Have you read this book yet? No? Go grab it immediately. With one book, Nina LaCour has made herself my favorite Contemporary YA author (possibly my favorite. JK Rowling is my YA queen and will never be beaten, so she hardly even counts). Let’s start with the basics of what makes this book so lovely, shall we?
- The cover. DID YOU SEE THAT COVER? The gentle pinks and purples, the font choice, the styling? Everything about this cover is just perfect. I had to read it for book club, and after seeing the cover, I ran to Amazon and ordered a copy rather than getting it from the library solely because of how much I am in love with the aesthetics of this cover. And I’m a book whore, meaning I buy books for my book shelf not just because I love them, but sometimes even when I don’t care about their content because their cover is so incredibly beautiful. Of course, Nina LaCour managed a book that’s beautiful AND incredibly written.
- The main character is LGBTQ, which we need more of in YA, especially in main characters. LaCour gets appreciation points for that. She’s also mixed race, which again mets the extra points criteria of diversity in main characters. She ALSO presents all these things normally and casually, without making a big deal about them or throwing them in your face as though to say LOOK I’M DIVERSE ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF BEING ABLE TO SAY I’M DIVERSE AND THE CULTURE IMPACT OF THAT IS ONLY FOR SHOCK VALUE HERE. These characters feel real, feel like people you know, and are diverse without it being a flamboyant show. There’s a place for that, but it’s really refreshing to find a YA book where diversity is just part of life and not merely something to impress readers.
- The story takes Hollywood tricks, points them out to turn them upside down, and then still buys into them in a way that doesn’t feel cliche. Make sense? Maybe not but it will once you read it. LaCour does a beautiful job of balancing the escape and fantasy you’d want in a YA novel with realism and natural progression.
So now you probably want a summary, right? Okay. Here goes!
Everything Leads to You is from the POV of Emi, a set design intern on a high budget film. When her boss invites her and her best friend (also working on the film) to go through an estate sale for props, Emi and her friend Charlotte are ecstatic to find the house belonged to the late Clyde Jones, an Hollywood icon known for classic Western films. While helping their boss, Emi and Charlotte each pick one item from the estate sale to purchase for themselves- Emi picks a belt buckle and Charlotte picks an old Patsy Cline record. Seemingly innocuous items, right? Wrong.
When Charlotte finds a yellowed letter in the record cover, the girls go on a hunt for answers to what could be the greatest mystery to hit Hollywood in ages. Emi finds herself torn between an old love and a new one, and also tries to find herself as a very talented but young woman in a very tough and difficult industry. As the girls find the answers they think they needed, they learn that things don’t always work out quite the way they thought they would- and that sometimes they do.