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review 2016-07-12 15:38
You know me well - Nina LaCour + David Levithan
You Know Me Well - Nina LaCour,David Levithan
Hold Still - Nina LaCour
Everything Leads to You - Nina LaCour


the original post on my blog: http://www.abouthappybooks.com/2016/07/you-know-me-well-nina-lacour-david.html



You know me well
young adult contemporary
coming of age, romance
I highly recommend books like "Hold still" and "Everything leads to you" by Nina LaCour
I also loved a short story I recently read by her (found in "Summer Days & Summer Nights)"
she writes emotional stories with characters that seem like real people
she makes you feel everything
she's a great author
so of course I was super excited to read her new book
but I was also a bit nervous because another book co-written by David Levithan did not work for me
but I still bought the book and read it
two high school students
he is in love with his best friend
she is about to meet the girl of her dreams
but it's not that easy
they become friends
in an instant
and then maneuver through some of the most exciting days of their lives
"You know me well"
the name says it all. NOT.
as a reader I didn't get to know the characters that well
I always felt as if I was scratching on the surface
but never got to the core
I could never imagine the characters as real people
and that made it hard for me to enjoy the book
to believe in the emotions, to feel them
50-100 pages more, more time spend with the characters, their families, their hopes and fears
would have been great, would have been needed
maybe then I would have felt something
but unfortunately that didn't happen
I'm sad to say that in my opinion the book was
too fast-paced, too short, too superficial
I love what Nina LaCour writes on her own
but was disappointed by her work together with David Levithan
I will definitely read more by her in the future, but will stay away from his books.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-05-21 21:04
Everything Leads to You - Nina LaCour

Spoiler Rating: High


Finest Katie,


I read Nina LaCour’s Hold Still shortly after my friend Jeff died, and the book utterly wrecked me. So of course when I learned that LaCour had written a YA lesbian romance, I . . . well, okay. I let it sit in my TBR list for two years.


But now I’ve read it, and returned to tell you that you’d probably enjoy it more than I did.



The plot, in brief: our narrator Emi (a talented young production designer in Hollywood) and her best friend Charlotte discover that recently-deceased movie icon Clyde Jones has a secret (orphan) granddaughter named Ava, whom he’s left an unknown (but presumably enormous) sum of money to. They hunt Ava down, reveal her grandfather’s identity, and point her to her awaiting bank account. They also point her to an audition for a new movie Emi and Charlotte are working on.


So Ava ends up learning about her (deceased) family, becomes filthy rich, and lands the lead role in what’s expected to be a fairly big movie. She also—of course—gets the girl: Emi.




Emi — an eighteen-year-old infected with Hollywood’s movie-sickness.


Ava — an eighteen-year-old with a troubled and mysterious past. She ran away from her cold, lesbian-hating adoptive mother, Tracey, and is now trying to scrape together a new life for herself in Los Angeles.


Charlotte — Emi’s best friend and occasional co-worker. She’s eighteen, but approaches every situation with a sensible, seasoned, professional air that makes her seem twice her age.


Clyde Jones — iconic star of Hollywood’s old Western movies. Recently deceased. Publicly known to be a bachelor, but secretly the father of Ava’s (long deceased) mother, Caroline.




A Slow-Growing, Lesbian Romance!


Need I say more? No. No, I don’t.



Actually, I will say more. It’s possible that Emi and/or Ava could be bisexual. Neither girl puts a label on her sexuality, and although both clearly state they like girls, both also admit to (rarely, potentially?) being attracted to a guy. So I’m tagging this book as both lesbian and bisexual, just to cover my bases.


A Biracial Narrator/Protagonist!


Emi’s race is barely remarked on, but what we did see made me so happy. Like so:



The book also briefly highlights how Emi’s (upper-middle class) family’s experience of and approach to their race compares to a homeless young black man’s experience and approach. I thought the comparison was both interesting and valuable, and wish the book devoted more than a couple pages to it.


Neat Details About Production Design!


Emi’s job entails designing movie sets: choosing the right furniture, rugs, plants, dishes, etc., then making the set look real. I loved watching Emi work, and seeing why she chose [these dishes] or [this wallpaper color] or [this couch] over the thousands of other [dishes/wallpaper color/couches] available.


For example: here, she’s spent seven weeks searching for just the right couch for a scene in which a teen character has sex for the first time (with a scumbag, the teen later realizes). She’s finally found the couch:



Love it.


Lesson: Life’s Not A Movie!


When Emi begins uncovering the truth of Ava’s grandparentage, she goes all Prodigy Production Designer and tries to craft a movie-style Tragedy-Turned-Triumph story for Ava. One of the first steps in her plan: introduce Ava to the fancy-pants hotel Marmont (which is thick with celebrities and celebrity-watchers).



But life—even Ava’s fairy-tale-esque life—isn’t a movie that Emi can manipulate.



Life is life, and it’s experienced in excruciating slowness and clarity, with no helpful foreshadowing of what lies ahead. People are not characters in movies, and their lives are beyond Emi’s creative control.


Hurray for narrators who learn interesting and important life lessons!






I Was Bored


Okay, so this could be a problem with me rather than the book. I’m a fantasy reader, not a contemporary-romance reader.


My complaints, in brief:


  • the writing style was emotionally distant,
  • Emi’s self-absorption and entitlement pissed me off,
  • the first hundred pages, in which Emi and Charlotte search for and locate Ava, bored me almost to tears,
  • the story’s told from Emi’s point of view, so Ava’s (more interesting) story is only superficially shared with the reader,
  • the movie they’re working on is the type I’d never watch: a quiet, contemporary piece about a lonely teen and a lonely adult who learn things about themselves through each other,
  • we spend a lot of time watching them work on this movie, and good lord I don’t care.


