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When Everything Feels Like the Movies

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School is just like a film set: there's The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn't fit in. He's not part of The Crew because he isn't about to do anything unless it's court-appointed; he's not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he's not a School is just like a film set: there's The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn't fit in. He's not part of The Crew because he isn't about to do anything unless it's court-appointed; he's not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he's not a Movie Star because even though everyone know his name like an A-lister, he isn't invited to the cool parties. As the director calls action, Jude is the flamer that lights the set on fire. Before everything turns to ashes from the resulting inferno, Jude drags his best friend Angela off the casting couch and into enough melodrama to incite the paparazzi, all while trying to fend off the haters and win the heart of his favourite co-star Luke Morris. It's a total train wreck! But train wrecks always make the front page.


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School is just like a film set: there's The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn't fit in. He's not part of The Crew because he isn't about to do anything unless it's court-appointed; he's not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he's not a School is just like a film set: there's The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn't fit in. He's not part of The Crew because he isn't about to do anything unless it's court-appointed; he's not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he's not a Movie Star because even though everyone know his name like an A-lister, he isn't invited to the cool parties. As the director calls action, Jude is the flamer that lights the set on fire. Before everything turns to ashes from the resulting inferno, Jude drags his best friend Angela off the casting couch and into enough melodrama to incite the paparazzi, all while trying to fend off the haters and win the heart of his favourite co-star Luke Morris. It's a total train wreck! But train wrecks always make the front page.

30 review for When Everything Feels Like the Movies

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    I tried so hard to like this book. A Canadian LGBT novel - taking a frank and open look at gender identity - sounds like perfection. Unfortunately, though, I found it unrealistic and overly vulgar. Don't get me wrong, I am the kind of reader that likes gritty realism. Don't sugarcoat the world, because the reality is that teens swear and drink and have sex - pretending it doesn't happen changes nothing. But this book's constant vulgarity felt not only gratuitous, but completely fake. I have rarel I tried so hard to like this book. A Canadian LGBT novel - taking a frank and open look at gender identity - sounds like perfection. Unfortunately, though, I found it unrealistic and overly vulgar. Don't get me wrong, I am the kind of reader that likes gritty realism. Don't sugarcoat the world, because the reality is that teens swear and drink and have sex - pretending it doesn't happen changes nothing. But this book's constant vulgarity felt not only gratuitous, but completely fake. I have rarely heard anyone speak like the characters in this book, let alone middle school kids. And the few people who do behave like this are social outcasts. I think the book sets out to be loud, proud and unapologetic. Which is great. Unfortunately, it comes across as melodramatic and unsympathetic towards the main character's transgender identity. There is no emotion or sensitivity in the novel, just a constant stream of unprotected sex, bad taste HIV jokes and drug-taking. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Pinterest

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    May 2017 Update: I still stand by this review (under the spoiler below) because it's an honest depiction of how I felt when I finished reading When Everything Feels Like the Movies back in 2015. But I just reread the book and... I feel a little differently now. Not a lot differently, but my perspective has shifted enough that I think I need to update this review for the sake of honesty. I'm still biased. Let's start with that. I still pick up this book determined to love it, because I'm still ups May 2017 Update: I still stand by this review (under the spoiler below) because it's an honest depiction of how I felt when I finished reading When Everything Feels Like the Movies back in 2015. But I just reread the book and... I feel a little differently now. Not a lot differently, but my perspective has shifted enough that I think I need to update this review for the sake of honesty. I'm still biased. Let's start with that. I still pick up this book determined to love it, because I'm still upset about the hoopla surrounding the content, and I am nothing if not fuelled by spite. This book forces you to pick a side, and I am firmly on the side of thinking this is a great and powerful piece of literature. Would I love the book as much as I do without the controversy surrounding its Governor General win? Would I feel this book is brilliant if it weren't for the petition calling on the GG's award to be rescinded? Would I have read it three times if not for that National Post article? I don't know. This is a book that's impossible to separate from its controversial context. The first [couple of] time[s] I read this book, I got a little blindsided by the content. I think it's partially because... well, the book is about a boy who gets killed for asking another boy to be his valentine. It's based on a real hate crime. I've grown up on books from the 80s and 90s where, if there are gay characters, they are sad, terrible things happen to them, and then they serve as a vaguely inspirational and touching lesson for the straight characters. Sanitized tragedy, that's what I was expecting/dreading based on my reading history. Boy, that is not this book. Jude, the main character, is brash, horny, crude, unapologetic. He is obsessed with the glitz, glamour, and shallow intensity of Hollywood. He thinks about his father when he masturbates; he describes Jesus as a naked guy in bondage. He is the most fantastically audacious eighth grader I have ever encountered in fiction. And if all you focus on is the shock side of things, you miss out on the rest of the book -- or, at least, I did initially. I missed out on how the shock value and the superficiality, they're like armour, and this book explores what it means when that armour is no longer enough. Yes, Jude is sometimes shocking, but that's the point, and his depiction is perfect. He's a prickly character who pushes people to lash out at him because, hey, any attention is good attention. When people write hateful things on his locker, he knows that they're just obsessed with him and that's the price of fame. He can take a jeering crowd and turn it into the cheers of his fans in his mind. That kind of image takes a lot of strength to keep up. But there are cracks in it -- his interactions with Abel, the way he protects Keefer, the discussions of Schrodinger's cat and the idea of being boxed in -- and they reveal an isolated existence that he's desperate to get away from. And that, I think, is the great strength of this novel: the layers that Raziel Reid reveals and hides. There are so many things going on in this story. Jude's narrating from after his death; he treats everything like a film set; he's an unreliable narrator; he uses shock value as a weapon; he wants to make everyone flinch, and that extends to the readers, too. If you peel all of that away? You're kind of left with your own heart breaking. (view spoiler)[Original review: So, I'm biased. Might as well get this out of the way at the start, because this is a tough book to give an unbiased, uninfluenced opinion about. If it weren't for the controversy surrounding When Everything Feels Like the Movies and people calling for its Governor General's award to be revoked, I probably wouldn't have given this such a high rating. In fact, I know I wouldn't have -- the first time I tried to read this book, I wound up putting it down a couple of chapters in. That doesn't mean that it doesn't deserve a high rating -- no, I mean every single one of those stars. It just means that I'm evaluating this book differently now. Let me explain. This book is uncomfortable to read. The treatment that Jude receives is horrifying and heartbreaking. And it was a shock to find out these kids were just in grade 8 -- I was expecting them to be in their last years of high school, at least, and I guess that's a testament to my naive view of what it means to be in middle school. So, it's uncomfortable and upsetting to read. And that's why I had to try a couple of times in order to read it. That's why I initially would have given it a low rating. The characters are fantastic, especially Jude. The book is well-written. But it just isn't... enjoyable to read. But this whole controversy surrounding the book made me question my ratings. Why should I have to enjoy the book? Especially a book that's been inspired by true events? The actual process of reading the book may not have been easy and enjoyable, but I like that it exists, I like that people are talking about it, I like the discussions that are coming from it. This is an important book, and you should read it. (hide spoiler)]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karyn Huenemann

