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How to Lose Everything: A Mostly True Story

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  106 ratings  ·  36 reviews
One summer, an incredible discovery gives Jonathan and his three closest friends many things they so desperately want – but at what cost?

Jonathan, Sam, Schulz, and Eric usually spend their summers hanging out at the park, skateboarding and dreaming about the days when they’ll finally move out of the suburbs. But one summer, the four teenagers find a small fortune hidden in
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 23rd 2013 by Zest Books (first published November 1st 2011)
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3.17  · 
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 ·  106 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Maryam Ahmed
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
"How to Lose Everything" by Philipp Mattheis, was a gripping book to read. The book gets right to the main part of the story, it doesn't waste time in getting to the point. And it keeps on making me want to read more and more. The book does leave me with .a couple questions that still have yet to be answered. The book does contain a bit mild language, but I do think anyone who enjoys a good mystery novel and a bit of adventure would throughly enjoy the book.
Victoria Waddle
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it

Sam, Eric, Schulz, and Jonathan are four friends living in a surburb of Munich, Germany. They mostly hang out at the skateboard park, a group of lost boys, adrift. Eric, who has been kicked out of school, and then out of his house, leads the pack.

One day the foursome decide to break into an abandoned house. Though the experience is pretty creepy, they keep returning—because each time they do, they find more money, hidden in many place all over the house. In short order, they are pretty rich for
Pamela (slytherpuff)
Review originally posted at Bettering Me Up.

This coming-of-age novel is like nothing I've read before. Due to the fact that it's based on a true story, I couldn't decide if I wanted it to be more memoir-ish or more fictitious. I don't mean that in a negative way. It's simply the fact that it scares the bejeezus out of me that much of what's in this book actually happened. And I don't know which parts!

How to Lose Everything will appeal to teenage boys. I think this would be a great book for paren
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brielle Lueck
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book, How to Lose Everything: A Mostly True Story, was written by Philipp Mattheis about his sort of true experience living in Germany around the 1990’s with his friends. He changed the names and different attributes of all the characters so no one would be included when they did not want to be. He set the story up with a main character based off himself whose name was Jonathan. Jonathan had three close friends named Eric, Sam, and Schultz. They loved to hang out, party, and skateboard. One ...more
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't love this book. I thought it dragged in some points in the story and did not really have an ending. However it is based on true events so, therefore, maybe it doesn't have a satisfying ending. I just think it is really sad to see teenager's lives falling apart because of money, sex, and drugs. Not only do the character's lives fall apart, but they also hurt people in doing so. Although it dragged in parts, it really represented the things that effect and harm many lives today. Greed can ...more
Liam McAvoy
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really like the fact that this is based on a true story. I think it adds another element to the story if it is mostly true because it really made me think about what the 4 kids are doing now, and how finding all the money impacted their future(not finished yet). I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to most people.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
That is one way to lose everything. I kept thinking where are their parents? Who is responsible for these kids. I know it is a semi true book, but what a bunch of degenerate brats, stealing money from a house, trashing the place- and all they bought was drugs and liquor. #notaspoiler
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Sam, Eric, Schulz, and Jonathan lived in a suburban area of Munich, Germany in 1994. For the most part, they lived their lives sort of like drifters. Not interested in school, they spent their time hanging out at the skateboard park, smoking, or playing video games. However, their uneventful lives suddenly changed when they decided to break into an abandoned house. What they found was cash, lots and lots of cash. Now stacked with cash, the group had unlocked an entire new world of possibilities ...more
Jun 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: summer-theme
Ok... so I really liked reading this book, however there were some things that disappointed and frustrated me. So first the good:

1. Good pacing, the book flowed very well, and it was easy to stay engaged.

2. Excellent foreshadowing, the author gave you just enough to get you curious. The two foreshadowing paragraphs in the beginning of the novel stick with you throughout the entire book. I simply could not stop reading until I figured out what he meant by those mysterious cryptic sentences! It wa
Jul 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Really more of a 2.5 star rating for this quick read about four German teenagers who find (and keep) money in an abandoned house and the impact it has on their friendships, relationships, and mental health during that summer. The story is narrated by Jonathan, one of the four boys, and is written as a reflection many years after the events that took place. Through his eyes we witness the ever-present ennui of teenagers and how it is impacted by the discovery of the money. Being teenagers, the ch ...more
Cindy Hudson
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jonathan, Sam, Schulz and Eric are doing what they normally do in summer, hanging out at the skate park, smoking, drinking and talking about sex. But when they hear about an abandoned house not far from their neighborhood in a suburb of Munich, they decide to investigate. While exploring the house they discover hidden money, lots of it. What they do with it will change all of their lives in ways they couldn’t imagine.

