Books, Reviews, YA Fiction

The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz |what happened???


3 1/4 stars

The first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

Me trying to calculate where this book and I went wrong:

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Huh, this is unexpected. Really. I remember reading Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe a while ago and thinking it was a brilliant-ass book, and I also remember expecting and wanting Saenz’s next novel to be a brilliant-ass book. Well, here we are and I am clearly not in that position. I didn’t hate The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life, but I was also hella confused and irritated and bored throughout, and while there were a few elements that this book did right, there were just as many done not-as-well. I am once again in a state of conflict and disappointment when I least expected it.

The Good

The themes: Unsurprisingly, there are a plethora of themes and social issues addressed. Race, sexuality, mental health, friendship, and family are only a few of the themes totally explored in this book, and of course there is tons of diversity to go around. I really like how Saenz brings together all these people from different backgrounds and meshes them realistically.

The relationships between the characters: I loved Sal and Sam’s very platonic male-female friendship, I was half expecting them to get together and when it didn’t happen, I was fine with it, because their friendship was already written so well. The relationship between Sal, Sam, and Fito was also great and I loved the complex yet easygoing relationship between Sal and his father. The family aspect of this novel was also gorgeous, and I enjoyed exploring the dynamics of Sal’s family and how close everyone was. Discovering your identity was also a huge part of this novel, as Sal largely struggles with how he’s supposedly changing. I especially appreciated the relatability of Sal’s thoughts on college and his future. I could totally understand all the anxiousness and confusion as I am in the position of applying to colleges and figuring myself out too. While Sal’s feelings of nervousness and fear stem from a different place, they were conveyed in a really understandable way for everyone going through the same thing.

The characters themselves: The characters were classic Saenz, if that makes any sense. Strong, but vulnerable and complicated yet somehow easy to understand. Sal was interesting, he was a more sensitive yet strong-willed male character, who wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable and show his emotions. In fact, many of the characters were incredibly honest with their feelings, and this definitely has its negative effects, but I did like it because it brought out different sides of them. Sam was a very bold character who might piss some people off, but I definitely enjoyed her presence. I did feel as though the author was trying too hard to make her different ‘from other girls’ and quirky, but her character was still interesting. Fito, I loved as well, and Sal’s father and his extended family were such great people too.

The Bad

The nonexistent plot: Okay, plot. What plot?? The amount of events that took place in this book were overwhelming, more so than it should be because there is so much going on yet nothing heading toward a point, or theme that is especially emphasized. In the beginning of the book, Sal gets into a ‘fight’ and he later wonders how his emotional state became so volatile so easily. There was hardly any buildup to this revelation and it heads off into nowhere, much like the other elements of this book. While there are so many themes expressed, none of them were fleshed out enough because the whole novel is simply a series of events without any direction. I’m a character-based reader, but I still need a strong enough plot to keep me engaged and not fast asleep.

The lack of emotional impact: One of the greatest things about Aristotle And Dante was the huge emotional weight it carried, and how it was expressed through the prose in a subtle, relatable, and totally non-corny way. Well, either Saenz switched things up in this one or I don’t remember Aristotle And Dante at all, because things were pretty damn different. The writing is uber-choppy and straightforward, and while it only added to the emotional impact in Aristotle And Dante, it took away from this one. Everything was so jilted and repetitive, it was so hard to draw any emotion from the prose because it was all so, so dull. Completely drained from any sort of feeling.

I would say The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life would appeal to those who loved Aristotle And Dante, but that would be somewhat invalid as I find myself supremely confused and conflicted with this one, regardless of my love for the latter. Give it a try if you’re already a fan of the author, but don’t expect to be wowed.

Thanks for reading, peeps. If you’ve already read this one, what did you think of it? Did it leave you disappointed? Emotional? Shooketh to the core? Let me know! 🙂

Books, New Releases, YA Fiction

Anticipated Releases: September 2017


September is about to be so lit, y’all. Marie Lu, Adam Silvera, Stephanie Perkins, Leigh Bardugo. !!!

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They Both Die In The End, by Adam Silvera – Coming September 5th, 2017

33385229On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

History Is All You Left Me was a pretty intense emotional experience, and I have no doubt Silvera will be able to do it again. I’M READY

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Warcross, by Marie Lu – Coming September 12th, 2017

29385546For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire. 

It’s been a long-ass time since I’ve got me some Marie Lu, but it doesn’t matter because this book has been all over my Goodreads feed, and I could not be more jealous of those who have an ARC. So ready for this adventure. LET’S GO.