    One star, as it is impossible to present a negative number. Sometimes the end justifies the means, but in this case nothing would. While I find the veiled stories of the characters Angela and Luke intriguing, the persona of the protagonist, Jude, is not just disturbed (understandably) but highly disturbing. The uncanniness of the text is largely derived from the author's inability with characterization: namely, inability at depicting characters of a consistent age. At rare times, Jude and his fe One star, as it is impossible to present a negative number. Sometimes the end justifies the means, but in this case nothing would. While I find the veiled stories of the characters Angela and Luke intriguing, the persona of the protagonist, Jude, is not just disturbed (understandably) but highly disturbing. The uncanniness of the text is largely derived from the author's inability with characterization: namely, inability at depicting characters of a consistent age. At rare times, Jude and his fellow students feel like they might be the middle-school students that they are cast as, but Angela's abortion-as-birth-control habit (she has use this method at least more than once), and the explicit drug-related and sexual language (and activities) suggest not only older students, but youth who are edgy in a way that would set them farther apart from society than Reid's characters are positioned. In this forum (goodreads) I cannot (should not) quote the novel, but opening the book at any page spread will permit readers to find evidence of the level of sexual knowledge and activity these middle-school students are purportedly engaged in. When Everything Feels Like the Movies has just won the Governor-General Award for Children's Literature for 2014. I can't think why. It is certainly FAR from the "best English-language ... [children's] book" in Canada this year.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Hartman

    This book is not going to be to everyone's taste, I'd better say that off the bat. In large part, it wasn't to my taste, and YET. It was just so heartbreaking and true, and I have to tip my hat to that in a big way even if it made me squirm kind of a lot. By weird chance, I read The Fault in Our Stars at the same time as this book, and I think TFIOS suffered by the comparison. Both are tragic (well, kinda -- TFIOS veers more toward the bittersweet) but TFIOS came across as so sterile and calculat This book is not going to be to everyone's taste, I'd better say that off the bat. In large part, it wasn't to my taste, and YET. It was just so heartbreaking and true, and I have to tip my hat to that in a big way even if it made me squirm kind of a lot. By weird chance, I read The Fault in Our Stars at the same time as this book, and I think TFIOS suffered by the comparison. Both are tragic (well, kinda -- TFIOS veers more toward the bittersweet) but TFIOS came across as so sterile and calculated by comparison. Which is not fair to TFIOS, I'm pretty sure, but there you go. Sometimes reading ain't fair. I had been going to dock this book a star because the kids are in jr high when they seem a lot older to me, and this was causing me some dissonance. However, I have since learned that it was inspired by a true incident, of an 8th grader who was murdered after asking another boy to be his Valentine. I have to allow, therefore, that maybe it's not implausible that these are 8th graders, but it is in fact my antique prudishness that can't quite accept it. Anyway, this is super painful. The whole last chapter... I wanted it all to be his imagination. My mind was frantically back-pedalling the whole time, no no no, this doesn't happen, he was going to get out, I JUST WANT HIM TO BE OK, no no no. I tell you this to warn you. This is not a beautiful or redemptive book. It's bleak, but it managed to convince me that it was also necessary. And it made TFIOS feel like a movie, distant and flickery and ultimately cold.

  5. 4 out of 5

    CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian

    It might be hard to believe that a queer young adult novel written by a debut author, only twenty-four, won a Governor General’s award for children’s literature, especially when the said novel is about a flamboyant, gender non-conformist, foul-mouthed kid with a stripper mom and a self-described slut for a best friend. Especially when this is a novel about a hate crime that refuses the paint the queer teenager as a victim. But that’s exactly what’s happened to When Everything Feels Like the Movi It might be hard to believe that a queer young adult novel written by a debut author, only twenty-four, won a Governor General’s award for children’s literature, especially when the said novel is about a flamboyant, gender non-conformist, foul-mouthed kid with a stripper mom and a self-described slut for a best friend. Especially when this is a novel about a hate crime that refuses the paint the queer teenager as a victim. But that’s exactly what’s happened to When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid. It’s no wonder people have been captivated by this novel: the main character Jude’s voice is one that grabs you by the collar right from the beginning and doesn’t let go. Jude spends the majority of the book painting his life in Hollywood colour, hoping to escape the mundanity of small-town life in a largely homophobic place. He wants you to believe the glossy Hollywoodizing retake of his life, and you do, even while you glimpse the harsh reality beneath the facade. For readers and for Jude, the divide between pretend and real is thin, irrelevant; as Jude says, “And it felt so real, I didn’t know when I was dreaming.” “If I were there [Hollywood],” he tells us, “it would be real. I would be real.” His persistence in re-imagining his life is a testament to the power of the queer imagination as a survival strategy. For him, “faggot” written on his locker is simply a letter from one of his die-hard fans.... Read my entire review here: https://caseythecanadianlesbrarian.wo...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    I don't often give 5 star ratings, but this is, without a doubt, one of the best YA novels I have ever read. This book is essential reading for anyone that is part of or considers themselves allied with any LGBTQ community. First, let's address the controversy surrounding this book. Winner of the 2014 Governor General's Award for Children's Fiction, this book has met constant challenges because of its head-on discussion of teenagers, sexuality, and drug and alcohol use. Before I read the novel, I don't often give 5 star ratings, but this is, without a doubt, one of the best YA novels I have ever read. This book is essential reading for anyone that is part of or considers themselves allied with any LGBTQ community. First, let's address the controversy surrounding this book. Winner of the 2014 Governor General's Award for Children's Fiction, this book has met constant challenges because of its head-on discussion of teenagers, sexuality, and drug and alcohol use. Before I read the novel, I thought, what a bunch of prudish censorholics, trying to tell young people what they can and can not read! But then I read the novel and gained a little more understanding for the other side of that argument. Yes, there are some passages in this novel that bear a resemblance to paragraphs that might have been published in Penthouse Letters. Yes, it is explicit in its descriptions of how teenagers view sex. Yes, it portrays drug and alcohol consumption in a kind of glamorous, enticing way. Yes, it is alarming and shocking in its frankness. Yes, it could offend many people. No, it does not embody many of the values that parents want to teach to their adolescent children today. But, as a librarian, would I remove it from the shelf? No. Absolutely not. As a librarian, would I warn parents and young people of the subject matter? Yes. Readers should be aware that this book may greatly offend and that reading this book might expose them to ideas that are extremely challenging. It's kinda what makes this book so important. If this book had found its way into my hands when I was twelve, it would have changed the outcome of my life. A book like this simply did not exist for gay teenagers when I was of that age. Had I read this novel back then, I imagine I would have experienced profound relief that there were others like me somewhere out there in the world... that other people were writing about the thoughts and experiences I was having every minute of everyday would have changed my entire perception of the small-town world around me. I would have had SOMETHING to relate to, to grab onto, that didn't make me feel like I was a mistake or that I was alone. This book validates the struggle of gay teenagers and, even though it uses strong language and 18A description, it does so with a dignity that allows a young person to directly relate. I'm certain that this book will make every reader pause and give serious thought to how real the struggle is for LGBTQ youth. And for that, I feel the value of this book vastly outweighs any of the objectionable swear words or drug scenes or sexual encounters that are described in its pages . It is a truly brilliant piece of writing, deserving of all the awards and accolades that have been thrown its way, and equally deserving of all the criticism and challenges it has received. In an age of Twilights and Divergents, it is VITAL that books like this remain on the shelf. Reading it is MANDATORY. 5/5

