The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir
Published: June 12, 2018
Format: audiobook via Overdrive
Esther Ann Hicks--Essie--is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She's grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family's fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie's mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show's producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia's? Or do they try to arrange a marriage--and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media--through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell--Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom?
The Book of Essie centers around Essie and her family who have a reality TV show and every part of their lives have been documented but when Essie discovers she is pregnant her family tries to cover it up so that their family “business” isn’t ruined. So what is Essie to do but use this to out an even bigger secret that will no doubt answer questions about her older sister’s absence from the family but also break her family apart. Her family tries to cover up her situation by faking a relationship and marriage to save face. Several things are going on throughout the book: we have Essie and her fake fiancée Roarke who has his own secrets, we have family secrets that are soon to be revealed and we have the matter of why Essie’s sister suddenly disappeared and doesn’t want anything to do with her family.
With all of these things going on I was drawn in and was dying to find out how this read was going to end but once it was over I felt a huge letdown. I like the story but when the big reveal was told I felt like we could’ve had even more of this storyline told. This was the big payoff but with all the other things going on the one thing I felt was the better story wasn’t explored to its fullest. I definitely thought this could’ve been told better and I was so disappointed we didn’t get more out of it.
I truly felt this book had a huge potential of being great but maybe it just had so many things going on that we were cheated with the outcome when the novel finally came to an end. I felt that if it had focused on one thing that it could’ve been amazing. While I had my differences with this read it was still a good read. It was entertaining and definitely had some good plot points. This was a middle of the road read that just fell a little flat for me.