About the Book

Title: My Best Everything
Published: 2015
Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Cover Story: When the Moon Hits Your Eye
BFF Charm: Usher
Talky Talk: Dear Mason
Bonus Factors: Breaking Bad, Alcohol, Faith, Friendship
Relationship Status: Summer Fling

Cover Story: When the Moon Hits Your Eye

The charcoal-like quality of this cover feels rustically on fleek for this country setting. The title typeface is a bit cutesy and twee for the story, but it sure makes the cover stand out. 

The Deal:

Lulu Mendez has just finished high school, and she’s one summer away from leaving her small Virginia town for the biochem program at the University of San Diego. So when her dad loses her tuition money, Lulu needs a way to make some fast cash. And making moonshine can be a highly lucrative career — lucrative enough for Lulu and her friends to start the lives they’ve always wanted. Once they recruit Mason, who comes from a family of moonshiners, to show them the ropes, the money starts flowing in and Lulu’s dreams are back within reach. But how long can Lulu keep this up before getting caught — or worse? 

BFF Charm: Usher

BFF charm with a :-| face

Lulu, you remind me of a girl that I once knew. And that’s no fault of yours; you can’t help what kind of book baggage I have. You being a smart, small town, ‘good’ girl whose college hopes are endangered the summer after high school makes me think of Skylar from I’ll Meet You There. Obvs, the two of you handle your financial predicaments v. differently, which helps set you apart from Sky. There’s enough room in my heart for tons of book BFFs, but the similarities of your situations kept me unintentionally thinking of and comparing you to someone else.

I do think turning to moonshinery a tad extreme, so I probs wouldn’t be one of the friends joining you in this endeavour. Then again, people take extreme measures when their backs are against the wall. (Also and obvs, there’d be a completely different story if Lulu didn’t go down that route.)

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Mason’s a total mysterious loner dude with a wild and tragic past, and he risks the newfound stability in his life by being involved in Lulu’s scheme. As the two of them work together, they grow closer and sparks ensue. Although, Lulu — what is so wrong with buzz cuts like the one Mason sports?!? There are much worse hairstyles for YA love interests, TRUST (cough, MarcusFlutieDreads).

Talky Talk: Dear Mason

The entire story is composed as a (longgg) letter from Lulu to Mason, capturing her memories with the wisdom of hindsight. It’s a neat storytelling technique peppered with wistful foreshadowing. The plot really ramps up near the end in a way that’s simultaneously a dramatic shift and a natural progression; the stakes were always present, but they didn’t feel as real until the danger was, too. Which, in itself, is another type of realism: that false sense of security when you’re in over your head but still feeling in control, until you aren’t and everything comes crashing down. 

Bonus Factor: Breaking Bad

I likened the plot to Breaking Bad back in February’s TBR video, but I had no idea how fitting that actually was. One of the characters mentions making moonshine being more favourable than making meth, and Lulu’s even into chemistry like Walt. But unlike Heisenberg, Lulu’s science-y smarts don’t really factor into her product, and her life of crime doesn’t turn her into a complete a-hole. (But desperate to the point of danger and recklessness? Yes.) And she makes out with her smarter version of Jesse.*

*I don’t doubt Walt/Jesse slashfic exists. Google tells me I’m not wrong.

Bonus Factor: Alcohol

A pint glass on a bar countertop

It’s no secret that we at FYA enjoy imbibing the occasional drink or five. But it’s important to do so safely and in moderation — to consume alcohol without letting it consume you. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everybody, and the depictions of alcoholism are harrowing. 

Bonus Factor: Faith

Hands pressed together in prayer

Lulu and her family are some of the few Catholics in town. She regularly attends Mass, and she def. has tons of material for the confessional with her new enterprise. (Not that she confesses those sins, but doing so isn’t far from her mind.) Religion is a huge part of Lulu’s and many peoples’ lives, so it’s nice to have that reflected in a non-preachy, matter-of-fact way in YA. 

Bonus Factor: Friendship

Group of friends having drinks at the night club party

Roni is Lulu’s bestie, and these two are just as at ease cracking jokes or dispensing #RealTalk with each other. 

Relationship Status: Summer Fling

Book, I had fun spending my summer in Virginia with you, camping under the stars and tubing down rapids. While making super illegal moonshine, yes, but camping and tubing nonetheless. I may have some side-eye reservations about the moonshine biz, but I’m still fascinated by the glimpse into this world that this book gave me. 

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Little, Brown. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). My Best Everything is available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she’s been overseeing all things FYA Book Club since 2013.