Tuesday, May 13, 2014
ARC Review: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
Title: Everything Leads to You
Author: Nina LaCour
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: May 15th, 2014
Without a doubt, this is LaCour's best novel by far. While I've loved and taken away something different from every one of her books, I was still blown away by this which, believe me, is no easy task.
What I appreciate about LaCour's writing style, in general, is the fact that she never writes down to her audience. Instead of depicting young adults whose lives revolve around school, she imbibes each and every one of her protagonists which a passion. In Hold Still it was photography; in The Disenchantments it was music; in Everything Leads to You it's film. Growing up in California with a family thoroughly invested in the film industry, Emi has almost always knows she wants a career in the movies. Not as an actress or a director or even a writer, but as a set designer. Through Emi's eyes, LaCour brings to life the thrill, the frustrations, and the importance of shaping a film set. Frankly speaking, I sort of want to fly to Hollywood myself, now, and decorate a few sets of my own. Emi's passion bleeds through the page and I love this. It makes her such a real, three-dimensional character.
What's more, the film atmosphere of this entire story enables it to read much like a movie unfolding, scene-by-scene. Everything Leads to You isn't lacking in an action-filled and exciting plot line. Unlike LaCour's past novels, which have been primarily character-driven, introspective reads, her latest is a page-turning mystery (at first) which develops into a nail-biting romance. When Emi discovers a letter on set from a deceased, but legendary, actor she sets out, with the help of her best friend, to give it to its rightful owner. Emi tracks the recipient of this letter around town, eventually stumbling upon Ava, the grand-daughter of a famous Hollywood actor, and within moments, the course of her summer is changed. As Emi is offered a script to work on, she explores not only Ava's film talent--genetic--but also the secrets of Ava. With the backdrop of a film town, infused with characters thoroughly invested in movies, and with the additional inclusion of lines from Emi's new script, the setting of Everything Leads to You only adds to its story. LaCour has painted such a rich, vibrant atmosphere that it is impossible to look away; one must simply be content to be pulled into the tide.
LaCour's novels are all, in some way, shape, or form, about growth and Everything Leads to You is no exception. It's one of those books; you know, the novels where the protagonist discovers herself over the summer. It sounds incredibly cliched, but combined with LaCour's prose and command of characterization, it comes across as sophisticated and, most importantly, real. Emi, having just broken up with her on-again-off-again girlfriend yet again doesn't begin this novel in the best of places. Not only is she unable to leave her current relationship completely behind her, but she is also classically confident in her own capabilities in a manner only a teenager can possibly be. Over the course of the story, Emi grows to mature, if nothing else, admitting her faults and doing her best to rectify them. What's more, despite her sheltered and luxurious upbringing, at least compared to Ava's childhood which is riddled with far more economic struggles that Emi could imagine, Emi makes the effort to bridge that gap and understand not only Ava, but the world around her.
Lastly, I have to admit that the romance in this novel is simply to die-for. LaCour never emphasizes the fact that Emi and Ava like girls; it simply is. For once, I have to admit it's refreshing not to constantly re-hash the oppression homosexuals face and instead appreciate and enjoy a romance between two female characters. Even beyond that diverse aspect of the love story within these pages, though, LaCour goes above and beyond to create distinct, but powerful, secondary characters. Emi and Ava come from two completely different walks of life and are drawn together by their love for film, but the presence of these secondary characters helped to ground their romance to reality. With Emi and Ava, and their overblown enthusiasm for the scripts and sets in their lives, it is all too easy to fall into the fake, fleeting love story of Hollywood. Instead, LaCour uses her secondary characters as barriers between reality and fantasy, ensuring that Emi and Ava's path to one another is not half as easy as their first meeting. And, believe me, it's such a worthwhile romance.
Everything Leads to You completely be-spelled me under its atmospheric setting, not to mention the glimpses it provided into the script Emi and Ava were working on during the summer. LaCour's small details, ultimately, elevate her novels from fiction to reality, breaking those barriers until her characters feel like living, breathing humans. It's a gift and with her latest, she uses that gift to her fullest capability. Yet another stunning novel from LaCour; I don't think anyone is surprised by that, least of all, me.
