Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release: May 15, 2014
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.Everything Leads to You is the book I have been waiting for.
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.
YA offers a plethora of LGBT books about characters coming out, dealing with discrimination from family and friends, or facing their differences in plot-defining ways. I adore these stories—I adore feeling roaring rage toward characters who oppress the protagonists, and although I cannot sympathize, I adore empathizing. However, despite the importance of these novels, I long ago began to yearn for a tale in which a character's nontraditional sexuality is not a huge deal, but simply a part of his or her character.
After ages of wishing, Everything Leads to You finally came along. Nina LaCour's third novel tells a gorgeous love story that builds slowly, tests the characters, and happens to feature two females. LaCour writes the relationship between Emi and Ava as naturally as another author would write a relationship between a boy and a girl, creating a refreshing romance that had my heart from page one.
Because LaCour does not emphasize societal distain for Emi and Ava's relationship, she leaves plenty of space to elaborate on other topics, such as Ava's backstory. The letter Emi finds sets of a chain of events that not only leads Emi to Ava, but leads Ava to information about her past. This plotline gives the story an air of mystery that will keep readers hooked, but it also adds something even more important to the story. Ava's enigmatic history seems like something out of a movie, giving her a larger-than-life image that sometimes seems to overtake her real personality. Emi has to struggle to remember that Ava is more than the tragedies in her past, that it is a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person. This internal conflict strengthens the two characters' relationship and gives the story a message that will stay with readers long after they finish reading.
LaCour accents this plot line with plenty of moviemaking details and film references, giving Emi ambitions as a set designer that perfectly complement the book's message. As a member of the film industry, Emi deals daily with the differences between people's real personalities and their onscreen personas, referencing "the collapse of the fantasy," the moment at which it hits her that an actor is merely a person, not the characters he plays onscreen. Emi experiences something similar with Ava, but on a far more emotional level. Watching Emi's disquisitive feelings about actors evolve against her passionate feelings about Ava emphasizes the emotions between the two characters. To Emi, Ava is worth a million talented actors, and as LaCour proves this fact, she makes the characters' relationship progressively more powerful.
In the tradition of John Green's Paper Towns, Nina LaCour has crafted a brilliant novel about the way we view the people around us. Complete with unconventional but unflinching romance and filmmaking details that make me want to watch a movie and analyze every aspect, Everything Leads to You has it all. Reading this book was love at first sight.