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REVIEW:  Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

REVIEW: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

everything-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

My regards,
Jia

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Thursday News: Tess Gerristen sues over Gravity, new Octavia Butler stories published, Cover Contest begins, and amazing “pop-top” dress

Thursday News: Tess Gerristen sues over Gravity, new Octavia Butler stories...

Tess Gerritsen sues over Gravity – So in 1999, Tess Gerritsen sold the rights to her book, Gravity, to New Line Productions, but the movie never got off the ground. However, in adapting the book into a screenplay, Gerritsen claims she added material that was not in the book, but that DID end up in the film, including the idea of the woman dangling in space. However, Gerritsen was not credited for the movie, nor did she get a piece of the profits. In response, Warner Brothers pointed to a statement in which Gerritsen claimed the movie was “not based on [her] book.”

Gerritsen claims while she tried to make her book into a screenplay she wrote new material … scenes that included a space station being demolished by debris and the female astronaut drifting untethered through space. –TMZ

Early Octavia Butler stories coming out in June – Fans of Octavia Butler’s wonderful books should be excited by the fact that two previously unpublished stories are coming to market next month (June). Butler, who died in 2006, wrote these works early in her career, and Walter Mosely has written an introduction to the two-story volume. According to Mosley, the stories pre-figure Butler’s later works, in which she contemplated issues such as the construction of race and gender, the insider/outsider dynamic, and colonialism. As a black woman, Butler challenged the SF/F author status quo, and was finally inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2010.

Butler’s literary agent, Merrilee Heifetz, found the stories, written in the early 1970s, among the author’s papers at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. According to Open Road, “A Necessary Being” tells of how the leaders of two ancient tribes “must broker a delicate peace to ensure that their peoples are to survive.” In “Childfinder,” a young woman “locates children with budding psionic powers and teaches them to protect themselves from society.” –Washington Post

2013 Cover Contest – From now until May 21st, you can vote for (hopefully) your favorite covers. Although there have been some changes to the categories (see below), the contest is still largely the same. This year’s is dedicated to Karen Wheless, who died last July from cancer, and who headed up the “Contemporary” and “Worst Cover” categories for the contest.

This year we’ve combined a few categories and divided covers into Historical (before 1980) or Contemporary (after 1980) based on the time frame of the story inside. We have also added an outside of the box category, Avant Garde. This category is for terrific covers that do not meet our romance guidelines, covers that offer a unique design outside the current cover trends, or covers that take a trend and give it a unique twist. It is a difficult category to pigeon hole and that’s precisely what we are looking for, covers outside the “box”. –Cover Cafe

Short on money, Palmdale teen crafts a soda can prom dress – This is just such a bittersweet story. 19-year-old Brie Fainblit and her boyfriend do not have much money. And by “not much,” I mean, they have not even been able to afford to go to prom. But this year, James worked to earn the money for tickets, while Brie worked on making her own dress – from soda tabs. Check out the pictures and the chronicle of the dress’s creation.

For months, Brie’s aunt, Sylvia Davalos, has asked everyone at her jobs to help. She has put out jars at the 10th Street Wal-Mart, where she floats between departments, and at a local elementary school, where she works a few hours a day as a playground supervisor and instructional assistant.
Brie, her boyfriend and assorted friends and family have turned the dining-room table into an assembly line — threading together neon tabs from energy drinks and beers to make what they call “note to self” bracelets. They are thank-yous for donations, but also reminders to keep the tabs coming until the prom project’s done. –Los Angeles Times