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Everything You Want Me to Be

Everything You Want Me to Be

4.5 10
by Mindy Mejia

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People’s Best New Books Pick

The Wall Street Journal’s Best New Mysteries

“Fans of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl will devour this fast-paced story.”—InStyle

“Readers drawn to this compelling psychological thriller because of its shared elements with Gillian Flynn’s Gone


People’s Best New Books Pick

The Wall Street Journal’s Best New Mysteries

“Fans of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl will devour this fast-paced story.”—InStyle

“Readers drawn to this compelling psychological thriller because of its shared elements with Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (2012) will be pleasantly surprised to discover that Mejia’s confident storytelling pulls those themes into an altogether different exploration of manipulation and identity.” —Booklist (starred review)

2017’s Best Fiction Books—Bustle

12 Books Gone Girl Fans Should Have on Their Wish List —BookBub

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?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Company. (Jan.)
“What a wonderful read . . . Challenging and entertaining and very, very difficult to put down.”
Shelf Awareness
"Readers will surely find this unsettling, character-driven descent into secret desires and hidden faces everything they wanted to see from a talented writer and then some."
RT Book Reviews
"Mejia's novel is full of suspense, intrigue and twists at every turn. The reader is transported into three different worlds as they try to figure out who committed a horrendous crime. Told from three different perspectives, this is a fantastic read that wastes no time in drawing the reader into the story."
Suspense Magazine
"An excellent book full of surprises, fans will be thrilled to find that this is one tale that falls into that very slim category of rare 'one-day' reads."
“5 stars.”
"This story is also an expertly-crafted whodunit, a mystery that grips the reader and won't let go . . . Brilliantly plotted, perfectly executed, this novel rates 5 1/2 stars."
The Real Book Spy
“As the suspense piles up with each passing page, readers will race to the finish line where Mindy Mejia saves her best twist for the end. Everything You Want Me To Be is a mesmerizing psychological thriller that is, in fact, everything you want it to be.”
The Suspense is Thrilling Me
"A haunting story with suffocating tension that will crawl deep beneath your skin without you realizing until it's over. Highly recommended to the fans of a well done psychological thriller; I'm not sure if I should consider this one of my top reads of 2016 or 2017—maybe both!"
Generation G Books
"A story of misplaced affection, human frailties and ferocities, and the dark corners that all of those pinwheel emotions can take us to in the name of love."
5 Stars Goodreads
"A one sitting read with a completely thrilling twist! Highly recommend!"
5 Stars NetGalley
"Once I reached the 60% mark in this book, give or take a percentage point or two, there was no way I was going to stop until I reached the end. Yeah, folks, it's that good."
New York Journal of Books
"Everything You Want Me to Be is a fast read with a bright, clean style. The ending should launch some ferocious debates."
Lollipops Books
"5 out of 5 stars . . . Completely startling thriller . . . an unputdownable whodunit."
"Take Gone Girl with Girl on the Train and mix in a little teen angst from Dare You by Megan Abbott and you have this one wrapped up in a nutshell."
"Wow, What a roller coaster ride this one was! I'm really excited about this book and I predict that it will be a standout in 2017. . . The ending is explosive, shocking and completely unpredictable and oh so satisfying. Rating: 5/5."
LaLa Life
"Holy cow! What a book! Easily one of my top 5 books this year! You will not be able to put this one down."
Reading Books Like A Boss Blog
"EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE is in all sense of the word a page-turner. I couldn't put this book down. If it wasn't for work and personal obligations, I would have read this book from start to finish without eating."
4 Stars Goodreads
"This is damn good . . . . This is definitely one to check out if you're into character-driven mystery stories or if you are in the mood for a psychologically-rich story with lots of seeeecrets."
Write On Cindy
"Everything You Want Me to Be (Emily Bestler Books) by Mindy Mejia grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let go until I finished the book. It was the quickest three-hundred-plus pages I think I’ve ever read!"
The Wall Street Journal
"Ms. Mejia displays the enviable ability and assurance of such contemporaries as Megan Abbott and Laura Lippman in convincingly charting inter-generational passion and angst."
Pioneer Press
"Terrific . . . If even a 10th of the thrillers published in 2017 are as good as EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE, we're in for some great reading."
Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Twisty . . . a page-turner, and compelling."
"Buckle up for this killer mystery in which identity, truth, and self-discovery take some fatal turns."
Vilma's Book Blog
"Edgy, evocative and addictively twisty—Mejia's tautly written narrative explores the deadly tangle of love, identity and manipulation . . . Fans of Ruth Ware and Mary Kubica will love this."
Marie Claire
"In the spirit of The Lovely Bones and Everything I Never Told You…compelling."
Pretty Little Books
"This is a truly fantastic book and I highly recommend it to fellow readers . . . I promise, you will not be disappointed in this finely crafted masterpiece!"
Kirkus Reviews
A teenage girl's murder splits apart a rural Minnesota community, uncovering not only her secrets, but also those of the town.Like so many teenagers living in small towns, 18-year-old Hattie Hoffman wanted out of Pine Valley. Specifically, she wanted to go to New York City, where she envisioned acting on Broadway. Instead, she ended up stabbed to death in a barn weeks before graduation after a rave performance as Lady Macbeth in that Scottish play. Mejia, making her adult debut after The Dragon Keeper (2012), a book for teens, alternates perspective, building up to the day Hattie dies in Hattie's own voice and in the days and weeks after, from the points of view of the cookie-cutter town sheriff and the obvious suspect, Hattie's English teacher, as he stumbles through his predictably crumbling marriage. Hattie is a master manipulator, so much so that it's often difficult to believe she's only 18; when the flirtation with teacher Peter Lund, which begins online, blossoms into a full-blown affair, it's frustrating that the adult appears to be the one for whom the author is trying to elicit more sympathy rather than the high school student with whom he's having sex. Sheriff Del Goodman functions less as a character and more as a vehicle to move the story along: someone has to solve Hattie's murder, so it may as well be him. In the year leading up to her death, as Hattie prepares her grand exit, her death seems inevitable not owing to the way she lived, but because Mejia stays so far within what are safe narrative boundaries. There's an attempt at profundity here that falls flat, leaving instead a story we've seen before of a pretty girl who winds up dead and the usual cast of suspects who may have killed her.

