Book Review: The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia


Everyone thought they knew Hattie Hoffman. When she was murdered, they found out just how wrong they were.

About the Book

Publisher’s description: Seventeen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress, loved by everyone in her Minnesotan hometown. So when she’s found stabbed to death on the opening night of her school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of the community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a good friend of Hattie’s dad, vows to find her killer, but the investigation yields more secrets than answers; it turns out Hattie played as many parts offstage as on. Told from three perspectives: Del’s, Hattie’s high school English teacher and Hattie herself, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman tells the story of the real Hattie, and what happened that final year of school when she dreamed of leaving her small town behind . . .

My Review (spoiler free)

The first and most important lesson in acting is to read your audience. Know what they want you to be and give it to them.”

Hattie has ambitions to be an actress and leave behind her small-town upbringing for life in the big city. She’s so used to acting a part that she has begun to believe she can control everyone around her; that she can see how everything will unfold, as if in a play. The trouble is the other people involved don’t know they’re just characters in her play; they don’t know it’s not for real. It’s what has caused her to end up dead.

Told from the perspective of three different characters, including Hattie herself, the reader gradually learns more about the events leading up to Hattie’s death and, eventually, the reason she was murdered. As the novel progresses, the unintended consequences of Hattie’s manipulations become apparent to the reader, in a way they were not to Hattie, providing a number of plausible possible suspects for her murder. The reveal at the end brings the story to a satisfying conclusion. Personally, I didn’t feel that Hattie came across as purely manipulative but rather as a needy person, seeking approbation and acceptance by others and feeling the only way she can achieve this is by being whatever they want or need her to be – perfect daughter, perfect girlfriend, perfect student. In this way, her premature death becomes extra sad.

This is a really well-written, satisfying psychological thriller (originally published as Everything You Want Me To Be).

I received an advance reader copy courtesy of NetGalley and publishers, Quercus Books, in return for an honest review.

Book facts: 352 pages, publication date 9th March 2017

My rating: 5 (out of 5)

In three words: Suspenseful, satisfying, enthralling

Try something similar…Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan

To buy a copy of The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman, click here

mindyAbout the Author

Mindy Mejia is a Minnesota author whose debut novel, The Dragon Keeper, was published by Ashland Creek Press in 2012. Besides the occasional book review or blog entry, Mindy focuses on the novel and she writes what she likes to read: contemporary, plot-driven books that deliver both entertainment and substance.  Author Website

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