Henrietta Hoffman (better known as Hattie in her small town) wears a lot of hats. Whether it’s honor’s student near the top of her senior class, the loving daughter of her parents or the dutiful girlfriend. But does anyone really know the REAL Hattie Hoffman?
Mindy Mejia’s Everything You Want Me to Be examines a year in the life of Hattie Hoffman as she struggles to find out the role she really wants to play in life. The big problem is that just as Hattie is figuring out who she wants to be, she meets an untimely end under suspicious circumstances.
A fascinating character study mystery, Everything You Want Me to Be moves forward and back from the discovery of Hattie’s body in a dilapidated barn. Told from multiple points of view including Hattie herself, the local sheriff who is friend to Hattie’s family and the English teacher who doesn’t want to be part of the small town life, the story of just who Hattie is and how she met her untimely end unfolds at a satisfying pace with multiple suspects and potential motives. Mejia drops in details to throw suspicion onto several characters, including one of our point of view narrators as the novel moves towards it inevitable conclusion.
The character-driven mystery includes multiple red herrings and challenges the reader (and the sheriff) to figure out who the real culprit is. The novel gets major points for having the culprit being kept under wraps until the big reveal of his or her guilt without feeling like the solution is earned.
A compelling, page-turning mystery Everything You Want Me to Be is one of the more entertaining mystery novels I’ve read in quite some time.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this novel from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.