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?
“I’m good at being what people want me to be. Watch me . . . You’ll see.”
In this smart and very engaging mystery, we’re treated to three different perspectives on a crime that occurs very early on in the book. Hattie is a good girl, having grown up in a small town where everyone knows everyone else. She aches to break free and move to New York City after high school. Hattie is the perfect daughter, student, girlfriend and friend.
But Hattie has a secret life, one that threatens the delicate balance of her small Minnesota farming town. She is merely pretending, acting a role, when the “real” Hattie is far from perfect. Her actions will affect and change many people’s lives forever. Peter is her high school English teacher who feels trapped in a loveless marriage. And Del is the lead investigator on Hattie’s brutal murder. His voice lends a dry wit and careful reason to the series of events unfolding around him. Can he be neutral when the families he has known his whole life are brutally affected by this unspeakable crime?
“Mom warned me that I had a lot to learn about the world. I wished she would’ve mentioned how much the learning was going to hurt.”
I was enthralled by this deeply moving thriller! The small-town atmosphere is perfectly captured by the author. Every characters is flawed, some more so than others. I never saw the ending coming. This book was fast-paced, smart and engaging. Don’t be put off by the endless comparisons to other best-sellers in this genre. ‘Everything You Want Me to Be’ stands on its own as a poignant and suspenseful story. Highly recommended for all fans of psychological thrillers and murder mysteries!
“You can’t live your life acting for other people. Other people will just use you up. You have to know yourself and figure out what you want. I can’t do that for you. Nobody can.”
(With thanks to Atria Books for the ARC.)
Loraine Oliver says
Thanks for review Ellen!