cover image Everything You Want Me to Be

Everything You Want Me to Be

Mindy Mejia. Atria, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5011-2342-9

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. [em]Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Company. (Jan.) [/em]