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How to Lose Everything: A Mostly True Story

Review

How to Lose Everything: A Mostly True Story

It’s the summer of 1994 in a gray and uneventful Munich suburb, but for four friends, everything is about to change. They have just made a startling discovery: cash, and lots of it, in the abandoned house they’ve broken into. For Jonathan, Sam, Schultz and Eric, life was lacking color. They spent their time skateboarding, smoking and playing video games, but now they find themselves entrenched in a different world; one where nothing is outside their reach. But money changes people, the desire for money even more so. These friends are about to find out just how dangerous that world can be. Drawing from his own experiences, Philipp Mattheis keeps the plot of HOW TO LOSE EVERYTHING fast-paced and real, effectively bringing readers into the swift rise and even swifter fall of his characters.

"Drawing from his own experiences, Philipp Mattheis keeps the plot of HOW TO LOSE EVERYTHING fast-paced and real, effectively bringing readers into the swift rise and even swifter fall of his characters."

Keeping this secret begins to eat away at each of the boys differently. The sometimes confident, sometimes arrogant Eric decides to invest his money in what he thinks is a lucrative venture: drugs. Shultz feels he has something to prove, not only to himself, but to his girlfriend, who wants nothing to do with the stolen money but everything to do with what that money can buy. All Sam wants is to spend his portion of the cash on pizza and liquor and to not stutter when he talks, but that all changes when he discovers something in the basement of the abandoned house. Jonathan, the narrator, also takes an interest in the house. He tries to piece together the story of the two sisters who lived there and finds that some things are better left buried.

Mattheis takes the classic ‘loss of innocence’ concept and spins it in a way that is both captivating and tragic. The characters he creates are unique, and for the reader, it is fascinating to watch each of their journeys through the eyes of Jonathan, who also adds significant insight to the plot. The book begins with two of the friends meeting again, years later, and seemingly gives away the fate of the other two boys. However, this knowledge peaks your curiosity as a reader, not diminishes it. Though the climax of this book doesn’t occur until nearly the end, there is enough tension between the characters to keep readers entertained throughout. HOW TO LOSE EVERYTHING was a quick and provocative read that will give readers a chance to reflect on how quickly you can really lose everything. 

Reviewed by Kate Sidlowski on July 26, 2013

How to Lose Everything: A Mostly True Story
by Philipp Mattheis

  • Publication Date: July 23, 2013
  • Genres: Adventure
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zest Books
  • ISBN-10: 1936976404
  • ISBN-13: 9781936976409