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    “I didn’t know that having it all is boring. When you have nothing, you have dreams.” When Everything Feels Like The Movies is one of those novels that is surrounded by controversy. Many thought that the themes within the story were way too intense and mature for a young adult audience in which this book is marketed towards. Although I agree that the themes were shocking and graphic at times I found myself thinking back to when I was a teenager and I really do believe that I would not have found “I didn’t know that having it all is boring. When you have nothing, you have dreams.” When Everything Feels Like The Movies is one of those novels that is surrounded by controversy. Many thought that the themes within the story were way too intense and mature for a young adult audience in which this book is marketed towards. Although I agree that the themes were shocking and graphic at times I found myself thinking back to when I was a teenager and I really do believe that I would not have found this as disturbing as most might think. After re-reading that synopsis I realized that it definitely makes the book seem a little bit more campy and humorous, but I can tell you right now that this story was anything but. When Everything Feels Like The Movies is downright graphic from the language the characters speak to its descriptive scenarios. There were definite moments within the novel that had me second guessing whether or not I had actually picked up a young adult novel or if it was rather meant for an entirely more mature audience. "‘Sweetheart,’ I said, ‘train wrecks always make the front page.’" Jude does not have an easy life. He is constantly bullied by his classmates for bravely expressing his true self and it seems as though no one cares about his well-being other than his best friend Angela for the most part. He is bullied in ways that disturbed me personally and I don’t ever want to believe this is happening in reality, even though sadly I know that this is probably the case. As a result of this constant bullying, Jude begins to imagine himself as a famous movie star. He likes to believe that everyone is just jealous of his star quality and that those who bully him are just his jealous haters. Although some may think that he is being strong and ignoring his tormentors, I believe that his acting this way is probably some form of a mental disorder. It’s the only way that he can ignore how he actually feels and I personally believe that this is not a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, I had the ending of this novel spoiled for me accidentally through Goodreads. Someone had compared it to the true story that this novel is based on and gave away a key detail that I otherwise would not have seen coming. It is a scene that I believe would have shocked me and left me an emotional wreck, but unfortunately it had been ruined for me. I honestly believe that even though this story is gritty, dark and graphic, there is a definite lesson to be learned here. Young adults are very much desensitized nowadays and it takes a lot more to scar someone mentally than it used to. I think that young adults could definitely learn a lot from this novel, especially about the way that they treat one another.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Two pages into this book, I thought I'd have to put it down and not finish it. But because I'll be in the audience for the first day of Canada Reads in March (this book is one of the competing titles), I really wanted to read it beforehand. I finished it, but every page was honestly a struggle for me. I'm no literary prude, by any means, but this book was so, so explicit, crude and vulgar. I'm really surprised this is marketed as YA fiction, because it seems intended for a much older, mature aud Two pages into this book, I thought I'd have to put it down and not finish it. But because I'll be in the audience for the first day of Canada Reads in March (this book is one of the competing titles), I really wanted to read it beforehand. I finished it, but every page was honestly a struggle for me. I'm no literary prude, by any means, but this book was so, so explicit, crude and vulgar. I'm really surprised this is marketed as YA fiction, because it seems intended for a much older, mature audience than 12 - 18 year olds. And since we know younger kids tend to "read up", there are probably 10 year olds reading this. Again - NOT a prude when it comes to reading, and I truly believe that literary censorship is absolutely wrong, but I would not want my hypothetical 12 year old reading this. I think it's incredibly important that there's representative fiction for all teens, that younger readers can discover protagonists who are more like them, from a wider range of backgrounds, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc. but there has GOT to be better LGBT YA (yikes, that's a lot of letters!) out there, right?? Also, a minor quibble in light of all the other things I hated about this book - the pop culture references. In 50 years - nay, in 10 - are readers really going to know/care about "the Hemsworth brothers"? I think this book will feel really dated in just a few years. If this book wins Canada Reads 2015, I will lose all faith in humanity.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    I was really looking forward to reading this book based on the theme alone and I really, really wanted to like it but I just found it overly-provocative and disturbing. (A new trend it would seem in books and on screen.) And, call me naive, but there's no way that I could believe that the characters were from middle school. They definitely read like they were seniors in high school, not kids in grade 8. It was disappointing because I believe it could have been an important book for this day and I was really looking forward to reading this book based on the theme alone and I really, really wanted to like it but I just found it overly-provocative and disturbing. (A new trend it would seem in books and on screen.) And, call me naive, but there's no way that I could believe that the characters were from middle school. They definitely read like they were seniors in high school, not kids in grade 8. It was disappointing because I believe it could have been an important book for this day and age but, unfortunately, I found that it's message was lost in the unnecessary, overly-sexualized details. I really just want to ask the author to try again, but since the book won the Governor General's Literary Award, I doubt he'd be interested.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nina Rossing

    The strangest, weirdest, most shocking and disturbing, yet beautiful, funny, honest, surprising and heartbreaking novel I've read in a long time. The strangest, weirdest, most shocking and disturbing, yet beautiful, funny, honest, surprising and heartbreaking novel I've read in a long time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    I read this book for book club and it led to an amazing discussion! When Everything Feels Like The Movies, by Raziel Reid, is one of the saddest books I have ever read. The story certainly validates the struggle of gay teenagers. Main character Jude chose to live his life as if he was in a movie which I thought was a brilliant coping mechanism for him. Author Raziel Reid gives us captivating characters that had me on a roller coaster of emotions. Such a powerful yet tragic story!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chelsey

