All the Ways to Here
- Series: Future Leaders
- Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
- Trigger Warnings: eating disorder mentions
- Rating: 5/5 Stars
All the Ways to Here
In this sequel to Future Leaders of Nowhere, Finn and Willa come home from camp to find everything is different. Even as they grow more sure of their feelings for each other, everything around them feels less certain.
When Finn gets involved in a new community project, she’s forced to question where her priorities lie at school. Meanwhile, her dad has moved interstate, her mother is miserable, and her home feels like a ghost town.
Willa’s discovering how to negotiate the new terrains of romance and school friendships when an accident at home reminds her just how tenuous her family situation is. Suddenly, even with her dad in town, she’s shouldering more responsibility than ever.
As they try to navigate these new worlds together, Finn’s learning she has to figure out what she wants, and Willa how to ask for what she needs.
The Queer’s Review
So worth the wait!
I think I may have a new second favourite book by Emily O’Beirne (Here’s the Thing will probably stay forever in first place)!
You know those romances where the whole book is about the romance and the (most often) two people involved in it? Whenever something not-relationship-y happens it’s only so relationship-y stuff can come out of it? Not here! Of course not here.
Instead Finn and Willa still have their separate lives. Just because you’re in love with someone doesn’t mean there isn’t any everyday stuff to do and that you can’t think about anything different than your partner. And Finn and Willa do have a lot on their plate.
All the Ways to Here picks off where Future Leaders to Nowhere ended and I really love how there isn’t a big time jump between the two books. There was a rather big time jump between me reading the first and then the second book but it didn’t feel like it because I was back in the story from page 1.
I can’t tell you about everything I love about this book, because I’d spoiler the whole book and I really want you to experience it on your own…
I still want to talk about two themes: friendships and expectations.
I love the friendships that are portrayed in All the Ways to Here! They are not without complications and they’re not interchangeable with each other, because guess what? People are different so the relationship you’ve got with one person will be different from that with another person. I especially enjoyed the worry of one character about one of their friend’s eating disorder, because it is well done. I can imagine having the same thoughts and fears about it being true and how to talk to a person about them having an ED.
But the thing that really hit home were expectations. There is a lot of pressure on Finn and Willa about who they should be, what they should do, how they should be. I myself lived my life according to other people’s expectations and I wasn’t happy that way. I wasn’t exactly miserable either (most of the time at least) but that really is no way to live your life. The characters have to deal with different expectations and the way that stress shapes them. I love Emily for not portraying them ‘sweetly’ stressed but have them lashing out if it gets too much.
Okay, I lied… there’s a third theme I want to mention: talking in relationships!
Relationships are about communication. Your partner can’t read your mind, so you have to talk to them. Finn and Willa give a great example about how to talk to your partner about the things that are on your mind and what will happen if you do not talk about it.
I really love how healthy their relationship is portrayed. Like really. So often in YA I roll my eyes or worse have to yell about abusive patterns but this YA book? You won’t see me doing any of this. Instead I’ll yell about how there’s an example on how to deal with your partner when they’re being moody. Spoiler: the answer’s not to extort them!
This book will end up as one of my rare double copies! I already own the ebook on my digital shelf but I HAVE to have the print book on my actual bookshelf as well. This alone should tell you how much I love All the Ways to Here.
I received a free copy through the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.