Sunday, March 15, 2015

Review: Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

Title: Everything That Makes You
Author: Moriah McStay
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: 17 March, 2015
Source: Katherine Tegen via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

Dayum, that cover is seriously perfect for the book. One horrific accident changes a girl's life forever, and we get to see exactly what changes occur. Fiona is the girl who has suffered from the accident; Fi is who results when no accident occurred. Two lives, two halves of the cover.

If I start off with the negatives, I think perhaps what let the book down a little were the actual characters. Fiona and Fi are both not the most likeable characters out there. Initially, Fiona is quite timid, and almost a bit too immature, and Fi seems that little bit too bitchy. However, as the book goes on, you do get development of both of their characters, and they're decidedly more likeable at the end of the tale. The other thing is that the actual drive of the plot wavers, and so there are quite a few lulls where you're bored of what's happening- the two definitely don't have the most interesting of lives; they're very average sort of teenagers.

I suppose that's also where one of the positive aspects of the book lies: since the characters' lives were so average, it was easy to empathise with them. I could see parts of myself in both of them, although I'd probably say that if I had to choose one that I felt more of a connection with, it would be Fiona. I did enjoy both timelines equally though, with different sections of each tale holding my attention at different points in the book.

It was quite interesting reading the two alternate realities because the sound of the narrative voice was pretty much the same, but the actions and thoughts of Fiona and Fi were so different. I also really appreciated how things went quite differently in the two timelines, in terms of how we didn't have a situation where "destiny" really played a role in what happened to the two characters. The characters made different choices, which resulted in diverging lives (although of course, some things stayed the same).

While it wasn't without its flaws, Everything That Makes You still did a good job of illustrating alternate timelines and how one event can change the course of your entire future. It was certainly an adventurous debut from an author whose upcoming books I will definitely be looking out for.

Liked it

Overall: 7/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 3.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 4/5

This post is a part of Contemporary Conversations, hosted by The Thousand Lives and Talking Bookworm.
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