    It's so difficult to rate a book when you may not "enjoy" it, but you understand the powerful message behind it. This book had a plethora of horrible characters, who do horrible things; some because they are cruel, others because they just want to be loved. Jude, our narrator, disguises his difficult life by pretending he is the star in a film. The bullies are jealous tabloids, those who sympathize with him are his adoring fans, his small town is a Beverly Hills Boulevard. All he dreams of is ge It's so difficult to rate a book when you may not "enjoy" it, but you understand the powerful message behind it. This book had a plethora of horrible characters, who do horrible things; some because they are cruel, others because they just want to be loved. Jude, our narrator, disguises his difficult life by pretending he is the star in a film. The bullies are jealous tabloids, those who sympathize with him are his adoring fans, his small town is a Beverly Hills Boulevard. All he dreams of is getting out of the town and moving to L.A. where he can flourish in his own skin and receive all the adoration he knows he deserves. Until then, he will spend his days getting high with his best friend, Angela, fellow outcast and bohemian who loves sex and dislikes protection. Through all the terrible treatment he receives at school, Jude refuses to be silenced and pushes back on anyone who pushes him. He will wear his lipstick and nail polish, he will hit on the boys at school, laugh in the face of name-calling. When I finally finished the book, my heart ached. Raziel Reid makes sure that no one turns a blind eye to the horrors that can happen at such a young age, and also fiercely advocates for our right to be whoever we want to be. I've already talked three of my co-worker's ears off about this and it's not even 9am yet. I have a feeling we will be talking about this for a long time.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cora Tea Party Princess

    5 Words: Not my cup of tea. DNF at 6% (I tried, really) I think this is a love it or hate it book. Unfortunately, I hated it. I just couldn't get with the style of the narrative. It was overly crass and vulgar and graphic and absolutely not my cup of tea. I was a little let down by my own expectations too, I was expecting something so much more. I can see why some other people will like it, but those things ain't my thang at all. I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes. 5 Words: Not my cup of tea. DNF at 6% (I tried, really) I think this is a love it or hate it book. Unfortunately, I hated it. I just couldn't get with the style of the narrative. It was overly crass and vulgar and graphic and absolutely not my cup of tea. I was a little let down by my own expectations too, I was expecting something so much more. I can see why some other people will like it, but those things ain't my thang at all. I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maddie

    This book was definitely not my taste. So much violence and explicitness. I really felt for the main character, for having to deal with such a horrible life, but I squirm away from books with this many drug references, abusive relationship and general discomfort. This did win an award for children's literature, but I thought it was entirely inappropriate for that age group. This book was definitely not my taste. So much violence and explicitness. I really felt for the main character, for having to deal with such a horrible life, but I squirm away from books with this many drug references, abusive relationship and general discomfort. This did win an award for children's literature, but I thought it was entirely inappropriate for that age group.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Max

    A special thanks to Edelweiss for providing me a free DRC in exchange for an honest review If this book is anything, it's a testament of how fucked up Generation Y is. Like, no shit. We're a bunch of self-entitled, egotistical, assholes who hate everything for not being exactly the way we want them. I've come to learn that reviewing LGBT books is kind of hard. The main character in this book is a stereotype through-and-through. He's vain, horny, and wears makeup and heels, but the difference betw A special thanks to Edelweiss for providing me a free DRC in exchange for an honest review If this book is anything, it's a testament of how fucked up Generation Y is. Like, no shit. We're a bunch of self-entitled, egotistical, assholes who hate everything for not being exactly the way we want them. I've come to learn that reviewing LGBT books is kind of hard. The main character in this book is a stereotype through-and-through. He's vain, horny, and wears makeup and heels, but the difference between him and other stereotypical gay guys is that Jude isn't just a stereotype. He's stereotypical, but far from the stereotype. Let me clarify. When Everything Feels like the Movies revolves around Jude, a gay teenager living in a nameless small town. Jude's voice is so distinct and real, I can think of several people who remind me of Jude in my own life. Jude is one of those people who think they're destined for fame, despite the fact they have no real talent. He narrates the story like he's a movie star; taking directions from a director, reading from a script, and taking breaks from all the action in his trailer. Joining him is his best friend, Angela, a slut in her purest form. I really liked this chick and thought she and Jude made a fabulous duo. Reid really hit the nail on the head creating these characters, because they're just so real. A problem I've noticed in YA is that the teenagers aren't teenagers. The narrators are all pearl-clenching girls who don't act like teens. In Reid's novel, they're defiantly teenagers. They're horny, bitchy, awful, and high on whatever they can get. It's refreshing to read about teenagers who are open with their sexual escapades and drug use. There are at least two scenes where Angela and Jude are high off of something and the constant references to masturbation, pornography, and just all around sex is the teenage mind in a nut shell. These characters aren't looked down for what they do, nor are they a warning for anyone who thinks about experimenting. They're just kids, real kids. And since we're on the subject of experimenting, let's talk about that. Obviously Jude is gay and he doesn't let that get in his way. He fully embraces who he is by wearing dresses and heels and makeup. But throughout the entire novel, Jude is never Gay Jude. He wasn't some stereotype that did those things because he was gay. Jude wore what he wore and said what he said because he was Jude, not because of his sexuality. It's a great message when people are screaming that all stereotypes are bad and not everyone is or has to conform to said stereotype. But, those messages often forget about the ones who ARE the stereotype. This book says fuck all that shit and just rock the fuck out. As for plot...there wasn't one. It was character driven more then anything else, but I don't think Reid really had a beginning, middle, and end planned out. I think he went, "I like this guy" and just started writing about Jude until he was over. This book was meant to show the readers Jude's world. That world includes: Glamour Makeup Pop culture references Sex More sex Drugs Discrimination Self-Mutilation Bullying And to top it all off...these characters are in 8th grade. Yep, they're in MIDDLE SCHOOL. This can be a sore point for readers who either avoid books about middle school (like me) or think that this is in no way appropriate for middle schoolers. And I guess they're right, Jude's story isn't for most middle schoolers, high schoolers defiantly, but middle schoolers are stretching it. But, again, this is an accurate portrayal of teenagers. Middle school was a cesspool of hormones and cheap highs. I liked this book so much, because it doesn't dumb anything down. It says, this is how teenagers act, deal with it. And I appreciate that.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Scott Robins

    A difficult book to read and an even more difficult book to review. I came to When Everything Feels Like The Movies after hearing about both its award accolades and its detractors for the unflinchingly brutal content. This was a bleak read and for the first 2/3rds of the book I was ready to give this book a bad review - the writing felt shallow, far too immersed in extremes and shocking for shocking's sake. The characters felt utterly unlikable. But then something shifted for me the last 3rd of A difficult book to read and an even more difficult book to review. I came to When Everything Feels Like The Movies after hearing about both its award accolades and its detractors for the unflinchingly brutal content. This was a bleak read and for the first 2/3rds of the book I was ready to give this book a bad review - the writing felt shallow, far too immersed in extremes and shocking for shocking's sake. The characters felt utterly unlikable. But then something shifted for me the last 3rd of the book. The relentless attacks on Jude from all sides (his family, his friends and his fellow students) and his own ways of combating this started to make sense and I could really understand his desperation. My own personal reaction to this book was mainly - "why are people still writing these kinds of bleak books where queer kids are getting so abused" - the reason is...it still happens. And this is why a brutally honest and raw book like this needs to be published.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hilary Friesen