Product Details

Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Mindy Mejia received her MFA from Hamline University. Her debut novel, The Dragon Keeper, was published by Ashland Creek Press in 2012. The granddaughter of Minnesota farmers, she lives in the Twin Cities with her husband and two children.

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Everything You Want Me to Be 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Samantha1020 19 hours ago
What a way to end my reading year in 2016 with this book! I don't even know if I have the words to describe my reading experience with this one. It was just as intense as I had hoped it would be but I was surprised at how uncomfortable it made me at times. That sounds like it was a bad thing but it really wasn't. I just found book to be a more challenging read when it came to how I felt about the things that happened in this book. Not trying to be too vague but I also don't want to spoil anything for other readers. Let's just say that the author has quite the talent at blurring the lines so that I didn't always know what or how to feel about the characters and the decisions they were making. It was so completely intriguing but also there was this feeling of dread that was present throughout the entire book. As the reader, you just knew that everything wasn't going to end well by the end of the book. That feeling just builds page by page- by a certain point there was no way that I was not going to finish the book. It was just too good of a read! I feel like I heard a lot of hype surrounding this book early on and I do think that it is well deserved. This is one of those books that just pulls you in and doesn't let you go. Even when I didn't necessarily want to be reading it....well, I was thinking about it at least. It was the perfect page turner and I found myself unwilling to put it down. I loved that the story was told from multiple viewpoints. It gave me the chance to get to know Hattie more (which if you read the summary from above you know has been murdered) which was a bit unexpected. I loved that we got this chance to learn more about her because it really helped to explain and lead up to the ending. I won't say more than that. This isn't a book that you necessarily feel good about after finishing. There are too many dark and sad things that happen. But it makes you think about the choices we make and how those choices effect the rest of our lives. I honestly can't say enough good things about this book. It wasn't easy to read for me at times but I'm glad that I did. It came VERY close to ending up on my top ten reads list for 2016. It was a book that left me thinking about it for days afterwards. The characters get under you skin in a way that I can't fully explain. I'm just left very excited about this author as this is her debut novel I believe. Craziness! I can't wait for more and will be recommending this one to just about any reader. Highly recommended. Bottom Line: A stunning way to end my reading year! Disclosure: I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher.
feather_lashes 4 days ago
Everything You Want Me to Be didn't leave me with a jaw-drop, but it did leave me with the memory of a thoroughly engaging reading experience. I was hooked on this multiple POV storyline about Hattie, a literal drama queen who uses a small-town as her personal stage before and after her tragic end. The perspectives include Peter: Hattie's high school English teacher, Del: the sheriff investigating Hattie's death, and Hattie herself who takes readers from start to finish of her last year of life. I was expecting a cookie-cutter psychological thriller/mystery from yet another writer inspired by the fairly recent blockbusting successes, but I got a complex tale that geniously mirrors events and themes in the MacBeth play that Hattie and her peers were preparing for. I was slightly disappointed in who the actual culprit was but it was a well-written ending that allowed the reader full access to how everything went down. I really enjoyed Everything You Want Me to Be and would recommend it to fans of the genres listed. Check it out! My favorite quote: "The trouble with vows was that they were too damn generic. I'd stood in that church a block away from here and repeated, “For better or for worse,” imagining the worst to be Mary laid low with a cute, flu-like sickness requiring chicken soup and boxes of Kleenex. Maybe we'd lose our jobs. Maybe we'd have to deal with infertility. I'd projected every normal scenario into those vows, everything people told me to expect, but the minister never said, “You might move away from everyone and everything you love into a rundown farmhouse in the middle of a desolate prairie, where you won't have sex or even any conversation that doesn't revolve around the state of a dying woman who hates you.” No, he stood smiling in front of us and said, “For better or for worse.” Better or worse what? I'd agreed to adjectives. I'd happily squeezed Mary's hands and made vows with unknown placeholders for nouns. For someone who aspired to be an English professor, binding my life to someone else's with a game of Mad Libs suddenly seemed like a terrible joke." Note: I have seen this title listed under the genre of young-adult and would have to disagree with that. There is non-graphic sexual content and I personally feel the reading experience is intended for adults even though one of the main settings is high school.
