I put a call out on Tumblr a few weeks back for YA (preferably fanstay) with F/F relationships. I feel that in all the “popular” YA books, lesbians don’t really have much quality to read. So, I asked for recommendations. That, and multiple lists on goodreads, led me to Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour. It’s a contemporary romance, not fantasy, but I’ll take it.
This is a quintessential romance story set in the Hollywood world of movies and the drama that goes with it. I think, personally, Emi’s situation felt so absurdly blessed that it made the whole thing more unreal – like rom coms with absurd jobs in films, adorkable meet-cutes – all the hallmarks of a proper romance. Honestly, I’m a sucker for a rom com (The Proposal is one of my go to films, as is Imagine Me and You). This was absolutely definitely a tween romance with a bit of a side mystery going on – plus the fact that the main character is unashamedly a lesbian.
One of the things I liked about the book is that Emi’s first relationship (with Morgan) is not a good relationship – Morgan has dumped her six times, and then said “I want you!” and they’ve taken up again. It isn’t a healthy relationship at all. Then, I felt that Emi just dove straight into falling for someone else without really having time to just hit baseline between relationships. And I liked how Ava was intense and felt it was necessary to do all these things to be accepted and to feel worthy. I don’t know, I feel like gay relationships (male and female) get idealised because of this toxic society we live in – not all relationships are healthy, homosexual or heterosexual, and I liked how this was kinda introduced as a theme.
I also liked how this wasn’t a grand coming out story. Emi is a lesbian, everyone knows it and is cool with it. No drama around the sexuality front. It just is. After reading loads of books where the whole point is the coming out, it was kinda refreshing to read a romance where both halves of the love interest are sure of their sexuality going into the relationship, it’s other things that are preventing it. There was no grand coming out, or anything like that. In fact, the coming out for this book was:
“People talk about coming out as though it’s this big one-time event. But really, most people have to come out over and over to basically every new person they meet. I’m only eighteen and it already exhausts me.”
I didn’t like how everything falls into place like dominoes. I get its a novel, that it’s set in LA (so suspend reality for a bit anyway) but I feel the biggest issue Emi has to face for the first part of the novel is finding “the perfect sofa” for the set she is dressing. Then it’s finding the recipient of the letter. Her life feels charmed – like the worst thing she has in it is Morgan being indecisive. I think it’s set up like that to juxtapose Emi with Ava, living in a youth centre for homeless children, but it feels a little suspended belief.
This book is about Emi, being in love with love and with the movie industry and the romance of it all, but its also about Ava, trying to come to terms with her family and all the trappings it brings. It’s about working out who you are before jumping into something you aren’t ready for, and it’s about doing something you love. If nothing else, it was a very cute book.
“The best things in life aren’t perfectly constructed. They aren’t illusions. They aren’t larger than life. They are life.”
All in all, this felt like a fairly standard YA romance novel with the added awesomeness of there being a lesbian MC. Perfect light read for a summer day in the garden.
If you have any recommendations for me, please send them through! I’m planning my priority TBR list for Summer over the next few days!