    This is a beautiful novel, and all the more stunning for being the writer’s first. The voice of his main character, Jude, is crystal clear - it grabs your attention from the first page and doesn’t let go. Jude imagines his life as a tabloid celebrity, and I wanted to believe in his glossy re-imagining even as the heartbreaking reality showed through the cracks in his facade. Jude is a character I rooted for even when I knew he was pushing boundaries and making questionable choices. He is larger This is a beautiful novel, and all the more stunning for being the writer’s first. The voice of his main character, Jude, is crystal clear - it grabs your attention from the first page and doesn’t let go. Jude imagines his life as a tabloid celebrity, and I wanted to believe in his glossy re-imagining even as the heartbreaking reality showed through the cracks in his facade. Jude is a character I rooted for even when I knew he was pushing boundaries and making questionable choices. He is larger than life and determined to live beyond the limits of his small town and the rigid hierarchies of high school. There is sexual content, violence and strong language that will make me take a reader’s age and sensitivities into account when recommending, but otherwise I will be enthusiastically sharing this book with friends.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Everyone fell into one of three categories: 1. The Crew: They made things happen. They took over the honour roll, sports teams, extracurricular activities, and clubs. They had the most volunteer credits and were first to raise their hands whenever the teacher asked a question. They weren’t necessarily the smartest, most talented, or prettiest, but they were involved. Without the crew, nothing would ever get done, and we’d all be wandering down the hallways in search of our marks. 2. The Extras: Al Everyone fell into one of three categories: 1. The Crew: They made things happen. They took over the honour roll, sports teams, extracurricular activities, and clubs. They had the most volunteer credits and were first to raise their hands whenever the teacher asked a question. They weren’t necessarily the smartest, most talented, or prettiest, but they were involved. Without the crew, nothing would ever get done, and we’d all be wandering down the hallways in search of our marks. 2. The Extras: All the misfits, outcasts, and social rejects. If you were as chipped as my nail polish and didn’t belong, you were an extra—kind of the opposite of the Crew. They were there, but you didn’t really know it; they were just bodies in desks filling space, anonymous smiles in faded school photos on a boulevard of broken dreams 3. The Movie Stars: No one thinks they’re more special than they do, but everyone wants to be tagged in a Facebook picture with the stars and get their autographs in the yearbook. They’re selfish, spoiled, and overly sexed. There isn’t much beyond the surface of their flawlessly airbrushed skin, and everyone talks about them behind their backs. Their eyes light up when you can do something for them, and everything that comes out of their mouths is totally fake. I didn’t fit into any category. I definitely wasn’t a part of the Crew; I wasn’t about to be involved in anything unless it was court-appointed. I wasn’t an Extra because the last thing I could ever be was anonymous. But I wasn’t a Movie Star either because, even though everyone knew my name, I wasn’t invited to the cool parties. So there was me, the flamer that lit the set on fire. *** Raziel Reid’s When Everything Feels Like the Movies is a little like American Beauty: The Teenage Years in that it telegraphs the downfall of its doomed protagonist Jude Rothesay from very early on. However, this awareness does not hurt or in any way lessen the impact of what is in the end a tightly constructed life-as-a-stage allegory, complete with filmic idolatry and requisite amounts of love, lust, and all associated melodrama. The novel begins post-Christmas break. Jude (nicknamed Judy by the more homophobic of his classmates) and his BFF Angela are a pair of almost-outcasts navigating their school on the periphery of the popular crowd. Jude is desperate to escape his small, unnamed town in the middle of nowhere, where he fears he is likely to become “the next Matthew Shepard!” In his eyes, he’s destined for stardom—for the success, for the admiration, for the scandal, for everything that term entails. But first, he’s got to get the hell out of dodge with his skin intact. Easier said than done when your mom’s a stripper and your allowance is doled out in singles; when your stepfather’s a drug user with a mean streak who disappears occasionally and without warning; and when the bullies at school are hashtagging your demise as if Twitter were the new The National Enquirer. But Jude is determined. He won’t let the bastards win, even at the cost of his own life. What’s clear from very early on is that both Jude and Angela are seeking love. It’s the driving force for much of their young lives, at least for the duration of this story. In Angela’s case, the love she seeks is akin to acceptance—she’s filling the holes in her life by sleeping her way to the top of the food chain. She wishes Jude were not gay because in him she sees her other half, more than just a partner in crime. But since he is gay and therefore unavailable to her in the ways she needs most—physical—she’ll climb higher and higher, even if it means wounding Jude in the process. Jude, similarly, desires a love he can never have—Luke, one of the bullies who torments him with some regularity (or, at the very least, associates with the worst of the bullies, Matt, who early on attempts to cave Jude’s head in with a skateboard). But where Angela seeks acceptance, Jude seeks adoration—he isn’t content skimming the perimeter of the world’s stage; he wants to be front and centre, the focal point of whatever audience he can acquire. To this end, the novel is told via the language of film. Each chapter is another stage or element inherent to the film industry: “Preproduction”; “Flash Back”; “Fight Sequence”; “Director’s Cut”; and my favourite, “9021-Opiate.” But the novel isn’t just an allegory for stardom—Jude presents himself to the world as a star on the rise, as someone about to explode into the public consciousness if only he can get himself in front of the right people. Despite the abuse Jude suffers from some of his more Neanderthal-like classmates and his stepfather Ray, there exist positive influences in his life: there’s Keefer, Ray’s son, who looks up to Jude, who loves him, completely, for who he is; there’s Mr. Dawson, the teacher who offers Jude such sage advice as it’s better to be hated for being oneself than loved for being a construct or a phony; there’s even Jude’s biological father, who shows up with a gift—several missed birthdays all in one—that has the potential to change Jude’s life for the better. But that potential is moot, because we know going in that this is a tragedy, that it won’t have a happy ending. That the father who shows up in the twist that closes out the second act can’t really save Jude’s life; that the best friend who had his back throughout all the shit not fit to print won’t really be there when it matters most; that sometimes it’s not enough to have only dreams. And that the strange love pentagon that has formed around them will only lead to crushing disappointment and betrayal. Reid’s writing is sharp, and quite visual. The novel has a kinetic pace to everything in this book; it’s easy to imagine this story as a screenplay. His visual acuity is most on-point, however, in one of the novel’s most violent scenes, when Jude is horribly abused in a bathroom stall at school, after things get out of hand with Luke: “I tried to speak, but it was like the bathroom mirror had broken in my throat.” Perfect. Horrifyingly perfect. There wasn’t much that didn’t work for me in Reid’s novel. About the only thing I struggled with was the speed and suddenness of Angela’s about-face in the final chapter. It was so quick, so harsh, and seemingly without any remorse that it felt like character assassination—it was like the author had flipped a switch inside Angela and turned off her former self. Granted she was on the defensive because of ways she feels that Jude had jilted her or pushed her aside, but the transformation was so complete that it felt like a brand new character introduced in the final act just to drive that last tragic nail in Jude’s coffin. As stated at the beginning of this review, When Everything Feels Like the Movies is very American Beauty-esque in its ending, which is unjust yet strangely cathartic. Because even as Jude is turning the last page of his script, he remains strong, remains in the only spotlight that ever mattered: his own.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Claire (Book Blog Bird)

