Sunday, May 18, 2014

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release: May 15, 2014
Source: PLA
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.
Everything Leads to You is the book I have been waiting for.

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.

9 comments:

  1. Yayaya I'm glad you liked it! I still have to get my hands on this one somehow. I'm afraid I would get bored of it though because I've been reading a lot of fantasy and action books. OH WELL worth a shot.

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  2. I am SO intrigued. First off, I'm loving that cover. Second, I love how she handles this "social stigma." So many books handle these social aspects as being the whole part of the book, but I love that this is just one element, incorporating other aspects and elements. I'm SO glad you liked it this much. I WANT NOW.

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  3. Wonderful review. I like the parallel between real life and fantasy in the relationship and on the film film. That's interesting. I also like when LGBT characters are portrayed as normally as any other other.

    -Lauren

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  4. Fantastic review Emily!!! I really enjoyed the part where you wrote...
    "After ages of wishing, Everything Leads to You finally came along. 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." ...
    That is amazing praise! I'm so happy that you loved this book and that an author delivered on your wish. Once again, lovely review!

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  5. I have read book reviews on this book and you have really written a good review. I want to read this book because I have only read LGTBQ books where their sexuality is the defining characteristic of the character. It would be refreshing to read a book where the love story is just that, a love story.

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  6. I feel totally out of it because I had no idea this one was LGBT, and I have a copy sitting on my end table right now. Now I'm even more excited to read it, plus with your review, I want to go pick it up right now.

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  7. YEAH! So glad you enjoyed it so much Emily! <3 I've heard nothing but great things about this, and am so excited to try it for myself! <3 I love the sound of the romance and characterization. I'm glad to hear the LGBT aspect was done realistically; as it seems whenever authors try to create characters who are LGBT, it ends up becoming stereotyped - so it's awesome that this one doesn't fall to that trap.

    I must ask you, I'm an actress myself, so I'm totally in for this one for the film aspect, so was the acting aspect simply used as a subplot or was it actually a recurring theme?

    Thanks so much for sharing, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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  8. I've been wondering if I should pick up Everything Leads to You or not, and it's definitely going on my TBR list now! The film aspects and how it handles Emi and Ava's relationship sound amazing. (Also: great review. You've got yourself a new follower!)

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