Monday, March 09, 2015

Review: Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

Title: Everything That Makes You
Author: Moriah McStay
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: March 17th 2015
Pages: 352
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: NetGalley - I received a free eGalley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
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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?
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

The concept of Everything That Makes You sounded interesting, but it's not the most original; Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young's Just Like Fate and Kasie West's Pivot Point are pretty similar in set-up. In order to make this done-before concept work, the writing and the plot would have had to be great, and to be honest, they just... aren't. There isn't much that's technically wrong with Everything That Makes You, but I didn't really see this story going anywhere or a point to all of this, and I didn't connect with it. 

Even if the two-lives thing has been done before, the idea of seeing where Fiona's life is going with or without this accident could have been interesting. I would have wanted to see some kind of progression and a message at the end about how you end up where you're supposed to be, regardless of what goes wrong, or something along those lines. But that isn't really the case; these are really just two pretty average stories that don't seem to go anywhere, and there's nothing that ties the two stories together in the end. I just didn't get the point of it all.

One issue for me was that it was hard to tell the two stories apart; I had to keep checking back to make sure which girl's story I was reading at any given moment. I think that's mainly because the two stories have all the same characters, just in slightly different roles: Trent as a friend/love interest in one and a distant love interest in the other; Jackson as a friend one story and the love interest in the other, and her family is pretty much the same in both stories. I kept forgetting who played what role in which story because I don't think Fi and Fiona's voices were different enough to really set them apart. 

It also didn't help that Everything That Makes You spans such a long period of time; it starts halfway through junior year of high school and ends after freshman year of college. With two stories to tell, I think that's just too long for a 350-paged book because this it doesn't leave enough space to fully explore any of the storylines. For example, Fiona's obsession with Trent seems really random (considering he's a hot douchebag she knows nothing about) and doesn't go anywhere, and the tragedy in Fi's life didn't make me feel anything because we didn't have enough time to really get to know the characters. The characters aren't bad, necessarily, but we don't get to know them well enough for me to actually cares what happens to them.

Everything That Makes You just didn't work for me. These are just two average stories that don't seem to really go anywhere; maybe another reader will get something out of them, but they didn't really have a point, for me. The characters and the stories aren't developed enough to get me emotionally invested, so I just didn't care all that much about what happened. To be honest, if you like this kind of concept, I would suggest picking up Just Like Fate instead.


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