Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour Review: Films, LA & LGBT

August 5, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Books, Reviews

Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour Review: Films, LA & LGBTEverything Leads To You by Nina LaCour
Published by Dutton Books on May 15, 2014
Source: Borrowed
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.”

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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

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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63 responses to “Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour Review: Films, LA & LGBT

  1. randanicole

    I don't think I've read any LGBT contemporaries yet, but this sounds like a good one to start with! I may have to look into giving it a try 🙂
    My recent post Recommend Away!

  2. Oh wow, this sounds so good! I have heard a lot of good things about it, but somehow completely missed the memo about the Hollywood stuff (I know, I know, it is IN the synopsis, but I don't ever read those 😉 ) I love that there's a strong friendship aspect, and also that the LGBT theme is handled so well- I agree that these are SO important. Like, yes, books where the characters are discovering their sexuality are important, but so too are books where it's just normal! Fabulous review, Jeann! I definitely need to get my hands on this one!
    My recent post This Week At Midnight (73)

  3. This book sounds beautiful! I love the fact that it has an LGBT romance but still doesn't make a huge fuss about it. Also I adore the setting of the movie making industry. I am a huge movie lover – I would've totally ended up as a film major if I didn't love Lit as much as I do.
    I really want to read this book now!
    Wonderful review Jeanne!:)
    My recent post LITHW #6 : Let's discuss about discussion posts

  4. I've been meaning to read this book since it first came out. Partly because of the fact that the main charater is completely open with her sexualilty and the book is more than just about her sexuality, but also because, as a film student, the idea of reading a book about a character into set designing completely amazes me. I'm glad this one worked for you Jeann!
    My recent post Made You Up: Review

  5. This sounds so incredibly lovely Jeann, more leaning towards that sweet and loving friendship romance. '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.' THIS. I think more often than not, authors create storylines around 'diversity' rather than it being just another aspect of the storyline. The premise reminds me a little of the Abbi Glines Seabreeze series for some reason, but only much more engaging. It sounds absolutely lovely and that cover is gorgeous as well. Fabulous review Jeann, looking forward to picking up a copy <3
    My recent post Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson

    • It was so lovely Kelly, I really loved it and the friendship was really great. Everyone's commented about that part of the review, which is good because this is why the book stands out for me.

  6. Oooh, I like what you said about Emi's sexuality – this is a part of the story, but not the only part of the story. This reminds me of The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow. The MC there is a lesbian (or a bi) but it wasn't something that was the focus. In fact, it was never a focus at all, and was even shown only later on. I love it that way, I think, when they are seen as a person like everybody else, not as a "Gay person" but as a person. Of course, books about one being gay are also important, but it's nice to have books like this, too! I'll keep an eye on this one when I visit the bookstore next time! 😀
    My recent post Discussion: Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson – I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THIS

    • I totally agree! oooh I have Scorpion Rules on my shelves but haven't checked it out yet. It's definitely an important issue to address, but sometimes the MC has a life you know? lol

  7. I AM SO HAPPY YOU LOVED THIS. I've heard SO MANY good things about it and I've wanted to read it forever!

    "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."- I totally agree with this but also, I feel like there are many teens who struggle with their sexuality because we still live in a world where being straight is norm. We are progressing and I can only hope we will some day get to the point where straight will no longer be the norm 🙂

    Beautiful review, Jeann! 🙂 I am going to try to get my hands on this one soon and move it up my (GIGANTIC) tbr! 🙂
    My recent post Discussion: Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson – I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THIS

  8. Ohhhh another LGBT to binge read! Honestly, I'm so in love with these books lately because they always seem so much more raw and well-developed you know?

    Loving how she's comfortable with her sexuality btw! Totally agree that's how shit should be done. It's nice to read about LGBT relationships as you would any other, without all the family drama about being gay becoming a massive part of the story. It's very overdone.

    I can't remember – have you read Black Iris? if not you TOTALLY need to!

    • Yesss these ones are so wonderful – I seem to prefer LGBT ones to straight romances for some reason o.O Exactly, I totally agree! I really tire of those big dramatic gay books (David Levithan, *cough*). Yup, Black Iris is on my TBR this month!

  9. All I was thinking about the fact when you mentioned that the LGBT aspect wasn't ONLY what the book was about I wanted to read this book. Another book, Ari and Dante which I LOVED for the same reasons because it was just so beautiful in every aspect omg. <3 Lovely review, Jeann <3
    My recent post Catatonic || Beautiful People

    • YESSS I loved Ari & Dante, definitely one of my favourite LGBT books as well! I think you'd like this one then.

  10. nellieandco

    Wow, big words for this book indeed! I've rather been keeping an eye out for this novel lately and it's hard to find for little £££'s, but after reading your review, it's a book I definitely need to find sooner, it sounds so fabulous and executed beautifully.
    My recent post Blogger Love | Awesome Posts That Rocked Last July

    • Oh man, I wish it was easy for me to pick up here but I haven't seen it around other than the library. Hope you do check it out Joy!

  11. aentee @ read at midnight

    I love how much the book seems to focus on the protagonist's career, it's not often I see that. I love when LGBT characters aren't defined by their sexuality, that's the way it is IRL and htat's the way it should be in fiction. Plus that cover is amazing, I am still swooning over the typography.
    My recent post Top Ten Tuesday: Fairy Tale Retellings

  12. Vane J.

    I haven't read a good LGBT book in a long time, and I can't believe I haven't read this one, since many people have praised it. Glad you liked it – now I am even more sure about reading it.
    My recent post My Life In 10 Books

  13. Lisa @ Lost in Lit

    I was just thinking about this book the other day. I came across it on Goodreads and was wondering how I missed it last year. It sounds so good! I'm happy to see how much you enjoyed it as well. I really need to get a copy. 🙂

  14. booksbonesbuffy

    I'm so excited to read this! I have a copy even so it shouldn't be hard to squeeze in. Although I don't really review contemporary on my blog, I may make an exception for this one:-)

  15. allbookishhere

    I totally agree about the whole 'LGBT diversity' thing. I love reading books where it's not the main focus and it's portrayed as something normal and accepted.

  16. danielleisbusyreading

    This sounds like such a lovely book, Jeann! Thank you for the rec! And that cover is just so pretty. I love that the MC's sexuality is just part of the story, rather than being the focal point.
    Great review!