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?
The discovery of the body of high school senior Hattie Hoffman, found stabbed in an abandoned barn in rural Pine Valley, Minn., kicks off this engaging, character-driven crime novel from Mejia (The Dragon Keeper), who examines the events leading up to the murder through three narrators Sheriff Del Goodman, a Hoffman family friend; Peter Lund, a high school teacher who tries to escape his faltering marriage through an affair with Hattie; and Hattie herself. A natural actor, Hattie consciously plays roles to please other people. When she falls in love, though, she decides to be honest about her identity and desires with devastating consequences. The story occasionally drags, and the murder's resolution seems almost like an afterthought, but Mejia adroitly charts Hattie's development. Peter, initially sympathetic, becomes cloying, while Del a Vietnam vet who enjoys fishing and the undemanding company of his neighbors' cat emerges as the most compelling and rich of the trio. Readers will look forward to further work from this talented author.
Very good read
The plot was entertaining and plausible. Good writer.
Say goodbye to sleep and productivity because once you pick this book up, you will not want put it down. Best loss of sleep I've ever had. Thank you, Mindy Mejia for a job well done! Your descriptions, detail, and depth kept me interested and my heart racing for each character's account of the days that lead up to and followed Hattie's murder.
Everything You Want Me To Be is a meticulously crafted, unputdownable, crime thriller.
Hattie Hoffman was seventeen, beautiful, talented, and driven. She set a goal to become a famous Broadway actress and was determined to achieve it. Everyone said that Hattie was a natural. She should be; she practiced her acting skills every day, on the people around her. They had no idea of that, though, but they were helping her to become a better actress, just the same. Unlike her classmates, Hattie was not interested in going to college right away. She was heading for New York City, as soon as school ended. She couldn’t wait for the school year to be over, until Peter Lund, the new English teacher walked in.
Peter Lund was the man she had flirted with at CVS, but he would become much more than just a friendly acquaintance to her. She didn’t know that at the time, though. She also didn’t know that her life would end that year.
This is the first book that I’ve read by this author, but it will not be my last. The writing is superb, with fully developed characters and realistic dialogue. Although this perfectly paced book is told from three different points of view, I didn’t find it confusing at all. I loved it.
Many thanks to the publisher, and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy of Everything You Want Me To Be.