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There’s Someone Inside Your House, by Stephanie Perkins – Coming September 26th, 2017

15797848Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

Stephanie Perkins? Yes, give me some. Stephanie Perkins writing a horror novel?

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I have no idea what this will turn out like, but I’m pretty excited to find out. LET’S GOOOO

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The Language Of Thorns, Leigh Bardugo – Coming September 26th, 2017

34076952Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

Y’all already know Leigh Bardugo is my queen, so I’m so ready yet not ready for this masterpiece to floor me. LET’S FUCKING GOOOO

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An Enchantment Of Ravens, by Margaret Rogerson – Coming September 26th, 2017

30969741Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

Margaret Rogerson is the lone author in this list that I have not previously visited (I couldn’t have though, because this is her debut), but this book sounds super cool. The cover is gorgeous and the summary is giving me The Iron Fey vibes, so I’m totally looking forward to this!

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Thanks for reading, guys! What are your anticipated releases for September? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Books, Original Post, YA Fiction

August 2017 Wrap Up

Me to the mess that was August:

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So can I debrief y’all on this month?? I totally expected to have hardly any time to breathe in the midst of SATs, summer homework assignments, dance, and getting ready for school, but I did expect to read between that mess. I tend to read more when I’m stressed and busy (and this month had me both, trust me), but right when I least expected it, BOOM. Reading slump. Blogging slump. Which, is why I only read a sad total of 5 books this month. Normally, I would be pretty happy, considering how much I used to read a year ago, but I was doing so well this summer, I thought I would hit at least 7 this month. Screw you, August. Damnit.

Anyway, let’s get into it. 🙂

18667779Everything Leads To You, by Nina LaCour (3.5 stars) – This contemporary novel didn’t blow me away in its romance (clearly the main focus), but I loved nearly every other aspect of it! The writing was casual, the atmosphere was well-defined, and the messages it carried were great. You can find my review here.

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25752041Royal Bastards, by Andrew Shvarts (2.75 stars) – I expected a shitton from Royal Bastards (a grave mistake on my part), and unsurprisingly it did not deliver. Stronger characters, more diverse world-building, and a more fitting narration would have done this book some serious good, but it decided to go a whole other route and there’s nothing I can do about it. I wouldn’t encourage reading this one if you want more than something mildly engaging. My full review can be found here.

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30971706Things I Should Have Known, by Claire LaZebnik (3.75 stars) – This novel was so, so sweet! The themes of family and friendship were expressed so subtly and the character development was equally strong. The topic of autism was also realistically talked about and was nicely tied in with the rest of the book. Would definitely recommend. You can find my review here.

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764347Unwind, by Neal Shusterman (4.5 stars) – I’ve decided to reread this beloved series, starting with one of my favorite books ever, Unwind. It was just as amazing and I can’t help but think of all the heartache I’m going to suffer while reading the rest of the books. It’s worth it, though. 🙂

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23447923The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (3.25 stars) – I don’t need to reread Aristotle And Dante to conclude that this book paled in comparison to it. There are many elements of this book that were done wonderfully, but others I simply couldn’t ignore or push myself to enjoy. Look out for my full review coming soon!

Thanks for reading, guys! Let me know what you thought in the comments below. Meanwhile, I’ll be praying September turns out to be better. 😀

Books, Reviews, YA Fiction

I’ll Meet You There, by Heather Demetrios

3.5 Stars

If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing separating Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.

Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.

What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.

Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.

Today was my first day of school, so I’m glad to blow off some steam with a riveting discussion about books! Particularly I’ll Meet You There, of which I own a copy courtesy of my local library’s summer reading program. I went into this book with very little expectations, but came out of it pleased.

This book is about Skylar, a teenager aching to get out of her small trailer-park town. It’s also about Josh, a teenager back from a stint in the Marines, minus one leg. From the start, these characters were intriguing – they’re colorful and three-dimensional and stay that way throughout the entire book. They had wonderful separate storylines, and Skylar’s opinions and strong personality particularly attracted me (Josh was a douchebag to begin with, but Skylar quickly corrects his more offensive speech patterns.) I loved both these characters individually… but couldn’t really enjoy the forced romantic plot.

I thought the setting of Creek View was beautifully written, and Skylar and Josh fit wonderfully into it – I could feel the effect Creek View had on both of their goals and personalities. I could easily have bought a coming-of-age novel about their individual struggles and their friendship, but thought the romance escalated too quickly and Skylar’s thoughts quickly devolved into typical YA romantic girl mush when she was around him. I did like that they didn’t get together too quickly, but I think the characters were most true to themselves when not thinking about how kissable the other person was.

