I’m sure you’ve read something that made you feel either uncomfortable or uneasy, that the entire book was setting the main character up for some horrible ending? For me, this was one of those books. I couldn’t read straight through, having to set it down every now and again. The foreshadowing was heavy and onerous, bulky and unwieldy as the hefty bags of sugar and corn that were used to make the story’s moonshine.
For that’s where this story is set: the world of moonshine. Lulu is beyond ready to escape the tiny town of Dale. She’s a great student and a “good girl” and has been accepted into college in far-away San Diego. Lulu has only one summer left in Dale, but her father, who has always encouraged her to broaden her horizons, has some awful news. Due to some bad investing, her college tuition is gone. She’s going to have to stay. Stay in Dale, stay at the junkyard where she works, stay home with her mother who can’t leave the house and her father who is traveling most of the time for his job.
She just can’t. Can’t give up her dreams, her plan, her exit.
So one day, when she realizes that she forgot to log in the arrival of a brand-new still at the junkyard/tow yard, she talks her best friend, Roni and Roni’s boyfriend into making money by “borrowing” the still and selling moonshine. They’ll make tons of money over one summer, and the money will give all of them the freedom to have the choices that they don’t have now. As luck would have it, the son of a long line of bootleggers gets into Lulu’s orbit, and he seems to be the missing piece to their enterprise. Lulu has made it clear to everyone that she’s leaving Dale forever, but she never counted on the intense feelings she has for the damaged Mason.
The story is written like a letter from Lulu to Mason. This ups the ante a bit, meaning, you don’t know if one of them is in jail, dead, on a bender or in rehab. It also adds to the ominous feeling that it won’t be a happy ending. As obvious (and stupid) as this sounds, however, you really have to read to the end to know how it ends. There aren’t any pages wasted at the close.
This is a story of second chances, of dreaming, of looking beyond. It is also about being OK where you are…even if it is only for the present.
My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp was published March 3, 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley.
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 14 and up
FYI: This book is about making moonshine and contains references to underage drinking, alcoholism, and sex.