I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Everything That Makes You Published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 17th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, YA
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One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.
And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?
Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.
This book was a solid 4-stars at first, but once the intriguing factor wore off I just got bored and then confused. It’s a good premise, but one that was executed much better in a few other books I’ve read: Just Like Fate and Pivot Point. The “what if” is a question that many can’t help but consider. In Fiona’s case, what if she had never had that accident that left her scarred? It’s interesting to see how an event like that changes someone, or how different their lives would be had in not happened. Unfortunately, once this initial curious factor wears off, the novel starts to become quite mundane, with characters who are not easily likeable.
Told in alternating perspectives, we get Fiona’s story who was tragically scarred at the age of 5 after an accident at the zoo, and then we see how Fi is living her life unscarred. Fiona was always the most interesting – and the most likeable – to me. It’s easy to sympathize with her, seeing her live through stares and snickers. People thinking she’s an invalid, even, just because she has scars. As expected, she has self-esteem issues that run deep, but like any normal teenager, she has crushes and future plans and hopes and dreams. Fi, on the other hand, has lived a pretty normal life so far with no worries other than getting a scholarship for lacrosse. Until she breaks her ankle, at least. Fi is definitely much harder to like. She’s whiny and kind of a bitch at times, and just…. a quitter. How can you root for that? She gets a little bump in the road and that’s it, her life is over so might as well stop trying altogether! Urgh! On the romance side, (and this goes for both perspectives) I didn’t get her attraction to Trent. He’s “hot” apparently, but his personality leaves much to be desired if you ask me. She kept being so fixated on him even though he didn’t deserve it most of the time, I just didn’t get it.
So with both these stories I expected either some kind of thought-provoking conclusion or a meaningful self-finding mission where you realize that with or without a tragedy, you’d end up where you’re supposed to be, you know. And while there is some sporadic emotional content, we mostly get two fairly average teenage lives that end up not being that… interesting. In addition, and this was the biggest problem for me, both perspective become so similar, with the same secondary characters who are only slightly different on each side, that it all starts to blend together. It confused me enough that I couldn’t even recall which character had which role in which perspective anymore. Trent was her crush on one side, her best friend on the other. Jackson was her crush on one side, her friend on the other. Ryan – her brother – was pretty much the very same on either side, same girlfriend and all just in a slightly different place in his life. Plus, Fiona gets her scars fixed a quarter through anyways so her finally finding the courage to sing at open mic night is nothing spectacular. So in short: side 1) She was scarred, she gets “fixed” she continues to live. Side 2) She’s a lacrosse prodigy, she breaks her ankle, she pouts and complains, it heals, she continues to live. This is pretty much the gist of this novel. I found it pretty directionless overall. Like, what’s the point of this story?
So as you can see, I was not the biggest fan of this one in the end. It’s a solid idea, but the delivery is lacking. Maybe if I didn’t have anything to compare it with I would have enjoyed it more, but as it stands, I expected to find a much more powerful read than what I got.
2 Hot Espressos