Title: My Best Everything
Author: Sarah Tomp
Release Date: March 3
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
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? (Source: Goodreads)
Lulu needs a way out of town, especially now that her Dad can’t afford to send her to college. She turns to local deadbeat, Mason, for help. Her plan: set up a moonshine still and sell moonshine locally to earn the money for college. Her plan certainly seems to work, but the effects, emotionally, on all those involved are unexpected and unaccounted for. This book, written like a letter to Mason, recounts the summer that Lulu, Mason, Roni, and Bucky spent making moonshine and changing their futures.
Well that was unexpected. I had no idea what I was going into when I read this book. There are lots of books about redneck teens, and teens trying to escape small towns, but there aren’t many about redneck teens trying to escape by selling moonshine. This plot was wonderfully unexpected and interesting and so beyond anything I could ever have imagined. I couldn’t look away from this book. I was so sure everything would go wrong I was racked with anxiety and love for the characters. I was in no way prepared for what this book gave me, and it was something really beautiful.
The plot of this book is so unique and unexpected. I can honestly say I’ve never encountered a book about distilling moonshine before. This book really sets itself apart in part because the plot is so unusual. I don’t think you’ll ever read anything like this book. Yes, as I’ve said there are lots of small town/redneck teen stories (there are lots of really amazing ones) but none of them are even remotely like this one. This book is slow building and never really assaults you with feelings. There’s this simmering anxiety throughout the book that bubbles up all this warmth and love for the characters. There’s so much that could go wrong for all 4 of these teens you start to really worry for them. My desire to scoop them all up and hold them to me and fix the world for them was so strong I was frustrated. These feelings are never right there in your face though, it all builds up slowly and you don’t even notice it until you’re at the final page crying a little and wanting so badly to go back and feel it all again. So yeah, I didn’t really expect this book to make me feel the things that I did, but it did and it was amazing.
I love Lulu. Above everyone else I want to protect her and take care of her. Her mother has anxiety problems that prevent her from leaving the house, her dad is always working, and her brother’s at school. She’s kind of alone in the world, relying only on her best friends Roni and Bucky. She’s desperate to get out of the town that’s suffocating her, which is what compels her to do all of these things that normally would feel so stupid. Sometimes I couldn’t see eye to eye with her, which is why I couldn’t give this book more stars I think, but it really worked into her personality well. She’s practically driven mad with desperation, which makes her easier to relate with. I don’t think I loved Mason but I loved Mason with Lulu. I bought into their love story and rooted for them. I don’t think that I swooned for him, but I swooned on Lulu’s behalf a couple of times. I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s how it felt to me. Mason is this twisted ball of complicated past and future and I really felt for him and wanted to fix him up even when it was impossible. Tomp created some really complex characters and worked with them so well, it impressed me so much.
This book is written like a letter from Lulu to Mason. So “you” is Mason for the entire book, which is something you have to keep in mind. I’ve not read many books written like this so it was a little unusual, but it was really well done. I think Tomp’s style of writing was part of what caught me so off guard in this book. It’s not highly emotional writing, which is why everything about this book kind of sneaks up on you. Tomp really caught me off guard with this style and the way she formed her story. It was really unique and I loved it so much. This book was hard to put down, in part because of its unusual qualities, but also because its so smooth and well written.
I really loved this book. The characters are interesting, well written, and so complex. The story is unique and unexpected. All in all this book is really fantastic and I highly recommend it. I’ll definitely be picking up a copy of this after it releases.