The side characters, especially Skylar’s friends, were super enjoyable and fun. I would have loved a lot more of Skylar’s interactions and camaraderie with these guys. I also loved how non-stereotypical they were about most everything, and enjoyed the awareness of teenage pregnancy, racism and homophobia.

Although most of the conflict was romantic in nature, other conflicts such as the family/financial struggles of teens living in underprivileged circumstances and PTSD were well written. Although I will forever wonder how teens in YA novels have such complete reign over and access to alcohol and drugs, even these topics were handled with care and an understanding of the gravitas of drug-related decisions.

Overall, this book is a sweet contemporary novel that has well-written characters and settings, but ultimately fails to be extremely memorable due to the forced, cliche romance. It’s a read I definitely still recommend, though!


Books, Reviews, YA Fiction

Things I Should Have Known, by Claire LaZebnik | a sweet + simple yet important contemporary


3 3/4 stars 

Things Chloe knew: Her sister, Ivy, was lonely. Ethan was a perfect match. Ethan’s brother, David, was an arrogant jerk.

Things Chloe should have known: Setups are complicated. Ivy can make her own decisions. David may be the only person who really gets Chloe.

Meet Chloe Mitchell, a popular Los Angeles girl who’s decided that her older sister, Ivy, who’s on the autism spectrum, could use a boyfriend. Chloe already has someone in mind: Ethan Fields, a sweet, movie-obsessed boy from Ivy’s special needs class.

Chloe would like to ignore Ethan’s brother, David, but she can’t—Ivy and Ethan aren’t comfortable going out on their own, so Chloe and David have to tag along. Soon Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan form a quirky and wholly lovable circle. And as the group bonds over frozen-yogurt dates and movie nights, Chloe is forced to confront her own romantic choices—and the realization that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.

Things I Should Have Known is a book that I had randomly stumbled upon a few months ago on Goodreads, and while I don’t make it a habit to add books that interest me immediately to my TBR, the reviews for this one were just so great that I had to. Unsurprisingly, while it failed to keep my attention at times, I quite liked its simplicity and sweetness. It weaves a slightly flighty but serious story, with themes of friendship, love, and acceptance.

The writing and overall vibe of the book is essentially a blend of the main topic of autism along with Chloe’s personal life aside from dealing with Ivy and her family. It’s a good blend of seriousness and real-life struggles with being young and figuring yourself out. The mixing of these elements is surprisingly not chaotic, and while I would have done without the typical high school cliches and the unrealistic classroom scenes, the entire atmosphere of the novel is very warm and friendly. Autism is discussed heavily in this book and how society, Chloe, and Ivy herself deal with this condition is conveyed so realistically and unflinchingly. The numerous instances of ableism made me angry, but I appreciated the fact that this was included because it happens in real life, unfortunately. The story didn’t shy away from the truths at all, but still managed to be heartwarming.

The characters are surprisingly realistic and not annoying, and I say this because I’ve seen the “popular girl forms a friendship with outcast guy” trope in many contemporaries, and I was afraid Chloe and David would turn out to be cliched. Thankfully, they were not. Chloe is indeed well-liked and seemingly has a perfect life, but she deals with a lot of unconventional issues for a teen and is just looking for someone to understand her. Her natural personality was quite easy to sink into, which is different because the popular girls (even the protagonists) are usually depicted as closet bitches. David was also a great character, as the story progressed I could definitely see the complexity behind his character growing.

By just reading the synopsis, I think we can all tell Chloe and David are going to fall for each other. Even if I saw it coming a mile away, I absolutely love their relationship. It’s purely based on trust, understanding, and acceptance. No long-ass paragraphs on David’s cheekbones here, people. You can see that they have a true bond, devoid of superficiality.

Things I Should Have Known may not be for everyone, but I would definitely recommend it to those in search of a diverse and honest story that is both important and sweet. I loved the messages this one sent and I’m sure you guys would like it too.


Books, Reviews, YA Fiction

Royal Bastards, by Andrew Shvarts | an engaging enough fantasy with an excess of wasted potential

25752041Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . 

2 3/4 stars

Royal Bastards was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, and while I don’t check out new releases almost immediately, I had to make an exception for this one. I loved how mature, chaotic, and fun the synopsis sounded and was pretty sure it was going to be a wild ride. It was a wild ride indeed, but nearly not as interesting as I thought it would be. The writing is very middle grade esque (besides the numerous cuss words thrown around), the world building a tad uninspiring, and the character development — fast. However, I do think it was engaging enough for me to be interested in the second installment, but it could have done so much better if it went a completely different direction.