    I knew literally nothing about this book going in. I had no idea about the controversy that surrounded it, that it was awarded the Governor General’s award in Canada or that there were calls for the award to be revoked and I knew nothing about the author. All I knew about it was the blurb (which sounded interesting) the cover (which looked gorgeous) and that it was being published in the UK by Little, Brown (whose books I have a track record of really enjoying). From the blurb, I understood that I knew literally nothing about this book going in. I had no idea about the controversy that surrounded it, that it was awarded the Governor General’s award in Canada or that there were calls for the award to be revoked and I knew nothing about the author. All I knew about it was the blurb (which sounded interesting) the cover (which looked gorgeous) and that it was being published in the UK by Little, Brown (whose books I have a track record of really enjoying). From the blurb, I understood that this is a story about a kid called Jude. Gay and cross-dressing, he is stuck in a school that is basically a movie set - you have the Crew, the Extras and the Movie Stars and no one is really real, least of all Jude and all this is set to come to a head when Jude asks the boy he has a crush on to the Valentine’s Day dance. What I was anticipating from this book: something akin to Hold Me Closer, The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan. What I got: not that. Which isn’t to say either book is better or worse, just that they were about as different as it’s possible for two stories to be whilst having similar underlying themes. So to start, I want to point out that I really admired this book. It made for difficult reading at times, very difficult, but it was completely compelling and the themes it explores are really important. One of the best things I found about this book was the way it shines a light on hate crimes and shows that despite the huge advances that have been made in the last couple of decades surrounding LGBTQIA rights, there is still a lot of work to be done. Jude is subjected to near-constant abuse, mostly verbal but sometimes physical, both at home and at school, and yet he refuses to be a victim. Instead of hiding and biding his time until he can escape his horrible small town, which you’d totally understand him doing, he plays up to the cameras and gives his classmates exactly what they’ve come to expect from him: star quality. When walking down the street, he envisions the sad, shingled houses as Beverly Hills Mansions. When someone scrawls ‘faggot’ on his locker door, it’s really just a love letter from an adoring fan. He and his friend Angela dull the edges of their lives by indulging in sex (Angela) and drugs (both of them) and Jude constantly lays a Hollywood filter over everything he experiences. The writing is shocking, in that the author deliberately sets out to shock the reader. Jude and Angela speak in a casually offensive way and the things they do are fairly eyebrow-raising, but still totally believable. I hate the word gritty, but I’m struggling to think of a better word. This book is gritty. There is a huge juxtaposition between Jude’s glamorous outlook and the depressing facts of his life. Only sometimes do cracks in Jude’s narrative appear and we see the harsh reality of his existence. About halfway through the book I had a brief look on the internet at the background to this book and found out that this was actually based on a true story. In some ways The only thing I wasn’t sure about with this book was an aspect of the protagonists. I started off reading it, and pretty soon realised that it was a bit darker than I had anticipated: there are lots of sexual references (like, a lot) and references to drug-taking, neither of which I have a problem with in YA, I hasten to add. No problem, I thought, and adjusted my reading expectations. Then I found out that the protagonists were in middle school! Middle school! That means they’re like fifteen years old! Bloomin’ heck, I thought, and re-adjusted my expectations of the book again. Now, I need to point out that I’m not anti books that reference fifteen year olds having sex or taking drugs - it takes a very naive sort of person to think that these things don’t happen in real life - but up until that point I had assumed that they were in high school, possibly seniors. But they were fifteen! And then I started to question why I was so surprised at their ages. God knows, fifteen year olds have sex and take drugs. It may be less widespread in that age group, but it definitely happens, especially in miserable towns where there are few prospects and even fewer things to do of an evening. These situations don’t horrify me and I don’t think they should be banned from YA literature. So what was it that bothered me so much? Then I realised. It wasn’t so much that Jude and Angela were in these situations, it was their reaction to them. They were both just so utterly cynical and world-weary. That was the thing that, for me, didn’t really ring true. Their attitudes were those of people much older than fifteen. It jarred slightly and while it may have affected my enjoyment very slightly, it didn’t impact my respect for what this book is trying to do. I think there are going to be people who say this book shouldn’t be read by younger teenagers, that it deals with themes that are too mature for their impressionable minds. It’s one of the things about the YA classification - you have YA books like the Lunar Chronicles, which I would (and have) happily recommended to nine-year-olds, but this book? My initial reaction was to only recommend this book for ages seventeen and up, but do you know what? I was reading Stephen King, Jilly Cooper and James Herbert when I was thirteen and I got along with those books just fine, so actually I would say that this book is acceptable for around thirteen years and upwards. I definitely think it’s a book that educators, parents and young adults alike should read as I think we could all learn a lot from it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jay DeMoir

    A heartbreaking read but I thoroughly enjoyed it! It's been on my shelf for awhile and I finally got around to it and I'm glad I did. I truly believe Jude acted the way he did as a way to cope. It's difficult being a member of the LGBT community during those school years. A lot of LGBT members experience bullying and it takes a toll. Being extremely extra seemed to be Jude's coping mechanism and also seemed to keep him from truly being a victim of his circumstances...for a time, However, I love t A heartbreaking read but I thoroughly enjoyed it! It's been on my shelf for awhile and I finally got around to it and I'm glad I did. I truly believe Jude acted the way he did as a way to cope. It's difficult being a member of the LGBT community during those school years. A lot of LGBT members experience bullying and it takes a toll. Being extremely extra seemed to be Jude's coping mechanism and also seemed to keep him from truly being a victim of his circumstances...for a time, However, I love that he lived his life unapologetically. Unfortunately, it's hard to believe that the characters are supposed to be in middle school with the excessive sex, drugs, and abortion pieces. They definitely read more so like they were seniors in high school, rather than the 8th graders they were written in the book to be.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I read this book to celebrate Freedome to Read Week. Protective parents and children's authors claim loudly that this book is not meant for their innocent children's malleable minds, and should not be promoted or endorsed by the coveted literary award it has already received. I don't claim to read a wide range of YA fiction, but this book encapsulates the perfect mix of dark reality and fanciful imagination that teens go through. To exclaim that this book has a negative impact on today's youth i I read this book to celebrate Freedome to Read Week. Protective parents and children's authors claim loudly that this book is not meant for their innocent children's malleable minds, and should not be promoted or endorsed by the coveted literary award it has already received. I don't claim to read a wide range of YA fiction, but this book encapsulates the perfect mix of dark reality and fanciful imagination that teens go through. To exclaim that this book has a negative impact on today's youth is to erase those young boys and girls in Canada who have committed suicide before their thirteenth birthday, due to the daily harassment and intolerance they've faced. The entire cast of characters in Jude's life are heinous and harmful, but not because they are having unprotected sex or getting high in school bathrooms. It's because they mock the gender-bending choices of their classmate, they put a young boy in hospital for expressing himself. Jude is constantly wavers between martyrdom and stardom; both experiences are often real, and often imagined. This is a powerful book for children, young adults, and parents to read. The sex and drugs won't shock the young adults this book is geared for, but it might make them see their classmates, cousins, brothers, teachers, and peers a little bit differently.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Painfully, beautifully written. Definitely a book to help change the world. I hope for a future where my daughter doesn't have to deal with such awful humans. I hope I'm teaching her not to be an awful person. I hope a lot of people read this story and are as moved by it as I am. Painfully, beautifully written. Definitely a book to help change the world. I hope for a future where my daughter doesn't have to deal with such awful humans. I hope I'm teaching her not to be an awful person. I hope a lot of people read this story and are as moved by it as I am.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon Duval

