Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay is a nicely written debut novel. It’s a ‘what-if’ novel. In alternating chapter sections you have Fiona whose face was disfigured by burning oil as a child, Fiona the good student, Fiona the would be singer/songwriter contrasted with the cute Fiona, the athlete, the middling student, the going steady with Marcus Fiona.
Everything That Makes You takes you from Fiona’s junior year in high school through to the end of her freshman year at college. The disfigured Fiona’s chapter sections are entitled Fiona while the cute athletic Fiona’s sections are entitled Fi. One would think that when you’re young and cute and athletic, you’ve got the world on a string. You’d be carefree, self confident, flirty and more. But McStay points out that regardless of physical attributes and abilities, everyone has his/her own set of insecurities.
Clearly Fiona is not the only person affected by her accident.Her brother Ryan, 10 months older, is a key player in Fiona’s life and the book.
Of course you know that somehow the lives of the Fionas intersect (not the Fionas themselves because they are not living in parallel universes but their friends and acquaintances), but I won’t tell you how.
McStay does a fine job of portraying an overly protective mother, one who doesn’t listen to her daughter, one who in an effort to forge the best makes her daughter feel incompetent and less. She also has a few secrets stored up as she gets closer to the end.
Everything That Makes You is an unusual twist on the ‘what-if’ scenario. It’s a fast read and once you start you won’t want to stop reading.