Everything Leads to You
by Nina LaCour
Original Publication Date: May 15, 2014
Length:304 pages pages
Obtained Via: Library
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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.
If you asked me to describe Everything Leads to You in one word, I’d pick nice. This is a nice story. It takes some cool themes and runs with them, it has a really interesting take in the movies, and the romance is mostly light, a refreshing take on a YA book with a LGBT character. Nice, however, is not really an amazing word. I appreciated the lightness of the story, but not the easiness of it. Everything in Everything Leads to You just seemed so effortless. I can’t say it’s entirely with out conflict but Emi learns her “lessons” in a coming of age tale in a very straightforward way. Even with the mystery, none of it felt messy enough to me. I think stories can still be light and fun and have a bit of the messiness of real life in them, but Everything Leads to You was lacking in this way.
The best thing in Everything Leads to You was how passionate Emi was about film. I always love a character with passion and talent, and seeing what set designing meant to Emi made me appreciate spaces more. Seeing everything to her eyes, the kind of moods she wanted to create, was nothing short of phenomenal. Even when I thought the story was too tidy, I continued on for this reason alone. It’s a bit unrealistic to think that Emi would have so much involvement with a movie at her age and experience, but that didn’t really affect my enjoyment or the story. I think Everything Leads to You made it quite clear that Emi was talented enough to know what she was doing for the most part, even if she did make some mistakes(and frankly, if she hadn’t made mistakes, I think *that* would put it outside the lines of believability for me).
It’s this passion for film that leads to the mystery part of Everything Leads to You. Emi and her best friend discover a letter with instructions from a deceased film star’s house. They decide to follow it, and end up being thrown into the lives of certain people–including Ava.
While I did think most of the plot of Everything Leads to You was too cut-and-dry(while trying so hard not to be), I really appreciated that Ava did not exist as a stand-in love interest. Emi has this realization at one point too–Ava does not exist as a mystery. Her life has not happened in a vacuum, and the girl’s been through some things. Ava has her own flaws and ambitions and past. Emi’s realization of this is really the height of her character growth, and it’s an important lesson to learn.
While unrealistic and a bit too linear in terms of character growth and emotional development for my liking, I enjoyed Everything Leads to You overall. There are some areas I would have liked to see explored and developed more, but I did appreciate the lightness of the tone and Ava and Emi’s characters. 3/5 cupcakes.