    "Remember, Jude," he said, "don't dream it, be it" It should be mandatory for all teachers of any kind to read this book. Celebrate GSA's and QSA's! "Remember, Jude," he said, "don't dream it, be it" It should be mandatory for all teachers of any kind to read this book. Celebrate GSA's and QSA's!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase. Reading the description above, When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid sounded like a fun, glitzy read with a gay protagonist, and I was so excited to read it! But now I have, and I have absolutely no idea whether this book is good or not. Normally,  include a summary of the book in my reviews, but I have no idea how to summarise this novel. I just don't know what to say. So I'll just get straight in to what I thought: I didn't like this book Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase. Reading the description above, When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid sounded like a fun, glitzy read with a gay protagonist, and I was so excited to read it! But now I have, and I have absolutely no idea whether this book is good or not. Normally,  include a summary of the book in my reviews, but I have no idea how to summarise this novel. I just don't know what to say. So I'll just get straight in to what I thought: I didn't like this book at all. I didn't like the characters, I found the story hugely disturbing, and, to me, it just felt like Jude was a walking stereotype. Jude is gay and out to the world. He doesn't conform to gender roles; he loves to wear make-up and women's shoes, and wears his hair long. He's very feminine and flamboyant, and because of this, he is bullied in such a huge way. He doesn't just get name calling, he has the crap beaten out of him, to the point that he ends up in hospital. To deal with the bullying, Jude pretends he is a movie star; the haters are the paparazzi or his fans, and they always want more of him because he's so fabulous. His life is a movie, and he plays his part. He gets so lost in his imagination, that sometimes, I'm unsure if the events he describes are real or in his head. Most of the time it's pretty easy to guess, but sometimes not so much. He also puts himself in the position to be bullied; he will say outrageous things to the guys who bully him, just to get their attention. Why? Because at least then he's getting attention, and he feels hate is as close to love as he's going to get. Or, they love him so much, they can't stay away, and so they hurt him. Crazy stalkers. Jude was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, but I'm sure he has some serious mental illness that he retreats into his imagination like he does. It's kind of heartbreaking. But at the same time, I've never come across a character who is more self-obsessed. All Jude really cares about is himself, and getting attention. He goads his bullies by sexually harrassing them, and, although he's not asking to be beaten up, he is after a reaction. He can't bare to go under the radar. He craves attention. He also feels like a very exaggerated stereotypical gay man; a caricature with all stereotypes thrown in to one. I know there are feminine/camp/flamboyant gay men, but with Jude, these traits are taken to the extreme. I didn't find his character believable in the least. This could be that I've never met anyone like him, but I'm not so sure. I had no trouble believing Tiny Cooper from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan, or the crossdressing Infinite Darlene from Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan - both camp and flamboyant characters. As I said, Jude felt like a caricature. I was also really disturbed by this story. Normally in YA, a book will be written in such a way that the less-than-smart decisions or actions taken by the characters is written in a way that we, as readers, know these characters are making huge mistakes (thought without feeling like you're being preached to). This is now how Reid had written this novel. Jude and his best friend Angela take drugs all the time. Whether it's weed, Angela's mother's prescription pills, acid, they'll take anything. Always. But at no point is this written like this is scary dangerous and illegal. It's just a thing they do, like reading a book, eating some food, taking drugs. Also, Angela is very promiscuous, which I do not have a problem with in and of itself, but she doesn't use protection. She has had multiple abortions in her young life, and thinks nothing of it. It's abortion as contraception, and again, not one character bats an eyelid, or thinks this might be wrong. Jude takes the mick out of her for sleeping around, and for getting pregnant sometimes, but he doesn't actually think she's doing anything unwise. These two just have so very little self-respect and are so highly self-destructive, and completely blasé about it all, I was reading the whole thing in complete shock and dismay. I should add that these teens are in middle school, and are around 14-years-old, max. I can't be the only person who finds this incredibly disturbing, right? I was sickened by the things that happen in this book. But I've no idea if this is realistic or not. Things certainly weren't this extreme when I was 14. Because of how there's no consequences to their actions, nor any feeling through the writing that what they're doing is screwed up makes me feel that perhaps it was written for shock value. But I simply can't say this is unrealistic, because I don't know. Other issues that are barely touched on in this novel are present-but-absent parents, domestic violence, self-harm, drug addiction (not Jude's or Angela's), and a kind of inverted Oedipus complex (Jude masturbates occasionally to the thought of his absentee father). Again, there's not really any feel that something is up with these things, or even Jude's movie star delusions. To me, it just feels a little irresponsible of the author. There are some serious issues in this book, but they're brushed over without being written about in any detail, and written in a way that makes it feel like it's all perfectly normal. That just doesn't sit right with me. Nor do the insults and blasé comments about rape, nor calling people "retard"/"retarded". Also there's a really awful comment from Jude where he compares himself to JonBenét Ramsey; I didn't know who she was when I read it so I just brushed over it, but it was brought to my attention by Jim earlier today, and after looking her up and discovering she was a six-year-old beauty queen who was murdered, I was disgusted by Jude. I don't know if it's Jude or if it's the author, but one of them really has no boundaries. I didn't like this book. I didn't enjoy one second of it. But do you have to enjoy a book for it to be good? I did read the whole thing, after all. I really couldn't say if this book was good or not. However, would I read it again? No. Would I recommend it? No. Do I feel there are any redeeming factors of this book? No. How many stars did I decide to give it? One. You'll just have to decide for yourself if you want to read this book to work out if it's good or not. Thank you to Atom for the proof.