The writing and pacing of the novel were, to say the least, incredibly unexpected. The prose itself is actually quite simple and modern, something you wouldn’t expect from a medieval fantasy novel, but at the same time there is profuse cussing between the characters. More formal writing is usually up my alley, and I was taken aback with the style, but I did get used to it as the story progressed. I can’t say I loved it, but as someone who is akin to sophisticated prose (think the His Fair Assassin series) in fantasies, the prose in Royal Bastards was strange but also entertaining and very relatable. I am disappointed with the overall maturity level, though. I liked the cussing, and I wanted a more destructive, dark, and at least a little psychological story. The Bastards sounded so fun yet complex in the summary, and I suppose I was expecting the vibe of the book to be darkly comic but still serious. It went a completely separate way, but I guess that’s what I deserve for expecting something so precise anyway.

The characters were equally complex but not complex enough. I understood the basic outlines of their conflicts and personalities, but the motives for their actions were simply not explained enough. They are entertaining, but not as complicated as they should be. Weirdly enough, I expected the most from the characters in this novel because it’s not everyday we read a story through the eyes of royal rejects. I wanted to see their psyche and their conflict concerning their want for belonging yet dislike for the society they’ve been barred from. Tilla does show this, she wants to be loved by her father even if she pretends she doesn’t care, but this complexity was stated so simply and bluntly. I liked Jax and Lyriana, even if they reminded me too closely of other fantasy characters, and Zell was intriguing. On the other hand, I would like to clock Miles in the face.

It seems all negative right now, but there are a few positives. The narration and dialogue were hilarious and relatable. The Bastards are actually somewhat representative of teens nowadays if they were stuck in a fantasy novel. The action and fight scenes were entertaining and there were surprises everywhere, ones that I didn’t see coming. I think I would have liked it so much more if everything was a little bit more bloodier, darker, and Tarantino-esque (I want everything to be Tarantino-esque, don’t ask why), but it was engaging for the most part.

I would recommend Royal Bastards to anyone in search of something different from the usual fantasies imposing on YA right now (I’m looking right at you, Sarah J. Mass). But, if you’re in for a more mature, complicate read, skip this one.


Books, Reviews, YA Fiction

Everything Leads To You, by Nina LaCour | wonderfully cinematic + undeniably real

18667779A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still.
A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.
Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

3 1/2 stars

The only Nina LaCour novel I had read before this one was We Are Okay, which was an emotional and depressing mess, and I was slightly afraid that Everything Leads To You would turn out the same way. Fortunately, it did not! This book was an extravaganza of film, love, acceptance, and even mystery. It was a simple yet elegant story that explored a number of themes, and while it didn’t completely blow me away, I quite enjoyed diving into it.

First off, I loved how thoroughly invested this book was in its Hollywood setting, social atmosphere, and how the overall film industry works. I could feel the overwhelming yet calming nature of the LA atmosphere, as well as the daily thrills and annoyances one experiences while working on a movie set and just being passionate about film in general. I even enjoyed Emi’s angsting about not finding the perfect piece of furniture for the set she’s designing, because the frustration caused by doing everything you can and failing was just as realistic and enjoyable as Emi’s love for movies and all the work she has to do. It was such an engaging atmosphere that charmed me completely with its creativity and richness.

The characters weren’t done as well in my opinion, but I did enjoy their stories. Emi is surprisingly a very vivacious, passionate, and realistic character who goes through a large amount of growth in this book. It’s her overflowing love for what she does that captured me the most, and while I had trouble finding her ‘inner conflict’ as I read, the way she changes as she deals with her numerous responsibilities, matures into an adult, and finally finds true love was wonderfully written. I really liked the recurring theme of Emi discovering the social and economic disparities between her and someone like Ava, and how she learns to acknowledge the fact that she still is young and still learning about the world around her. That aspect isn’t as focused on as her love story with Ava, which is disappointing, but it was still the part I enjoyed the most. Unfortunately, I didn’t find Ava herself to be as interesting and she tended to annoy me often, but she was engaging enough for me to be wrapped up in the mystery of her background.

It’s weird to say that I was more invested in the themes surrounding Ava and Emi’s romance, but it is true. While I liked the pacing of their romance and the tension created between them, Ava and Emi didn’t capture me as much I wanted them to, but I adored how they both learned to separate fantasy from reality, movie sets from real life. Emi’s journey to realizing the imperfection yet greatness of true love and the false realities of a cinematic romance was so effectively written, even if the topic itself is a bit cliche. I thought it tied the plot points of film and finding love perfectly together.

While I would have liked more emphasis on a few plot points and themes throughout the book, Everything Leads To You was a very different, addictive read that I would definitely recommend to those in search of a unique LGBTQ romance with a ton of relatable themes.