Visiting Los Angeles, California has always been on my to-do list, but living 3,000 miles away and flights being very expensive can make that goal challenging. However, there’s plenty of ways to experience it through different mediums, this novel being one of them.

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour takes place in the Los Angeles area. The protagonist, Emi Price, is an eighteen-year-old native who works to help dress sets for a major movie studio, picking out furniture and other pieces to place. The story picks up when Emi has just graduated from high school and is looking forward to the summer; her older brother has left her his apartment to stay in while he travels and she has her job to focus on. At the estate sale of deceased celebrity Clyde Jones, Emi finds an old Patsy Cline record, and in the record sleeve, a secret letter addressed to an unknown woman. With the help of her best friend Charlotte, Emi follows the letter to Clyde’s family secret that spans several generations and leads them to some of Los Angeles’s diverse neighborhoods. Emi also gets the ultimate chance to design all the sets for a feature film and discover more about herself in the process.

Being a huge movie buff, I liked reading about what goes into making a movie. Most people just see the finished product, not realizing that hundreds of people are involved in the actual process. When I was eighteen, I got the chance to be an extra in a low budget film shot near my hometown. It was unpaid, but it was amazing to be able to be part of a production, seeing all the cameras, lighting, the multiple takes, working with the director and the other people on set. It actually took the filmmakers two years to get the film from the writing stages to being released in theatres. Emi describes the jobs that most of the people have and how each role is essential in the film-making process.

LaCour combined the premise of movie making with a love story about two girls. I appreciated the diversity, as it made me realize that I haven’t read a lot of novels with gay or lesbian protagonists. The story’s themes also emphasize how movies are a kind of illusion, we see them and are captivated by them, but sometimes forget that they’re not real. I look forward to reading some of LaCour’s other work.