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Everything You Want Me to Be: A Novel (edition 2017)

by Mindy Mejia (Author)

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1223598,704 (3.97)2
Member:scoutlee
Title:Everything You Want Me to Be: A Novel
Authors:Mindy Mejia (Author)
Info:Atria/Emily Bestler Books (2017), 352 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:Minnesota, new release 2017, read 2017, ebook 2017, new author 2017, family dynamics, high school, mystery/suspense

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Everything You Want Me to Be: A Novel by Mindy Mejia

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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman is such a bittersweet story. I found the hardest thing about reading this book was that I liked Hattie so much. She was such a likable character, such a sweet girl, full of life and with the whole life ahead of her. And, then she was brutally murdered. Someone took her life, but why?

For sheriff Del Goodman is this case especially hard, he has known Hattie all her life, her father is a good friend to him and now he must find her killer. I loved that the story is told through three different perspectives, Del's, Hattie's and Peter, Hattie's English teacher. By giving Hattie a voice does the story come to life, this is not an anonymous dead girl, this is a girl that dreamed about Broadway, about becoming a star. It's the saddest thing reading this book, knowing that she will never ever fulfill her dreams.

I have to admit that the ending took me by surprise, I had the killer all figured out when the truth came out and I was astonished. It was not at all whom I had thought it would be.

Mindy Mejia has written a heartbreaking thriller with strong characters and a great ending. I look forward to reading more from Mejia in the future! PS. Love the cover for the book!

4.5 stars

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
This is an excellent psychological thriller and so much more. Hattie is a girl with a magnetic personality who knows what she wants and how to get it; she’s manipulative, focused and undeterred when she wants something. Her voice is pure and believable, haunting even, it keeps you anting more.
You may think this is a police procedural because a murder takes place, but it’s not, this is Hattie’s story and the story of the lives that intercept hers during the last year leading up to her death. The author gets the reader right into her head. She is an aspiring actress on stage and in her day to day life; constantly changing to meet the different needs of her parents, classmates, boyfriend and teachers. The people you meet through Hattie are complex and some, suspects in her murder. The story takes place in a small Minnesota town and this complicates things. Everyone knows everyone else, including Del, the local sheriff, heading up the investigation. He’s best friends with Hattie’s father, and has known her since the day she was born. Looking for a good mystery/thriller? Give this one a try. It’s great. Highly recommend.

Review previously posted at: www.princetonbookreview.com

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  Princetonbookreview | Mar 27, 2017 |
This was a very good book that makes you think about the slippery slopes we navigate in our decision making. While a major focus is a young immature girl with some personality issues, I was intrigued by the teacher who unfortunately risked everything for her. ( )
  ebrahmstadt | Mar 1, 2017 |
Falling within the nearly-not-crime-fiction-at-all genre, THE LAST ACT OF HATTIE HOFFMAN (aka EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE) explores the nature of identity. How do we learn who we are? Can we choose who to be? Can we truly have multiple identities or is there always a true self? That it does this against the backdrop of the investigation into a young girl’s murder in a Minnesota farming community is almost (but not quite) incidental.

The story unfolds in two time frames, roughly a year apart, and from three different perspectives. We learn of the book’s key dramatic event – Hattie Hoffman’s murder – early on then one thread of the novel flashes back through the months that led up to it, while the other moves forward, showing how hard it is for the people who loved her to discover Hattie’s secrets. That she was not the Hattie they thought they knew. This kind of complicated narrative structure is becoming more popular but not every author carries it off with as much skill as Mejia has done with only her second full-length novel. The structure served a real purpose here; providing most of the tension and allowing the key character developments to be revealed more precisely than a standard narrative might have done.

Henrietta, Hattie to her friends, Hoffman is 17 at the earliest stages of the book and has not long turned 18 when she is murdered. She yearns to live in New York. Possibly as an actress but that’s not as important as just being there: geographically and psychologically far removed from Pine Valley, Minnesota. Hattie is already an actress though, both on stage and off it, easily portraying the girl other people need or want her to be. A doting daughter, a BFF, a footballer’s girlfriend…Is she being manipulative or just trying on skins to find the right one? And either way, do her actions warrant her being stabbed to death?

Del Goodman is Pine Valley’s Sheriff. We don’t know exactly how old he is but he must be pushing retirement age as he served in Vietnam and these events are taking place across 2007-2008. He feels more than usually invested in the case because Hattie’s father, Bud, is his best friend. He has watched Hattie grow up and, without children of his own, he feels close to Hattie and also feels he knows her. Or at least a version of her.

Peter Lund is the high school English teacher. He’s moved to Pine Valley from Minneapolis because his wife needed to move home to look after her ailing mother. He is stifled by small town life and the fact he seems unable to fit in. His interests are shared by few people there – not even his wife as she focuses on caring for her mother and the demanding chicken farm – and their interests are completely foreign to him. Peter’s view of himself as a person is shown to be out of sync with the person he actually is.

THE LAST ACT OF HATTIE HOFFMAN is an unsettling, surprising, compelling and ultimately very satisfying read. The story is a ripper yarn and the characters much more layered than the blurb would have you believe. For the record I prefer ‘our’ title than the US one because it turns out to have several real meanings and seems to more thoroughly encapsulate this excellent story but whatever it’s called where you live I highly recommend this book.
  bsquaredinoz | Feb 26, 2017 |
Fantastic! I’ve read many books in the suspense/thriller genre, and this is one of the best. EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE is an engrossing, character-driven mystery that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go.

The story is about the murder of a Minnesota farm girl named Hattie, who dreamed of a career on the stage in New York after high school. Her acting talent allowed her to be all things to everyone. Was she a heartless manipulator, or simply a teenager searching for identity? Hattie tells us her story in the months leading up to her killing, and the chapters alternate with two other characters’ POVs, including the town’s sheriff investigating the shocking crime.

This was such a great book! I loved the complicated characters and suspenseful plot. The twisty ending was amazing. Even as unsettling as its subject matter was, the book’s last lines were haunting and lovely, and they got me choked up. Gah! I’m eagerly anticipating Mindy Mejia’s next book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  bookofsecrets | Feb 23, 2017 |
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'Everything You Want Me to Be' (US) is also published as 'The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman' (UK)
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