How to Lose Everything review by Gwendolyn
How to Lose Everything: A Mostly True Story (True Stories)
by Philip Mattheis
Age Range - 12 and up
Genre - Fiction

LitPick Review

Age at time of review - 15
Reviewer's Location - Canoga Park, California, United States
View Gwendolyn's profile

Jonathan, Sam, Shulz, and Eric are four adrift and rebellious friends living in the suburbs of Munich, Germany. In the summer of 1994, the teenagers break into an old abandoned house and find envelopes filled with  money hidden throughout the house. What seemed to be a miracle soon results in several spooky and illegal incidents that trap these boys in a treacherous and gruesome downward spiral.


How To Lose Everything by Philipp Mattheis was an interesting read. The beginning immediately captured my attention and the story isn’t like anything that I have ever read before. It was well written and featured a perspective that I’m still not sure if I like, but was definitely unique. How To Lose Everything felt muddy and blurred, filled with stressful drug and alcohol ridden events. Based on a true-to-life experience that the author had as a teen, Mattheis’ writing appears blunt, truthful, and shockingly realistic. The events in this novel follow the four teenagers as they each separately react to their newly acquired fortune. I think that what strikes me the most about their story is not necessarily the characters, or even their plot line, but watching how each one individually was impacted once they stole the money. None of these boys have a strong sense of ethical behaviour from the start of the book, and the newly discovered fortune seems to add to their steep downhill slide. Each boy was affected differently, some more tragically than others. The characters weren’t meant to be likeable and that made the book realistic though not necessarily attractive. It was definitely interesting story. The book ended somewhat abruptly. I felt that there was no main conclusion to many of the happenings. However, the main protagonist, Jonathan, seemed to achieve a fresh start from these eerie events and found a new sense of purpose. It was an intriguing read but not one that I feel a need to experience more than once. How To Lose Everything by Philipp Mattheis is a curious, virulent, and ominous book.

Content Rating:

Content rating - mature content

Explain your content rating: 

The main theme of this book involves drug consumption, drug dealing, alcohol consumption, teen partying, and other illegal activities. Some rude language is used throughout as well.

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