Title: Everything Leads to You (2014)
Author: Nina LaCour
Publisher: Dutton Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Extent: 312 pages
Release Date: May 15, 2014
A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.
Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.
The moment I started reading Everything Leads to You, I knew it was going to be an enjoyable book. We’ve got a protagonist called Emi who’s a really passionate set designer, and a love interest called Ava, who comes into Emi’s life in an unexpected way. The plot revolves mostly around three things: Emi’s romantic relationships, the movie she is working on, and Ava’s past.
This novel is full of really likeable, engaging characters who bounce of one another wonderfully. Emi was smart and ambitious but sweet and sometimes a little uncertain of herself. Charlotte, her best friend, must be one of the best best friends I’ve ever had the pleasure to read about in YA fiction — so utterly supportive and understanding — and possibly my favourite character in the whole book. Emi’s family made an appearance, too, and they’re simply adorable.
Perhaps my least favourite, surprisingly, is Ava, Emi’s love interest. She struck me as a bit Manic Pixie Dream Girl-ish — Emi constantly thought about how beautiful she was, how special and how mysterious, and admittedly after a while it got old. I didn’t dislike Ava, but she didn’t really capture my interest until we were shown her vulnerability, which in my opinion happened at almost the very end.
“She was never something waiting to be solved. All she is — all she’s ever been — is a person trying to live a life.”
Now, I’ll be honest: I don’t really believe in fate or the whole ‘meant to be’ thing in real life, and the way Emi believed that everything had a meaning (i.e. in leading her to Ava) didn’t sit 100% right with me, so I had a lot of trouble relating to her on that front. I thought she had a very romanticised view of Ava, and while I could quite easily divorce my perspective from her own, it did mean that I didn’t believe in their relationship as much as Emi, in particular, did.
That aside, this romance is somewhat refreshing in that Emi is already sure about her sexuality. There was no meandering about, no worries about coming out — the people who knew her knew she was a lesbian and accepted it without question, and the way she and Ava expressed their interest in each other was natural, even cute. I might not believe that this romance would last them forever, but even I could see that they were very sweet together.
Yet for me, the best aspect of Everything Leads to You was the details that LaCour had slipped in about what goes behind the scenes at a filming. It was really, really interesting to get a glimpse on how a movie sets is designed and the amount of work it involves — I love how devoted Emi was to her passion and how hard she worked, and how we, from her eyes, got to learn a thing or two as well. I’ll be keeping my eyes open wide(r) whenever I watch a movie, that’s for sure!
“We love films because they make us feel something. They speak to our desires, which are never small. They allow us to escape and to dream and to gaze into eyes that are impossibly beautiful and huge. They fill us with longing.
They tell us to remember; they remind us of life. Remember, they say, how much it hurts to have your heart broken. Remember about death and suffering and the complexities of living. Remember what it is like to love someone. Remember how it is to be loved. Remember what you feel in this moment. Remember this.”
Overall, Everything Leads to You is light-hearted, sweet, and very much a feel-good novel. There was nothing groundbreaking here, nothing completely mind-blowing, nothing that makes it a definite must-read, but I really enjoyed it.