There is something to be said for a good coming out story, but sometimes we crave something different. Not all queer experiences are about the process of realising we are that way, and a slew of recent fiction reflects that. As much as it’s refreshing to see any queer characters in books or on screen, what many crave (including myself!) is fiction where The Gay is not The Point.
Enter Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour, award-winning author of Hold Still. LaCour presents a charming group of young, successful people figuring out their way in the world, and the main character is interested in women without it being the whole point. Emi is an intern set designer in LA, and in her travels she discovers a note from a recently deceased Hollywood actor bequeathing his estate to a previously unknown woman.
Emi is the stubborn type, naive as she is, and it brings her to the very famous actor’s daughter who has no idea who she is. Ava is troubled and beautiful, and Emi is smitten.
Though it’s a shiny, sunny romance, Everything Leads to You is layered and interesting. Emi discovers a lot about her life and her ambitions, not all of it good, and even faces down some understanding of her own privilege as a white, affluent teen in LA. Through her desire to help Ava (and her desire for Ava) she learns a lot about the world around her and how she fits in it.
In places Nina LaCour really hammers home the research she put into being a set designer and I began to feel as though I was in a lecture on the subject, but aside from that the book flows well and the characters stay with you for a while.
If you’re looking for a lighthearted yet satisfying queer romance, Everything Leads to You should tickle your fancy.