Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour

everythingleadstoyouIn honor of Pride Month, I wanted to add something different to my bookshelf. After taking a Young Adult Literature class last semester and writing a paper on the use of LGBT YAL in classrooms, I was excited to finally get a taste of it. This is why I chose to pick up LaCour’s novel whose main character is a lesbian high schooler. And as if the world could not be any more perfect, I am writing this review on the day that the United States Supreme Court ruled that the constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage! #LoveWins Now let’s get started.

Emi is an aspiring production designer who has just been given her brothers Los Angeles apartment for the summer. His only condition: something epic has to happen. While at an estate sale of a dead movie star, Emi and her best friend, Charlotte, discover a hidden letter that takes them on an adventure. Along the way, Emi finds out more than just answers. She finds love.

So, I have to be super honest. I am not in love with this book. I expected this to be more of a love story but it really focused more on the “mystery” aspect, which actually wasn’t that mysterious. If I must be blunt, it was dull. I’m usually a fast reader but I took my time with this one because it was hard to really get into it. I liked the characters and I knew where the plot was headed but it felt like the longest ride up hill. I think that someone who really enjoys movies or movie production would find this more interesting because it focuses A LOT on that. Overall, I have to rate this book a 3 our of 5. As in, it was alright. It is one of those books you get to the end and your like, “aw, that was cute.” But then a couple of months later you forgot you even read it. Tragic. Luckily, this novel doesn’t sway me from reading more LGBT books and I hope to find some better ones in the future.

Common Sense Media Rating: 14+ yrs

Flags: mild sexual references, mild drinking references

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Wild by Cheryl Strayed

wildI grabbed this book off a shelf at Target after months of looking at it and debating it. I had heard a lot about the book and people seemed to rave about the movie. I was pretty stoked to read it for myself (before the movie, of course) and boy, did I make a good decision.

Wild is the true story of a woman named Cheryl Strayed whose life is falling apart. After the death of her mother, a failed marriage, several one night stands and a new flavor for drugs, Cheryl decides it’s time to reclaim her life. After seeing a guide-book for the Pacific Crest Trail at her local REI, Strayed makes the bold decision to hike a major section of it. Wild is not necessarily Strayed’s book of answers, but instead her tale of journeys that would one day lead her down a new path.

I was in awe of this story. This book made me want to pack up my bag and go on a journey of my own! Strayed’s story is impeccable and will show you the true strength of people who have determination. One thing I loved about this book is you don’t hear Strayed’s tales and stories and then listen to her recant what she learned from this. Instead, you see how people become a part of her journey. The ending, while quick, will make the entire book and her entire journey worth it. I give this book a 5 out of 5. I have never read a book that made me feel quite like this. Whether your looking for a novel that will give you a new perspective on life or perhaps you want to be inspired, this book will not fail you. Pick it up and you won’t regret it.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

americansHello again! I actually finished this book about a week ago but was on vacation and decided not to bring my computer. I was mad at myself for not bringing it after I finished the book because I like to write reviews within 24 hours of finishing a novel. Mostly because it is fresh on my mind and my feelings towards the book are clearer. Books can be like relationships: the more time you spend away from it, the more you forget all the stuff you hated about it. Anyways, here is the most accurate review I can give.

The Books of Unknown Americans follows a family of new immigrants to the United States. Alma and Arturo are glad to have found work in the United States because they believe the education there will help their daughter, Maribel, who has been in a bad accident. This book is about the struggles of living in a new place and being an outsider. It is about the hope and extreme sacrifices parents will make for their children. And it is about the ability to forgive not only others, but yourself. With alternating points of view between characters, Henriquez will put you in the shoes of all walks of life and give you a better understanding of what it means to be an American.

Honestly, I really did enjoy this book. I am a huge fan of multilateral literature and I enjoy seeing new perspectives. I found Henriquez’s writing style to be comical at times, hard-hitting and entertaining. This isn’t a novel you pick up because you just want to read. It is a novel you grab when you want to think and explore. I think what is most fascinating is that there isn’t one single story line. Actually, there are lots of things happening and in the end you realize why they all matter. Essentially, it is lifelike. We all have a million different things going on and they often affect each other. Overall, I give this book a four out of five. It is a novel many people can enjoy and gain something from.