Posted by Keertana at 12:00 AM
Labels: 4 Stars, ARC, Contemporary, Young Adult
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I was utterly flabbergasted by LaCour's debut, Hold Still. Although I was not impressed by The Disenchantments, I've been waiting to read Everything Leads to You. Set designing is one of my passion. By reading your review, I want to fly to Hollywood as well. I'm not sure if I would enjoy the romance between Emi and Ava, but definitely I'll be picking up this book for LaCour's beautiful writing. In my opinion, LaCour is a prolific writer. Lovely review, Keertana (:ReplyDelete
There really is something more to life than high school! I like that this author incorporates a richer life than that of just school into her characters. And BRAVO to the fact that she "never emphasizes the fact that Emi and Ava like girls; it simply is. " Because that's the way it should be. You like who you like. You are what you are. Fabulous.ReplyDelete
Oooo love the film aspect of this one Keertana! I actually majored in film and photography in college, I wanted to be an art director, so this will be a fun read for me I think. I haven't read anything by this author either, but clearly she's someone I don't want to miss out on! Thanks for the fantastic review:)ReplyDelete
I've seen iffy reviews for this one lately, but I absolutely love the way you make it sound. I'm so picky with my romances these days, too, so to hear you say that it's beautiful and to die for makes me move this right to the top of my review queue! Lovely review!ReplyDelete
Wow! This book sounds absolutely amazing, and I cannot wait to eventually get my hands on it. I love when the protagonist has a passion, and set design is most definitely a unique skill and something I've never seen before in any book I've read. And the romance sounds wonderful! Beautifully written, Keertana! :DReplyDelete
I still haven't read any of Nina LaCour's books. I was tempted with The Disenchantments, but just haven't gotten around to it. But this one sounds so gorgeous. I love staging, I used to do the windows in the chain of gift shops I worked in.ReplyDelete
I don't suppose it matters which of her novels I start with, but with a "to die for" romance, I think I'll pick this one. I've been waiting for your review!! You always make me want to read everything you review.
Aww...this is such a lovely review Keertana! <3 The writing sounds absolutely gorgeous writing and I'm all for some great character growth and a swoon-worthy romance.ReplyDelete
As an actress myself, I'm really interested in reading this one. Would you mind me asking if film / theatre is a big part of the book or it just kind of in the background?
Thanks so much for sharing and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf
I haven't actually read anything by this author. I think I need to change that. I like that the romance is handled so well!ReplyDelete
I love how your reviews are descriptive but spoiler free! You write so well!ReplyDelete
I have been seeing this book around recently. I haven't read anything by this author but the cover of the book is drawing me in plus it has such different aspects of film and designing. I really should check it out.
This book sounds lovely, Keertana. I love Nina's fearless depiction of her characters; she's very candid, and most of the time, unapologetic. I'm drawn to this book simply because of the LGBT theme that, oddly, is seemingly downplayed.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad that the fact the the main character like girls is something that just is. I like seeing LGBT themes in books, but I do sometimes get tired when that is the sole focus, and things are presented in an issue-book type manner. This sounds so refreshing and definitely like something that I'd love to read. I think I might make it my first LaCour book. :) Great review, Keertana!ReplyDelete
Iiiiiiiii . Every lacour book is on my wish list . I really should get her books . Lovely review ,keertanaReplyDelete
I have GOT to read a novel by this author! I love that kind of growth even if it is clichéd. I also love the sound of the romance. It just sounds beautiful!ReplyDelete
It sounds like it's time for me to finally read something by LaCour! I feel like I've vaguely heard of her first two books, but the more I read about her most recent one, the more interested I become. That's so cool that the protagonist not only has a passion in film, but in behind-the-scenes work. How often do we read about characters who want to be stars? Emi's perspective here does sound really refreshing.ReplyDelete
This is such a lovely review, Keertana! I'm glad that you found LaCour was able to surprise you even more in her latest work.
agh I am SO EXCITED TO READ THIS! I'm glad you think it is her best yet and I love what you pointed about the hobbies thing: SO TRUE. and yay to stellar secondary characters as well.ReplyDelete
I haven't tried this author yet but it sounds like I really need to. I am looking up her first book now. ;)ReplyDelete
I'm thrilled to read that she doesn't write down to her readers. So many YA authors do, which saddens me. That alone makes this worth my time. I saw it today on Penguin's Facebook page and was immediately intrigued.ReplyDelete
This cover is beautiful and I love that the story is a mystery and romance combined. I'm not sure I'll pick this up because I tried with The Disenchantments and it didn't click with me. Lovely review, Keertana! :)ReplyDelete
I was pleasantly surprised by this one, Keertana. While I enjoyed Hold Still when I read it I really like this one. Almost loved it. The thing that sold me about this novel was the film. Emi's love for film and her set designs were such brilliance. It brought something new to YA that I had never read about before. A new hidden talent of sorts I would overlook in everyday life. Gorgeous review! Glad to see another person who enjoyed this novel!ReplyDelete