Wednesday, 8 February 2017

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

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman was also released under the title Everything You Want Me To Be in the US. The author compares herself to Agatha Christie in this regard stating "If she can do it, why can't I?" 
I think both titles fit the narrative but to be honest, I wouldn't pick the US title off the shelf on first glance, it seems a bit too Nicholas Sparks. The UK title though, paired with the clearly Midwestern image on the cover screams 'Small Town Mystery', and I am all about those. I love when everybody knows everybody but there are hidden secrets all over the show. But I digress.

The story is about 18 year old Hattie Hoffman who is found murdered in a barn after the opening night of her school play,  of which she is the lead role. Hattie boasts to herself of being able to play the part that anyone wants her to be - the loving daughter, the typical, teenager, the country girl. When all she wants is to run to New York and start a new life. She has a plan. When Hattie meets and falls for a fellow literary lover online who turns out to be her married English teacher, she begins down a treacherous path that sends her life into a tailspin and ends with her death.

The story is told in three perspectives - Hattie, Peter (her English teacher) and Del, the local sheriff. The perspectives give a good overview of the events and each chapter reveals more of the story. As with all good murder-mysteries, there is a good twist at the end and I even said to Dave when I was only a couple of chapters from finishing that I still wasn't sure who her killer was. There are only ever a few options so Mejia did well keeping the secret until then. The story is not overly gory which is nice for a change, and the characters, especially Hattie, show so many emotions and evolve during the story.

I disliked Hattie as a character but it is like watching a trainwreck - you can't look away. Although she is self-assured, stubborn, brazen and above-it-all, she throws in all her cards for the relationship she wants. The rationales that come from Peter and Hattie are both crazy but believable and after an emotional tug of war I almost ended up rooting for them. The way the story makes you question your morals stays with you after the book is finished.

I really enjoyed this book, I pretty much read it in one sitting and stayed up late to finish it - both signs of a great read. Go and grab yourself a copy of this book, you won't regret it.

Thanks to Hachette for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I was thinking about downloading this. Now that ive read your review I absolutely will!!

  2. Might have to give it a go. Reminds me very much of another book I read recently.


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