My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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?
Everything That Makes You splits it’s narrative into two concurrent timelines – that of Fiona, with the scar and Fi, without the scar. What sets this book apart from similar books is that the timeline being further and longer from the original event that determined the split, the character develops quite differently. It’s similar to Just Like Fate, but goes extensively into how Fiona is shaped by her circumstances. Her life choices, her relationships, her reactions – everything differ so much, even though at the core, she is the same girl – slightly self-absorbed, but good at heart. At first, Fi is irritating because she is everything that Fiona should have been yet she appears to be so careless about others. Fiona is reserved, but lashes out at people who love her because she thinks she sees pity in their eyes. How these different girls go about their lives is the crux of the story.
The writing is good, and provides ample descriptions and tells a great story without really telling it. The underlying theme, is what if something had happened or not happened, how would that change you? We are, after all, a sum of our experiences, so how does nurture, or our environment, affect what we are fundamentally. It was an interesting take on this philosophy and I loved how the book presented it. The ending is happy on both counts, but don’t run parallel. Both of them have their own set of hardships, and this isn’t about who is better or whose life turned out better – it is more on how we are shaped by our life.
Received a galley from Katherine Teagen Books via Edelweiss.