My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 3, 2015
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Synopsis: 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?
Sarah Tomp’s My Best Everything hit me in the feels. For Tomp and My Best Everything, I had to let my feelings settle and relax. I had to fully embrace all the emotions that overtook me. I related in a way that surprised me.
My Best Everything follows the life of Luisa Mendez, affectionately Lulu. Lulu has dreams and aspirations to be something more than what’s available in her small Virginia town. She has goals to get out-of-town and escape to San Diego, where she’ll attend school and become a researcher to develop cures. She counts her days until the unthinkable happens. Her father no longer has the ability to pay her tuition money.
I connected with Lulu as she tried to escape her life. It wasn’t unrealistic to read about a young woman trying to escape her life. Especially in a town that doesn’t seem to be progressing, or with an ill mother and an unsupportive father, and especially when her own parents instilled that education is the key to leave her small town. Life feels like the world is against Lulu. Does this seem familiar to you?
Lulu is a character that represents many young girls. I often felt like I was alone, trapped in a world that I didn’t belong in and in a community didn’t understand me. Lulu was real. She was a high school girl whose antics and stubborness got in the way of everything. Her own thoughts betrayed her and meddled with her moral compass. But in the end, her tenacity brought her to where she wanted to be. She wasn’t weak or a pushover. Lulu did what she felt she had to do.
My Best Everything has an interesting view-point. Told in second-person, Lulu retells her tales to Mason, a boy in a very similar situation. There were a few moments when I felt confused, but only because I wasn’t used to the narrative style. Lulu’s “letters” to Mason showed a vulnerable side to the story, never slowing down the momentum or take away from the emotions meant. I felt it added to the reality and raw pain of everything.
I enjoyed Lulu’s story, best described as a coming-of-age scenario. Lulu and My Best Everything had many topics that aren’t readily addressed in plain view. While I live in a world of fictional worlds, it’s nice to know that there are stories like this one that tell us plainly how things can really be.