Book Review: Everything Leads to You – Nina LaCour


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
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

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.

But also.

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.

24 thoughts on “Book Review: Everything Leads to You – Nina LaCour

  1. Great review, Reg! I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while now. It sounds really good. It’s a shame the romance wasn’t entirely believable (I’m not into the whole fate thing either), but it’s great that the MC is confident in her sexuality. The film stuff sounds really cool too!


    • I suppose it was ~believable~ enough – like it’s not too far-fetched for someone to think the way Emi does… it’s just not the way I think so it was hard to put myself in her shoes on that front. The film stuff is definitely the coolest, though! 😁


  2. This is a great review Reg! I’ve seen some mixed reviews for this book but recently I’ve been seeing more positive ones so I may have to add it to my to-read list and check it out for myself.
    I like the fact that the book shows Emi as being confident in her sexuality already, kind of a different take on books that feature LGBT+ characters. Although I’m not sure about the fate aspect between her and Ava. Was it similar to insta-love do you think or was their relationship more developed than that?
    Either way maybe when i have a quiet afternoon with nothing else to read Ill pick up this book myself, it seems like the perfect read for a lazy weekend day! 😀


    • Hmm, I’d say that it does feel a little bit insta-lovey at first, but it developed into something deeper – I can’t say that that aspect of their relationship bothered me. 😛

      I’ll recommend it, though. Despite my reservations about it, I think it was a good read. The characters are likeable and I loved how passionate Emi was about her career. I hope you enjoy it if/when you get to check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I guess that’s not too bad then. I don’t really like insta-love books where it never develops past insta-love. Also if it didn’t bother you it can’t have been that bad. 🙂
        In that case I will definitely add it to my to-read list, hopefully I’ll be able to get around to it soon. I am steadily working my way through the YA contemporary books on my to-read list. 😀


  3. I’m intrigued to read how Nina LaCour catches readers up on Emi’s sexuality right in the beginning, and how she and Ava find out they’re on the same page. From what you’ve said, it sounds like must do a great job of seamlessly and naturally introducing these things, which would be lovely to read and learn from as a writer too. I can definitely relate to your criticisms, though. I would probably dislike those exact same factors. Lovely review Reg!


  4. I wasn’t made aware that the focus would just be on the romantic relationship rather than the coming out part, which is a nice change actually! And also really nice to see that this is a feel good novel, because I need more of those in my life.

    To be honest, I wasn’t interested in this novel because I didn’t care for the behind the scenes of movies or set design, but I think I will definitely change my mind after picking this up.


    • It’s definitely a refreshing change! Like it’s about time LGBT books get more themes than just “coming out” (although that in itself is also very important and still worth writing/reading about).

      I hope you do pick it up – it’s not super amazing or anything, but I really enjoyed it and it’s such a feel-good book.


  5. I saw this book at the library yesterday and after reading this review I must read it! I don’t read enough contemporary but I love ones that goes behind the scene and get into the details of different profession. The love story here also sound very sweet. Thanks for the thorough review ❤


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