My Best Everything

My Best Everything
Author(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
March 03, 2015
ISBN
0316324787
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You say it was all meant to be. You and me. The way we met. Our secrets in the woods. Even the way it all exploded. It was simply a matter of fate. Maybe if you were here to tell me again, to explain it one more time, then maybe I wouldn’t feel so uncertain. But I’m going back to the beginning on my own. To see what happened and why. Luisa “Lulu” Mendez has just finished her final year of high school in a small Virginia town, determined to move on and leave her job at the local junkyard behind. So when her father loses her college tuition money, Lulu needs a new ticket out. Desperate for funds, she cooks up the (definitely illegal) plan to make and sell moonshine with her friends, Roni and Bucky. Quickly realizing they’re out of their depth, Lulu turns to Mason: a local boy who’s always seemed like a dead end. As Mason guides Lulu through the secret world of moonshine, it looks like her plan might actually work. But can she leave town before she loses everything – including her heart? The summer walks the line between toxic and intoxicating. My Best Everything is Lulu’s letter to Mason – though is it an apology, a good-bye, or a love letter?

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Moonshine!
(Updated: May 09, 2015)
Overall rating
 
3.0
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“That’s the thing about Dale. You are what you are, what everyone thinks you are. Forever.”

This book, hands down, absolutely represents what it is like to be from a small town. (Especially a small town in the South).

And that’s why I related to this book so much. I know what it’s like to be stuck in a town and feel like you will never leave. Growing up in a town that both shaped who you are and traps you into thinking you need to stay.

It’s why I kept reading. Just to see if Lulu makes it out.

My Best Everything is a book that takes some time to get going. But once it gets going, it’s hard to put down.

Lulu, in an attempt to raise money for college tuition (has this girl never heard of FAFSA!?!), plans to make and sell moonshine. (I can’t help but wonder how people would have taken this book if she was growing marijuana).

And that premise hooked me, along with the Sarah Dessen like cover and country setting. I was eager to see what My Best Everything had in store.

The writing style is a letter. Lulu’s letter to Mason after everything happens. It’s a retelling of events, and it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to get used to while reading. But if you can get the flow of it, the writing is beautiful. I marked many quotes that spoke to me and a few things that made me laugh.

“Buzz cuts remind me of the darkest corners of Dale. The rickety old shacks down by the river. The places where cousins get shot in the living room for eating the last Oreo…”

YA’LL, I work in one of those small towns (I still haven’t left, you see). More importantly, I work for the sheriff’s office. STUFF LIKE THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENS! And yes, 9 times out of 10, someone is sporting a Buzz cut.

I loved the relationship between all the characters. (Once again, I was reminded of a Sarah Dessen novel. Which isn’t a bad thing considering that she is my favorite). They made me laugh and cry. They actually go through will life problems. Real decisions. Real outcomes. (I did not like her father. He was a jerk).

My Best Everything is going to take some patience. But if you want a cute story with a new and interesting premise, you’ll be happy you stuck around.

For fans of Sarah Dessen, obviously!
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3.3
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Entertaining
Overall rating
 
3.3
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Luisa “Lulu” Mendez has just graduated high school and plans on going off to university, never looking back at the school town she grew up in. Then her father loses her tuition money and it looks like she’ll be stuck. Lulu refuses to give up on her dream and, along with her friends Bucky and Roni, comes up with the idea to make and sell moonshine. It won’t be easy so they enlist the help of Mason, a local boy who’s family is in the moonshine business. It looks like the plan is going to work but can they get the money they need before they get caught?

This book ended up being a fast and fun read. It took a few chapters to get used to the writing style, a futuristic Lulu writing a letter to Mason to explain her thoughts on all that had happened and her feelings. It gave the book a mysterious feel as to why she was writing the letter. Was she apologizing? Was she saying goodbye? Was he actually reading it? Was she planning on mailing it? So many questions.

Lulu was a character who was very book smart but naive about life and could be pretty judgmental of her town and the people who chose to stay. She had a lot to learn. The writing style made Lulu’s growth feel very unique, as it was an older, more mature Lulu looking back and writing about that summer. I also thought her downward spiral was believable. Even though Lulu was the main character, I would say the character who showed the most growth in the book was Roni. Originally believing that she would settle down with Bucky, start a family, be the type of girl Lulu looked down on, she was content with her future. But then her dreams changed and she showed vulnerability and longing and a willingness to fight for what she wanted. And it was great that she managed to do that without turning into someone who began looking down at the people who stayed in their hometown. I do wish there had been more done with Bucky. He was pretty much Roni’s boyfriend who was throwing his life away by wanting a future with her, in Lulu’s eyes at least. Mason, Lulu’s eventual love interest, was a bit of a mystery. He wasn’t too willing to talk about himself or his family. He was trying to put his life together and Lulu kept pushing him closer to the edge. I liked that the writing style made it feel like older Lulu had realized this fact and seemed apologetic as she recounted the story.

It was really two separate stories woven together. One was about teenagers growing up, learning about life, friendships possibly drifting apart, getting ready to start the next part of their lives. That part I really liked. The second was the whole moonshine business and I found that one less believable. Even with someone on their side who knew the business, it didn’t seem likely to Mason would be able to teach them how to make moonshine and set up contacts so easily. It seemed a little too easy for them until danger started setting in closer to the end.

Overall, I enjoyed this story more for the characters and the unique writing style than I did for the main plot of the moonshine business. It was fast paced, especially the end, and I found I couldn’t put it down because I just had know why why Lulu was writing to Mason.
Good Points
1. The letter writing style
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