Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

Title: Everything That Makes You
Author: Moriah McStay
Pages: 352 pages
Published: March 17th, 2015
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Hardcover copy from B&N
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 denied 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're 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 luck. 

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This book can be explained in one word: kaboom *mentally explodes*

Debut novels this year have been making their comeback with each book that comes out. Moriah's novel made me seem a bit apprehensive in the beginning only because the synopsis was such a mystery to me that I, myself, had no idea how someone would pull off a story like this. Everything That Makes You is a compelling psychological contemporary piece that pulls off its final act on the last page of the book, which means you'd have to read till the end! 

This book discovers the theory of what if. What if something happened tomorrow that completely shatters your dreams? What if someone close to you passes? What if the love of your life was with someone else? This book asked many questions, but not all were answered. If there is anything mundane about this book, someone please tell me because I find it to be the most complex and unique read I've ever encountered, which isn't a bad thing. 

The book follows one narrator, but in two different timelines. Her name is Fiona "Fi" Doyle and the book shows two sides of the story: one that happened and one that never happened. Confused yet? Well Fiona's really story falls upon her having a scar on her face from an accident that happened twelve years ago. The other parts of the book discover the story in which the scar never happened and she went on with her life instead. The chapters of the book alternate in the stories but they're all really about Fiona and what would happen if this didn't happen?  

I thought it was pretty clever for this debut author. She twisted an ordinary tale about a girl who perhaps could have gotten more out of life if she had never been through the accident. It's extraordinarily rare for authors to discover this part of their characters and the big question of what if. This book was very realistic in bringing that subject to life, and it's very commendable. 

The characters were an enigma all on their own. It's up to us, as the readers, to piece the puzzle together and uncover their secrets. Fiona was one of the strongest characters in the book. She is the main focus of the two alternate stories but she's also the conflict. I was not disappointed in the character department. Fiona learns more and more about herself all throughout the book and it was kind of like a huge intervention where the author said, "Hey Fiona, it's time we help you out to discover your inner self." 

Character interventions are great. Just great. And I love when the authors take the time to craft their characters. Supporting characters in the book were very much enjoyable to have around and lifting the main protags when they felt down. 

There are tons of swoony guys in the book, so I was not disappointed there. In some ways, I was disappointed with the overall romance of this book. Surely this was a contemporary piece but I truly expected more romance. Don't get me wrong, there was romance, but just not the kind I was hoping for. 

I guess you say that romance was the "trouble maker" in the book. The whole story revolves around romance as a main storyteller but it also crashes and burns that way. It's better to say that Fiona was never ready for a real relationship on her journey to finding herself. She had flings here and there but none of the relationships were ever permanent until the end.

My final verdict: Pick up Everything That Makes You. The greatest of stories make you think long before they are over and that is exactly what this book did! For this book it's totally okay to judge the book by its cover because the cover is 100% beautiful and the book is even more so! 

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  1. How does the book end?? I have a project due tomorrow and I really need to know how it ends!!

    1. I don't quite remember exactly how it ended. But in the end the characters all made hefty decisions that definitely had a big impact on their futures. Also one of the characters didn't apply to college because they were so in love so that's something you could definitely talk about: how every choice can cause a huge change in your life.


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