Review: Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

Everything That Makes YouEverything That Makes You by Moriah McStay
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books on March 17, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss
Book Details
Rating: ★★★

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 started out being really excited for Everything That Makes You. The split story was really interesting and felt very Pivot Point-esque. The author shows you how Fiona’s life plays out in two different ways: one way with her accident and scarred face, and another way had the accident never happened. It was very cool to see how the two lives differed, but also how they were similar in some ways.

But sadly, I thought the book went slowly downhill from there. I think it began when I realized how long of a time period the book spanned. Two years went by in less than 50% of the book! At this point I started to ask myself, Where is this story heading? I felt like I didn’t have any kind of road map. I had no idea where the plot was going or what it was moving towards. There was no goal and no end point in sight. This made Everything That Makes You feel more like a “day in the life” than a book with an actual conflict and climax. I just couldn’t find the overarching point to the book.

Even when it sort of came into light at the end, I was still left thinking, “Was that it?” It just seemed like we got a preview from like 3 years of two peoples’ lives. Those previews didn’t necessarily have a clear beginning, middle, climax, and end. It was just a random segment and showed the reader what happened in that point of time.

And to make matters worse, there’s one character who had a very significant role in both Fiona and Fi’s stories, but he was part of that super quick “2 year jump” part of the plot. I feel like I didn’t get to know him very well since he wasn’t in the book a ton, but even after he was gone he still had a significant impact. View Spoiler »

The book was still pretty good and I enjoyed watching the lives pan out. I just wish that there was something MORE there. I still feel like I’m missing some kind of fundamental point to the story, and as a result I don’t feel like I connected with it as well as I could have. I would have liked to see more structure and a clearer overarching story/conflict. I wanted to know where the book was heading instead of feeling like it was aimlessly carrying on.

The Verdict


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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. I totally understand what you’re saying about this one! I felt like it was very character driven which I am usually against. In this case, I ended up really enjoying this one! I agree with you about the time. It didn’t really make sense – I was like “what is the overall point?” but I still found it interesting because of how different the two streams were. Also, I had feels so that helped!

    Great review, Ashley.

    Nova @ Out of Time recently posted: 3xA MA: 2015 Opening Post
  2. I don’t know. I just finished this the other day. I know I wasn’t in love with it, either. I just feel like I loved the first half of Fiona’s story and I liked the second half of Fi’s story, but I still wasn’t in love with it as a whole. I didn’t see the point of it and I when it was over, I felt like you did. But mine was more of a “Huh, meh.”

    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books recently posted: Magnolia (Review)

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