REVIEW: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
Dear Ms. LaCour,
I’ve been on a contemporary kick lately. Something to distract me from my speculative fiction funk, I guess. I haven’t read any of your previous novels but after Everything Leads To You, I think I’ll be tracking them down.
Emi Price is a high school senior who lives in L.A. Her older brother is a location scout and through him, she was able to land an internship as a set designer. But this isn’t really nepotism — Emi is talented. Young, sure, but talented at what she does.
Unfortunately, her love life is a disaster. Her girlfriend just broke up with her for the sixth (yes, sixth) time and Emi knows it’s only a matter of time before Morgan comes back around and charms her way back into Emi’s life. Thankfully, something pops up into her life that provides a welcome distraction.
When she goes to the estate sale of a deceased American Western movie icon, she discovers a letter tucked into an old record. That letter sends her on a quest, leading her to the movie icon’s daughter (also deceased) and from there, to the man’s granddaughter, Ava.
How great is it to read a contemporary YA romance about lesbians, without making it about coming out or being angsty about it. There’s nothing wrong with those types of books. We definitely need them but I also think it’s good to have other kinds of stories too, ones in which the teen lesbians have already come to terms with their sexuality and the people who surround them are totally okay with it. Emi’s love of girls is a complete non-issue and I love that.
I really liked Emi’s passion. It’s different — being a set designer. It’s like being an artist but not in the traditional way in which we think about it: painting, sculpting, drawing. Following along Emi’s quest to make the perfect set, I felt like I got a glimpse into what it’s like to put together the perfect room, all the little details that capture a time and place and evoke a mood in a movie. I think back to all the movies I’ve watched, from summer blockbuster to indie arthouse, and feel exhausted, thinking about all the work that went into putting those kitchens together!
Emi falling in love with Ava was inevitable, I think. But I like that it was tempered by Emi’s past relationship with Morgan. Morgan was Emi’s first place and she held on to that for longer than she should have, always taking her back even when Morgan didn’t love Emi the same way (or at all) that Emi loved her. The last thing she should be doing is jumping headfirst into another relationship, especially with someone whose life is about to take a complete 180. On the other hand, maybe this is one of life’s little mysteries and maybe she should anyway!
I thought Everything was a love letter to movies. If you love movies and the making of movies, I definitely think you should pick this book up. But I also think it’s a book about not waiting for the perfect moment like in a movie because life is not a movie and that perfect cinematic moment may never come. Sometimes you only get the one chance.
I really liked this book. I wasn’t sure what to think of it in the beginning but halfway through I fell in and couldn’t come up for air. Three cheers for heroines with unusual jobs that they’re passionate about. I hope other contemporaries about queer teens where being queer is a non-issue become a thing. (I don’t think they should replace all the coming out stories but I want to believe both types of stoties can co-exist in harmony.) For now, I’m going to look for your other books! B