Anonymous 8 days ago
Read it!
Anonymous 10 days ago
Loved it!
Candace-LoveyDoveyBooks 19 days ago
Mindy Mejia's Everything You Want Me to Be is everything I love about mystery and more. The agonizing suspense and unique storytelling form a mystery unlike any that I have yet read. Hattie Hoffman had dreams of moving to New York and living the big life. The discovery of her body after the opening night of her high school play causes quite the stir in her small town, Pine Valley. The sheriff, a family friend of the Hoffmans, makes it a personal mission to find her killer and piece together what brought her to the end of her life. The story is told in alternating viewpoints of Hattie, Del Goodman the sheriff, and Hattie's English teacher Peter Lund. As the story unfolds connections are explored and motives seemingly written in black and white. Mindy Mejia cleverly holds the whole truth close until the last of Hattie's life is examined. Hattie forged connections with those around her by becoming what she thought they wanted her to be. I honestly thought she was a nut job because of the way she pretended with everyone, but she only took to extremes what plenty of us do everyday. Who hasn't pretended to have fun with a friend that really bored the snot out of them? She was a young girl learning to find herself in a sea of characters she'd created. Hattie wasn't the only character rich with human emotion or flaws. Del, Peter and other supporting characters fill this story with colorful personalities that provide depth to the novel. Everything You Want Me to Be is a fantastic read. Mindy Mejia's brilliant story is engaging, thought provoking and perfect for a weekend read! *ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* Originally posted on Lovey Dovey Books
SheTreadsSoftly 19 days ago
Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia is a highly recommended murder mystery set in a small town. Hattie Hoffman is a high school senior in Pine Valley, Minnesota. She is a natural actress and has spent her whole life playing the part others wanted her to play - good daughter, brave sister, supportive friend, good student. When she is found stabbed to death in an abandoned barn after the opening night of her high school play, local Sheriff Del Goodman must try to figure out who would want Hattie dead. His investigation is complicated by the fact that he is a good friend of the family and it is set in a very small town. Mejia tells the story of the investigation and the events over the past school year that have led up to Hattie's murder through the point of view of three narrators: Sheriff Del Goodman, Hattie, and Peter Lund, a high school teacher in an unhappy marriage. Goodman's chapters are set after the murder as he tries to unravel the story of why Hattie was murdered to solve the case. I liked Del Goodman throughout the whole novel, but became tired of Hattie and Peter. Hattie is a skilled manipulator who managed to play everyone around her, while Peter just became too weak and whiny to elicit any sympathy or support from me. Even with that said, Mejia managed to keep me interested in the investigation and I was surprised by the final resolution. It is a compelling novel and you will find it engaging beginning to end. The quality of the writing sets what could be considered a standard mystery novel a step higher. This is a character driven novel and Mejia does an excellent job presenting her characters, flaws and all. The case is solved incrementally by Del as the other chapters go through the events of the past school year in the point of view of Hattie and Peter. There is a surprising twist at the end. Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of Atria/Emily Bestler Books.
sandrabrazier 19 days ago
