Title: Everything That Makes You
Author: Moriah McStay
Series: No series
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Published: March 17, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)
The summary of Everything That Makes You from Goodreads:
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.
I think most people have, at one point in contemplated, a what if. Everything in life consists of choices that ultimately lead you to where you are and the person you are. Everything That Makes You picks one moment and explores how Fiona’s life could have been in two futures.
I felt for Fiona. Her face has been scarred for years. One moment of play with her brother resulted in years of pain, both physical and emotional. I could relate to her, in a way. She’s always felt a little like her family wants to change her, like if her face could be “fixed,” then everything would be fixed. She’s learned to live with her scars, and while that doesn’t mean she’s happy to have them, she understands they are a part of her.
Fi, on the other hand, was never scarred. She’s a star lacrosse player with a bright future ahead of her. And then it all comes crashing down around her when her ankle breaks. Her future becomes a question and she’s forced to question who she is and what matters to her.
The contrast between these two “characters” was really interesting. Personally, I connected more with Fiona than Fi, but they were both understandable people. Fiona had to grow up quickly and learn to deal with life’s punches pretty early. She understood that life sometimes doesn’t make sense, but that the only way to keep going is to find a way to adapt and live. Fi, on the other hand, has to realize that life changes quickly and that the future is never set in stone. They’ve lived very different lives, but they ultimately learn similar lessons.
I was really happy with the individual development of the characters. I could see the traits they had in common, ones that didn’t change despite the different lives. Yet, they were separate people. Without getting into spoilers, I liked that the book didn’t end the same way for both Fi and Fiona. I think that expectation would go against the rest of the book. Everything That Makes You shows how individual choices and actions can have a great impact on a person, creating and shaping the future. If the book had ended the same way for both characters, I don’t think that meaning would have come through as well. If Fiona and Fi were going to end up in the same way, what impact did the scarring event have when Fiona was five?
Some parts of the book were predictable. It’s not really bad, per se, but I would have enjoyed a little more guessing as I read. The book was made up of a lot of little moments, with a few big moments helping to move along the story. I just wish I hadn’t seen some of the big moments coming before they happened.
If you’re a fan of alternate universe stories, this is definitely a book you’d enjoy. I also think it’s just a good contemporary genre story. It shows how life is a culmination of everything that has and hasn’t happened, the choices you make and don’t make, and how everything in your past has helped make you who you are.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Katherine Tegan Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.