Read this if you're in the mood for: realistic contemporary YA, character development, parallel universes, character-driven, unlikeable protagonist
Summary: 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.
Read this if you like:
Sliding Doors (1998)
Ok, I'm dating myself with this movie reference, but it's perfect! EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU is about a single moment changing the path of your life and the choices you make, showing parallel stories. SLIDING DOORS is based on the same concept — whether or not the main character makes or misses the subway, and the consequences that follow.
WHAT'S LEFT OF ME, Kat Zhang
Sure, it's a alternate-reality dystopian, but the basic concept is that all babies are born with two souls — one dominant, one recessive. The similar-yet-notably-different personalities of Eva and Addie remind me of the Fi/Fiona dynamic.
The Rec: Beyond my default interest in the what-if scenario of the book, what really makes this rec-worthy is how Doyle weaves in the same general cast of characters in both Fiona's and Fi's life, but the characters have considerably different roles in each version. Though Fi/Fiona are the same person at their core, it's amazing how their outlook and choices vary. I spent the second half of the novel wondering about how Doyle would end their stories, and without being spoiler-y, I have to say that I was very happy with her decisions!
The Caveat: This is not a plot-driven novel, and both Fi and Fiona can be downright unlikeable at times, but those factors didn't deter me in the least. The book moves along at a good pace, and you want to keep reading because you're intrigued by Fi and Fiona and want to discover the choices they will make and where they'll end up.
You should read this because: If you love character-driven stories and wonder about the what-ifs of life and how your life might have turned out differently if [insert event here] hadn't happened, EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU is what you should be reading!
Recommendation by: Donna