Henrietta Hoffman, Hattie for short, is a real actress. As a matter of fact, even in her everyday life, she is the star. She casts herself in the various roles in her life, acting the part she thinks that everyone else wants her to play. And she is an amazing actress! This small-town girl dreams only of escaping Pine Valley and making it big on the stage in New York City. She is always acting. She is never herself. Never, that is, until she falls in love. Then, as she decides to be the genuine Hattie Hoffman and throw out all those roles she had been playing, her life is cut short. Twists and turns adorn this story, as Hattie, Del, our detective, and Peter, an English teacher, narrate the story, little-by-little letting us know more and more about the plot. As these narrators ‘spoon-feed’ the reader detail by detail, the reader is drawn this way and that, as things become clearer and clearer. This psychological mystery, filled with very well-developed characters, is an exciting read, loaded with surprises. It is somewhat predictable, at times, but it is lots of fun, just the same. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
BookishThings 19 days ago
This book had me on my toes. I loved the various points of view. Each one gives us a look into the past and present. I was never sure which way the story was going to go. I thought I had things figured out only to be wrong. I’d try again and be wrong. I loved that this book kept me guessing. Mejia did a fantastic job of showing us the life of the three main characters. You feel for each of them, even when what they are doing is questionable. The ages of Hattie, Del and Peter are different and she did a fascinating job of putting the reader into each of their shoes. I don’t want to say too much because it would be spoilery, but this book is definitely one you’ll want to pick up. The characterizations, plot and mystery will have you flipping the pages as fast as you can.
Caroles_Random_Life 19 days ago
I enjoyed reading this book. This was one of those books that pulled me into the story pretty quickly. I knew that things would go horribly wrong but I just couldn't look away. I had to know exactly what happened and I wanted Hattie to tell me. The way that the story unfolded really added to the story. This is a book that I am very glad that I decided to pick up. One of the first things that struck me about this book was the fact that it is told in a nonlinear manner. I am not usually a fan of this method of story telling and I have to say that I was rather disappointed to see that this book was told in such a manner. It worked wonderfully in this story. It wasn't hard to keep track of where the story was in time and having the characters tell their story as it was taking place was really powerful. This book is told from three points of view. Del is the sheriff of a small town who is working to solve a murder. Hattie is a senior in high school who dreams of leaving the small town she has lived her life in to move to New York. Peter is the school's new English teacher who has just moved to town. All three of these characters play an important part of unraveling what really happened to Hattie. I liked the characters even though I am not sure why I do with the exception of Del. Del is a likeable guy who is in a bad place. He needs to solve Hattie's murder but is getting a lot of pressure from everyone in town not to mention that Hattie's father is one of his best friends. Hattie is kind of hard to like at first. She is manipulative and seems to think she is better than others in her town. I liked her anyway especially as the book progressed. Peter seemed lost throughout a lot of the book. He is never sure what he wants to do and feels guilty with a lot of his choices. I thought Peter felt really authentic and I liked him even when I wanted to throw things at him. I would recommend this book to others. It tells a story that kept me guessing up until the very end. This is the first book by Mindy Mejia that I have had a chance to read but I plan to look for her work in the future. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Atria Books via NetGalley.
Lorizen 20 days ago
Will the real Hattie Hoffman please stand up!! Hattie, multifaceted and complex character who really is a master manipulator whose skills match her acting ability. A senior in high school, she's determined to blow town after she graduates. Her problem is she is killed before she gets that chance. The story is masterfully told via three characters, Del town sheriff and friend of Hattie's parents, Peter the English professor who finds himself in a place he never thought he'd be and Hattie herself. Whoever Hattie is. All that remains to be seen. This book is masterpiece of excellent writing, superb character development and an insightful mind bending look into one young girls head. I can't think of any other book I have read that compares to this one. So well done and lures you right into the story. No hook needed. The book had it all, from the what the ???, through the twists and just when you think... yeah, no. Mindy Mejia, well done and I can't wait to read another book written by you. **arc provided by NetGalley and Atria Publishing in exchange for a fair review**
PegGlover 20 days ago
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.