What kept me reading, then? The fact that it was alesbian YA romance. Had it been a straight couple, I probably would have set it aside.


(Actually, I wouldn’t have picked it up in the first place.)


Emi’s Character Development


The story’s told in the first person perspective, from Emi’s point of view. Overall, the writing style (i.e., Emi’s inner monologue) is calm, clean, and reserved, leading me to assume that Emi is a calm-clean-reserved sort of person.


That is, until Emi describes herself (and her older brother Toby) thusly:



The energy-level bit threw me off. Calm-clean-reserved Emi had shown almost no energy, much less off-the-charts energy.


So I started paying closer attention to Emi’s behavior and narration, to see if that energy ever came through.


Did it? No.


I’m sorry, Emi, but you can’t just say “I have more energy than other people can handle” and then not follow through. As it stands, it looks like either you don’t know your own personality, or your author (who writes you with such a calm-clean-reserved voice) doesn’t. It’s impossible for me to bond with a narrator whose personality I never get a solid grasp of.


Whose Story Is This?


This book might’ve benefited from being told from both Emi and Ava’s perspectives.


Emi’s the narrator and protagonist (she learns important lessons about herself and life, and those lesson change her), but for most of the book, she has neither a real conflict nor an interesting goal.


It’s Ava who’s living the rags-to-riches story, with all its requisite complex emotions, internal conflict, internal and external changes. But we see almost none of those changes, and it’s unclear how (or if) she changes as a person as a result of her experiences.


I mean, sure, we see her trash her adoptive mom’s house while searching for her birth certificate; she cries while watching the movies that her deceased grandfather and deceased mother acted in; she has a brief, emotional confrontation with her adoptive mother (that doesn’t really resolve anything). But that’s about it.


It is so incredibly frustrating to be shackled to a rather boring character doing rather mundane things, while another character is enduring amazing struggles and major internal changes largely off-screen.


“But Liam,” you argue, “this book’s about how real lifeisn’t a fairy tale or a movie. If Ava—with her fairy-tale-esque metamorphosis from troubled homeless teen to happy wealthy starlet—were the narrator, that’d undermine the book’s message.”


Okay, fine. Maybe this is a flaw in me as a reader, and not a flaw in the book. And yes, it is neat to pair a “Life isn’t a movie” message with an Average Jane Narrator who’s watching from the sidelines while a Fairy-Tale Heroine’s life get turned upside down in Fairy-Tale Ways.


But I, personally, would rather get in on some of Fairy-Tale Heroine’s action—or, at the very least, have a more interesting Average Jane Narrator with genuinely interesting conflicts and goals of her own.


In Closing


The world obviously needs more lesbian YA novels, and this certainly isn’t the worst lesbian book I’ve read to date. But it just wasn’t quite enough—emotional enough, intriguing enough, engaging enough, romantic enough, powerful enough—for me.


My search for a five-star lesbian YA novel continues.





Source: heyashers.com/2016/05/21/everything-leads-to-you
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review 2016-02-29 11:06
Review: Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour
Everything Leads to You - Nina LaCour

Goodreads summary:

Just out of high school, Emi Price is a talented young set designer already beginning to thrive in the L.A. film scene. But her artistic eye has failed her in one key area: helping her to design a love life that’s more than make-believe. Then she finds a mysterious letter at an estate sale, and it sends her chasing down the loose ends of a movie icon’s hidden life. And along the way, she finds Ava, and at long last, Emi’s own hidden life begins to bloom. 


My opinion:

I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it either. This is one of those books that will be better as a movie than a book, because

- I really liked the plot

- I like the storyline

- It's a lesbian story and main person is black (so unique)

- It would be a cute movie

But I didn't like the writingstyle at all. The writinstyle was so easy and most part where in script style (even the overall storyline) which made it also look just as if you were seeing the movie. That's why I really think this would be perfect for a movie. I didn't care for the book itself that much. As a book it was just ok, so that's why I can only give it 2 stars (2 stars means to me that it was ok). 


Have you read this Everything Leads To You? What is your opinion about it?

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text 2016-02-02 15:20
My reading plans for this week (tbr)

I've decided to read three books this week. All of them are relatively short and I have no home-/studywork and not so long school, so I really think I can manage that. My plan is to read them from yesterday 'till sunday. These are the books I want to read this week:

Just One Year - Gayle FormanFairest - Marissa MeyerEverything Leads to You - Nina LaCour

- Just One Yar (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman

Fairest (Lunar Chronicles 3.5) by Marissa Meyer

- Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour


I have Just One Year and Fairest only on my Ipad, so that's why I don't have a physical picture here haha. I already started Just One Year yesterday and I'm alreadt almost halfway through. I love the Dutch stuff Gayle put in here and it's quite relative as well. It's not the best book that's out there, but still very enjoyable.


What are your reading plans for this week?

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text 2015-11-06 15:15
Bookhaul #19

This will be the shortest bookhaul yet, but I still wanted to share the books that I bought this month! There is a huge sale thing in my area at the end of this month and my bithday + Christmas is next month, so I decided to not to go crazy this month. I still have a ton of unread books on my shelf (atleast for me) so that was also a reason why I didn't buy so many books. These are the books that I bought:

I think that picture already shows enough. My plan is to read both of them in February (yes I plan out what I will be reading for months ha) because I want to read some romantical books in that month (y'all know why) and both of these books are different than usual: both of them have lesbian relationships in it. I've also never read a Sarah Waters' book before and this is her first book she has written/published, so of course I wanted to pick this one up.


Next bookhaul will be bigger for sure, but I think I'm going to post that one after Christmas so we have all of the events - that I mentioned at the beginning of this blogpost - together in one blogpost. No idea how many books there will be in that blogpost, but we shall see! :)


What is your latest book purchase?

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