Book Review: Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour
Sometimes I read a book and I am enchanted by the most interesting things. This is the case for me while reading Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. But first things first.
A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still.
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.
Although this is a GLBTQ title, it is not a coming out story. When we first meet our main character, Emi, she is already in an established albeit tumultuous relationship. It’s the type of relationship that gives on again and off again far too many ons and offs. It is so important that we have these kind of stories to go along with the coming out stories. Young adult readers need to have representation beyond the coming out story; they need to read stories that explore relationship dynamics. Teens need to read stories about basic relationships struggles like communication, jealousy, etc., and they need to read breaking up stories as well. A person’s story doesn’t end when they come out. Relationships can be a messy business and we see that in a variety of ways in Everything Leads to You. There are endings and beginnings. There are communication struggles. There is jealousy and questions of worth. And there are those glorious moments when you think that’s it, I have found the person I am meant to be with and your heart soars with joy and that feeling of being home. For more on why this is important please read I Am Not My Coming Out Story.
Emi has an awesome best friend. I am always a fan of good female friendships and this is high on my list of favorites. I love that she has decided that she hates Morgan, as any good best friend would given the ringer that she puts Emi through, but that she still tries to be supportive. I hope my girls grow up to have friends like this.
Emi has a really awesome family dynamic, including a cool older brother with whom she is pretty close. I always give bonus points for family inclusiveness.
There is a mystery that leads to a little quest. This quest is important because it leads to Ava. Ava has none of the things that Emi has had and everything about Ava seems to be a challenge. Watching this relationship build is the real heart of the story. Emi grows and learns so much about herself as she tries to navigate the world of Ava, and she learns how different other lives can be. Emi moves from a place of privilege to a real understanding of what a life without so many of the things she has had can be. And for us Joss Whedon fans, it’s a real reminder that in the end, family is who we choose to love and surround ourselves with.
Ava herself really struggles with so many things. But she also comes to a place where she can find peace with her past and the courage and inner strength to choose to move forward.
I love that Emi has this unconventional job as a set designer (something I have never really read before) and how we see so much behind the scenes movie action through this job. I love how Emi talks about the fantasy world of magic and how learning to much can strip that away. I love the passion she has for her job and the confidence she has in herself related to this aspect of her life. This part of the story fascinated and enchanted me.
The writing was beautiful. The story was interesting. The characters were so very well developed. Everything about this book was really well done. And it just appeared on the Best Fiction for Young Adults list of nominees. Highly recommended. Everything Leads to You received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly.
Now out from Dutton. ISBN: 9780525425885
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
SLJ Blog Network