of small-town Pine Valley. With dreams of acting on Broadway, she was counting the days until she could free the town too small for her ambitions. Instead, she’s found brutally murdered in a dirty barn, leaving this rural Minnesota community shocked, angry and clamoring to find her killer.

Hattie had been a girl beaming with life, the football-hero boyfriend on her arm, a bright future in front of her. But as we rewind the days leading up to her murder, Hattie’s secrets are unearthed, along with those of this seemingly quiet town. We see the extent and depth of a young girl’s manipulation, we see marriages fracture, hear secrets whispered in the dark, and duplicitous lives continuing unchecked.

A cast of suspects emerges, all with secrets to hide, and yet surprises shock when we learn what really happened the night Hattie was stabbed to death.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Mejia expertly sets a foreboding tone—a town with its long-buried secrets and it’s cunning inhabitants. Tension thrums steadily throughout the novel as secrets unravel and the truth finally emerges. Everything You Want Me To Be is an addictive psychological thriller deftly exploring identity and manipulation, and the consequences of being pushed too far. Fans of Ruth Ware and Mary Kubica will love this.

About Everything You Want Me To Be

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 town’s 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 she’s 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 Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s 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-discovery—or destruction?

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