Review: Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

Everything That Makes You
by Moriah McStay

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.

(cover image and synopsis lifted from Goodreads)

Series: Standalone
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date:  March 17th 2015
Source/Format: ARC won from Francine of Not So Literary
Purchase Link: Book Depository
My Rating: ★★★★☆
My Thoughts:
Fiona Doyle had an accident while she was young and now bears a huge scar on her face. She is a talented but reluctant musician. Fi Doyle on the other hand, did not meet such an awful fate and at present, she is a lacrosse player, confident on everything that lies before her. Fiona and Fi are one and the same but they are also different.

The book encompasses a fairly long period of time. It started from Fiona’s and Fi’s junior year in high school and ended in their freshman year in college. The long timeline really helps with the narrative because it gives the readers more stuff to compare and contrast between the two girls. The girls are different in a lot of ways: whom to be friends or go out with, which college to apply to, etc. Not only are their personalities different but the same people around them react differently to each of them as well. For example, with Fiona, her brother Ryan treats her like a breakable vase who needs constant protection. With Fi, Ryan feels a bit of resentment because she is more talented in lacrosse than him. Some people who are friends with Fiona are strangers to Fi and vice versa

I don’t exactly know what the book is really trying to say. If there is a coherent theme, maybe I did not quite catch it. But it’s okay. Maybe, the book just wants to tell the stories of Fi and Fiona and how alike and different their fates can become. For me, the individual stories of the girls cannot stand alone or even if it could, it would be uninteresting. But together, it is fascinating.

What really pleased me while reading are those moments when I can anticipate the events in one of the girl’s stories because of some hints or foreshadowing from the other girl’s timeline. There are lots of times that I called beforehand what’s going to happen and when they do actually happen, it feels good, like I am a Seer or an Oracle or something.

Although both girls have their own depth and likable characteristics, I cannot say that I was able to deeply care for any of them. I am not saying that I did not enjoy the book, because I did. I assume that this is exactly where the author placed the readers: close enough to see but not near enough to be totally involved. Narrated in third person point of view, my reading experience was like that of a removed omniscient observer. In Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, Jake the Dog is friends with a powerful character called Prismo. In one episode, they both watch an alternate reality of Finn and Jake on a screen while eating pickles in a hot tub. I think my experience in reading Everything That Makes You is a little like that -- hanging out laidback with a cosmic level being, watching two alternate realities of the same girl -- and I relished every bit of it.
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