Everything Leads To You

RATING: 5/5 stars.

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.

This book did not disappoint in any way. I think that because Emi was such a solid and interesting main character, that laid the groundwork for a fantastic book. It was just so well-written: the way that Nina LaCour wrote from a teenage girl’s perspective was not at all immature, and managed to be reflective and funny and relatable and a bit erratic – which makes sense to me for this particular 18-year-old.

Emi may have just graduated high school in the course of this book, but she is not wheat you’d expect out of a freshly-released-from-high-school girl. She is a genius when it comes to her chosen work, she is homosexual, she is level-headed and grounded despite growing up in a family that always provided for her emotionally & financially, etc, and she is constantly struggling to understand the people around her, herself, and how to make her future work. She isn’t a character to do things on a whim – she’s incredibly thoughtful and constantly concerned. And I love all of these things about her. This story doesn’t have much “action” in it – that is to say that not much “happens” that’s super big. It’s about a lot of smaller things constantly happening that steamroll and end up making Emi wonder what exactly life IS. And because this is such an introspective book, you HAVE to have a main character who keeps you interested without doing some crazy stunt work (so to speak). An Emi succeeds in this.

I cold gush about Emi for days, but I’ll try to move on lol. Her best friend, Charlotte, is rad as hell too. She a best friend that makes sense – has her own personality and interests, understands Emi with just looks, always honest, never fails to roll with Emi and support her. Charlotte and Emi’s relationship is the one that does not change in any way throughout the book – which is cool considering how easily it could because Charlotte is moving across the country shortly.

Now for Ava. Ohhhh Ava. She was ALMOST a cliche manic-pixie-dream girl. But I think Nina LaCour gave her so much development and we learn so much about Ava that the mysteriousness of her fades away, and she becomes a solid, real, multi-layered person. Emi realizes this in the book too. At first she fantasizes about Ava and their relationship. But as they find out more about her history, she comes to see Ava as a real person, and not a character in a movie. And finding out about her past and her mom and stuff kept me turning the pages! It added some action to the book. But yeah, I liked Ava. She had a tragic backstory and was very much flawed, but still a wonderful character.

I also really like the movie theme in this book. At first I thought it was going to be boring and kind of a cop-out to have the book be SO about movies and working in LA and working in the movie industry, but while reading it I found myself just thinking how cool it was that they all were so very involved in that stuff! And it makes them all like a family and know each other better: Emi, Ava, Charlotte, Morgan, Emi’s boyfriend, and the filmmakers on Emi’s new film. They all are connected and yeah… i dunno I just thought it was sweet lol. The book wasn’t so obsessed with the movie industry that it was overwhelming – it was just enough to make everything move and connect.

And I just HAVE to talk about Emi’s sexuality. She’s a real person who is not a caricature of someone in the LGBT community. She is not a butch lesbian or unsure about her sexuality in any way. She likes who she likes (which sometimes is boys apparently because there’s just “something about” certain boys?) and it’s not a big deal. And that means everything I think. IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL THAT SHE’S GAY. She is a freaking regular person. Ahhhh so good.

This book was real, felt completely unmanufactured (which was impressive considering it was about making movies), and perfectly talked about people understanding each other and learning how not grand life can be sometimes – and how that’s very okay for it not to be grand. It’s an unconventional, well-written romance, and one about a girl learning just what real life romance means. So good! I RECOMMEND TO EVERYONE EVER.

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