All the Ways to Here by Emily O’Beirne
Published by: Ylva Publishing
Released: November 1 2017
Read: October 25 2017
All the Ways to Here is a follow up to Future Leaders of Nowhere, which came out back in March this year. I reviewed it back then. I loved meeting back up with Willa and Finn, this time back in their homes, with their families, returning to routine, school, and the expectations thrust upon them in their leadership roles. I know the feeling that Willa describes–she feels different having experienced and lived a different life for three weeks, but back home everything seems to remained the same.
It doesn’t take long for conflicts to emerge. Not between the girls. What I especially loved about All the Ways to Here is that Willa and Finn stay strong despite all the inner turmoil and the external pressures they face, both individually and as a couple. There was one moment where Willa pushes Finn away, and for a tiny minute, it seemed like it might work. But Finn doesn’t give up, and what could have been a terrible mistake instead turns into a poignant and strengthening scene.
While we have dual points of view again, they don’t necessarily follow Willa then Finn, then Willa and so forth. Sometimes we have two chapters by the same character. It didn’t worry me. I was happy following either one. Their stories run in parallel, and while they are always in each other’s lives, some problems are dealt with alone. That’s realistic, and it worked.
Willa’s main concerns involve her absent father reappearing to ‘help’ when Nan is incapacitated. Willa faces conflict but doesn’t really have much time to devote to sorting through her mixed emotions, given she is attempting to parent her younger siblings, pass exams, and substitute for a student leader. Not to mention trying to maintain burgeoning friendships with Amira and Eva. The introvert yearns for quiet and solitude, while everyone else demands attention, opinion and action. She works through it all, and it’s easy to see that Finn by her side is welcome and wanted.
Finn also faces family issues, and her parents’ separation weighs heavily on her mind. As well, her interest in school leadership requirements is waning, and there’s a community group to rescue. Landscape is used to reflect her confusion and descriptions of her art remind us of her romantic side. Finn’s capacity for love and wisdom is really beautifully depicted. As is Willa’s quiet ferocity. It’s great to see these traits develop further, and lead the girls in directions unexpected yet thoroughly fulfilling. I particularly want to mention the way sex is handled here–with delicacy and balance, and with much authenticity.
You can probably tell I really enjoyed this. I don’t usually link to places of purchase, but this is a European publication, even though the author is Australian. It’s not widely available, so I urge you to go to the Ylva Publishing website and purchase any one of Emily’s books. The three I have read have all made me swoon and snort in equal parts. I am a huge fan.
Thanks to Ylva and Emily O”Beirne for advancing me a copy to read. All the Ways to Here comes out on November 1st.