Published by Dutton Books on May 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, LGBT
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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.
It’s not often I rate a contemporary 5 stars, but Everything Leads To You deserves every accolade. As a completely enchanting, elegant exploration of movie making in LA, it’s a story of hope, a young starlet and a designer, artistic passion and love that only grows when you give it a chance.
The novel starts off with a mystery, where Emi and her best friend Charlotte stumble upon a movie star’s inheritance letter, which leads them to Ava, a budding starlet who just wants to know who her parents are. There’s a mystery and magic surrounding Ava, she’s a muse who is a blood relative to fame, and Emi just wants to know her.
“She’s the perfect person to be cast into this life: so beautiful and kind, so sad beneath all of that charm.”
Unlike other LGBT books, Everything Leads to You is not purely about Emi’s sexuality. Liking other girls is something that she’s comfortable with and is a part of her. She doesn’t need to be shouting it from the rooftops or even broadcasting it to everyone she knows, she just lets it happen. This is how I think LGBT and diversity should be done – it’s just a part of the story, but not the ONLY part of the story.
Emi’s romantic journey is tumultuous, as she learns to figure out what love she deserves. I loved how the romance was for all the right reasons, how Ava and Emi appreciated each other for who they were not who they wanted them to be or because it was convenient. It’s such a tentative journey, with both girls needing to work through their own lives but discovering parts of each other they loved.
“When you love someone, you are sure. You don’t need time to decide. You don’t say stop and start over and over, like you’re playing some kind of sport. You know the immensity of what you have and you protect it.”
Emi’s role as an intern designer on a movie set was a fascinating part of the novel – it’s not often we learn about how movie sets are put together. Emi puts her heart and soul into her job, and her passion, talent and pride for her work shows. This dedication and focus was incredibly inspiring, especially when she had to struggle against real life career setbacks, such as limited budget, no pay and your boss not liking your ideas. But, the lessons she learns along the way and her pure dedication helps her spread her wings and succeed, which is something we can all learn from.
I loved the wonderful, supportive friendship between Emi and Charlotte as well. No matter what, they had each other’s backs, whether it was to do with career, romance, the mystery or their friendship. These girls know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and by standing together could they withstand any obstacle.
“She was never something waiting to be solved. All she is – all she’s ever been – is a person trying to live a life.”
Everything That Leads To You is one of my favourite LGBT contemporaries that I’ve ever read. I loved that magical, enchanting exploration into LA’s movie making industry, the mystery around Ava and the beautiful message of hope, passion and love by friends, family and others.
Rating: 5 out of 5