How to Lose Everything: A Mostly True Story by Philipp Mattheis is a young adul
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Although I can’t really relate to any of the characters, I’ve never found a massive amount of money just sitting in an abandoned house when I was fifteen, unless you count the twenty bucks I found when I was eight while walking down the street, at the time THAT felt pretty massive. Anyway, back to my review.
I have never been to Munich, and this book did not make me feel like I needed an inner book map to understand where they were going when they traveled, which wasn
Lorca Damon
Jun 06, 2013 rated it liked it

If ever there was a "guy book," this is it. I can easily envision heated conversations between people where the female readers are declaring it the most morbid, disjointed book they've ever read and the male readers are countering that it is the most incredible, realistic piece of literature of their day.

The book follows four German teenaged friends during one summer of their lives. Wedged between the marijuana-induced antics and rhetoric of these friends is an adventure in which they find a sma
Moze (SmartFolksRead)
Real rating: 3.5 stars
I found after reading this book that I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I feel that male readers would probably have enjoyed it a bit more simply because they could more easily relate to the characters and the things they were experiencing. The book follows four German, male best friends during one summer of their teenage years in which they find a good bit of money and the effect the money has on them, both good and bad. There are also snippets of the story in which the narrat
Mar 24, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is very strange, not something I would normally read, but once I got into it I couldn't put it down. 4 teens that live in a poor neighborhood and don't care about school come across an abandoned house. They go in there and find envelopes full of money throughout the house. One of the teens, Jonathan, writes the story from his viewpoint. He struggles with using the money because he found notes in the house from 2 women that used to live there. He sees his friends blowing the money on be ...more
World of Ink Network
Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I felt this was an urban coming-of-age novel. It touches on many topics and themes teens are exposed to in inner city and surrounding areas. Even though these teens start off in the book going down a dangerous path, each choice draws them deeper into the darkness. At the end of the book, I felt there was still some lessons to be learned and not all of the teens were ready to learn them. It did make me walk away thinking and pondering my choices as a teen and how a different decision could have l ...more
May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked this book, despite it not being my typical book. I thought the character description was just fine for what the book was trying to portray. I like how it really is losing everything. How things just change and fall apart so easily. How nothing is ever rock solid. It actually made me feel hurt because it's happened to me. Now, not the smoking and drinking part. But having people go their own ways, that's always hard. Then being the nice one and it seems like nothing goes right and you don ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
It's a very disturbing, yet true story, about what happens to youth when they "chance upon" money...
Lot of drugs, alcohol, sex - which is normal at that age.

However, it left you wanting to know more.
More about what they did post "all the events" in their "rehab" phase - what each one thought, how they dealt with their emotions, and their lives.
Since it's a true story, would have wanted to know a wee bit more about how they moved on, if at all.

3.5 for me.
Was expecting a little more from this book
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book. Set in 1990’s Germany it was different than other books. There wasn’t much happening but yet there was so much happening, if that makes sense. Even those the characters are very much unlike me, I can still relate to them in ways. I would recommend this to people but I don’t think it would be a very good book to read for school because there is a lot of drinking, drugs, etc.
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book was SO INCREDIBLY STUPID. 1. The characters all made bad choices, were unintelligent, and very difficult to like. 2. there was no real story. All these kids did was run around, get high, get drunk, and find money to PAY for getting high and drunk more often.

Sorry. I'm sure some people thought this book was great. But the characters annoyed me, the writing was nothing special, and the story was absolutely pointless.
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Ive been reading this book for about a month. It was okay at first, but then the author just seemed to abandon the plot completely and focus mainly on using every variation of "weed" and "joint" he could think of. I have about 80 pages left, but I don't think I can put up with this book any longer.
Jonathan H.
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Incredible mostly-true story about four teens who find a lot of cash in an old abandoned house. As they go about buying anything they want, things being to unravel. It's a devastating story, but I couldn't put it down.
Jeannie X
Mar 20, 2016 rated it liked it
When I first read the tittle of this book I never thought that the way they lost everything was going to be how they actually lost was interesting and the story relates to them feeling regrets and guilt (which reminds me of the literary analysis that I had to write about.)
Taylor Troncin
May 28, 2013 marked it as pre-2016-to-read-list
I keep seeing this book on different sites. I had entered the giveaway but sadly did not win a copy. I have read some negative reviews, but it sounds like the kind of book I would be interested in nonetheless. I might have to check this out from the library sometime!
Laura Brennan
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya
This was basically a rehashing of the author's drug use in his younger days. I didn't find any of the characters likable, which is especially a bummer because this was based on a true story. I am not sure who this was written for.
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It was an interesting read.
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book on a goodreads giveaway. It was an interesting read that shows the consequences of the choices you make as a youth.
Ms. Yingling
Got off to a slow start, then dropped the f-bomb. Will pass for my middle school library, even though it has skateboarding.
Beth Baryon
Jan 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Dark. Four teenage boys in Munich find a huge amount of money. One dies, one goes crazy, one goes to jail, and one tells the story. It's very sad and very realistic.
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Philipp Mattheis is a journalist and author of three books. He was born outside of Munich, studied philosophy and journalism, and now lives in Shanghai where he is the China correspondent of the German BusinessWeek. Formerly editor of the largest daily newspaper in Germany, he also writes for other publications, including Neon, Geo, and GQ.