  25. 4 out of 5

    India

    Edit: It is not stated directly that Jude would prefer she/her pronouns, but as far as I could tell it is what she would have preferred I think this book might be offensive, but it is such trash that you kind of just have to sit back and laugh. Rant below (view spoiler)[ So this transgender girl is living in a small town and basically thinks that her life is a movie. Jude is so obsessed with herself that she is sure that she is going to end up a (movie??) star, despite the fact that she has ZER Edit: It is not stated directly that Jude would prefer she/her pronouns, but as far as I could tell it is what she would have preferred I think this book might be offensive, but it is such trash that you kind of just have to sit back and laugh. Rant below (view spoiler)[ So this transgender girl is living in a small town and basically thinks that her life is a movie. Jude is so obsessed with herself that she is sure that she is going to end up a (movie??) star, despite the fact that she has ZERO talent whatsoever... hold on... does giving blowjobs to people who are only half interested and doing every single possible drug to get high count? No. Bitch, you are in a shit situation, but acting like an asshole and STEALING FROM THE SCHOOL MUSCIAL BECAUSE YOU DISAGREE WITH CASTING doesn't make it any better. Grow the fuck up. Not to mention that the character is a complete stereotype in almost every respect (she even owns up to being so). Many of the important plot points, like Jude losing her virginity and the (view spoiler)[death scene (hide spoiler)] were really confusing and didn't fit. He was gayand straight, depending on how you looked at it. I didn't really know if the cat was dead or alive, or if Abel was gay or straight Umm... wow. Looking beyond bi-sexual ignorance, which is excusable given the circumstance, the desperate stab at making the statement intelligent by likening Abel to Schrödinger's cat is just pathetic. I'm not even going to touch on the many disturbing things Jude masterbates to, but lets just stay that they are plentiful, as are the acts themselves. (hide spoiler)] In conclusion, maybe When Everything Feels Like The Movies is trash, but maybe it's really good. You have to open it to find out. Jokes because it is actually definitely trash.

  26. 5 out of 5

    LibraryCin

    3.5 stars Jude is gay, wears makeup, and likes to dress in his mother’s clothes. He isn’t shy about this, even at school. But, of course, he is bullied because of it. He thinks of himself, though, as a movie star, and his life is like a movie; this allows him to deal with the other kids and the bullying. He does have a best friend, Angela, who sleeps around with many of the boys at school. It was a bit hard to get into at first, a bit hard to follow. Have to admit, I didn’t like either Jude or An 3.5 stars Jude is gay, wears makeup, and likes to dress in his mother’s clothes. He isn’t shy about this, even at school. But, of course, he is bullied because of it. He thinks of himself, though, as a movie star, and his life is like a movie; this allows him to deal with the other kids and the bullying. He does have a best friend, Angela, who sleeps around with many of the boys at school. It was a bit hard to get into at first, a bit hard to follow. Have to admit, I didn’t like either Jude or Angela. As a warning, there is a lot of sex and drugs, or at least talk of it. It probably shouldn’t have, but the end came as a surprise to me. But, it blew me away. Overall, I’m rating it “good”.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Izzy

    4.50* When Everything Feels Like the Movies is the arresting début novel from twenty-five year old Canadian author, Raziel Reid. This is not a romance. There is the dream of love, but this is a ‘punch in the gut’ – a ‘wake-up call’, for our society. Already the winner,of the Governor General's Literary Award in Canada, finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, this is an important, but difficult book. Jude is a fifteen-year-old eighth grade student in America 4.50* When Everything Feels Like the Movies is the arresting début novel from twenty-five year old Canadian author, Raziel Reid. This is not a romance. There is the dream of love, but this is a ‘punch in the gut’ – a ‘wake-up call’, for our society. Already the winner,of the Governor General's Literary Award in Canada, finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, this is an important, but difficult book. Jude is a fifteen-year-old eighth grade student in America. He is gay, gender queer and living a life few of us would wish on our worst enemies. His father left long ago and his mother is a pole dancer and stripper who has an abusive boyfriend, Ray - father of Jude’s beloved younger brother, Keefer. Jude’s relationship with his little brother, the only pure and gentle relationship in his life, is believable and sweetly written. In order to avoid Ray as much as possible and have a space of his own, Jude moves into the basement to sleep in, but it remains a basement and isn’t adapted for Jude in any way. It has breezeblocks for walls, is freezing cold and contains only Jude’s bed and a few treasured posters of Marilyn Monroe. This opening sentence certainly sets the tone for Jude’s first person brash, narrative; I would’ve gone down for a pair of Louboutins (I think they call that “head over heels”)… - but the remainder of the sentence reveals more; but the closest I ever got was kissing the feet of celebrities in tabloid magazines. The story is set in a poor mining town, where the mine has closed down. Jude’s life plays out against a backdrop of poverty, redneck attitudes and homophobia. Although it is Jude’s story, none of the young players in this drama have benefited from good parenting or a compassionate start in life. Jude disgusts the town and his school because he does not adhere to gender rules. He’s beautiful; which causes boys to doubt their solid masculinity, girls jealous of how he looks and how the boys react to him. He offends by wearing make-up to school and always has painted nails. None of his actions break the rules for school attire however, but they were written to apply to girls, so no one knows what to do with Jude. He has a best friend, a girl called Angela, who at nearly fifteen keeps a list of boys she’s slept with under the table at their regular booth in the local diner. Although she’s his best friend, Jude once mentions tellingly that the only thing she really notices is a late period. There is a heart-breaking juxtaposition between the way Jude and his peers are portrayed, and the gentler, kinder way Keefer is spoken of and treated It is as though the author is reminding the reader how childhood should be, and what bigotry and self-absorption is doing to children. Jude does everything he can to keep the harsh realities of life from his little brother. However, the only way Jude can cope with his own life of endless bullying and cruelty is to live in denial. He isn’t a student - he is a beautiful starlet, the bullies and name callers merely ‘paparazzi’, and fans - always wanting something from him. He retreats into a world where he is famous, adored and nothing can touch him. Sadly, not even his imagination can save him in the end. The thought provoking passage below… In the first picture ever taken of me, I’m lying in the hospital nursery wrapped in a yellow blanket. Not blue like all the other baby boys or pink like all the girls. It was a yellow blanket, which I kept my whole life. I’d sleep with it every night. Even when I was too old and it embarrassed me, I loved it. But then I always loved things that didn’t love me back. I used to wonder if the parents who looked at me and my yellow blanket in the nursery with all the other babies thought I was a little boy or girl. If it mattered. If, on my first day on earth, I wasn’t either. I was just beautiful. …might just reveal one of the most important lessons in this short, heart-breaking novel. As a day old innocent, baby Jude was just beautiful. The other equally innocent infants had already been labelled by the colour of their blankets. Does a day go by when we don’t apply a set of expectations to someone or judge them by a set of gender rules we had no part in making? ... Full review All About Romance www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview... Note: This book is not a romance and doesn't have an HEA.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    *2.5 stars* Originally published at http://solittletimeforbooks.blogspot.... When Everything Feels Like the Movies has left a trail of controversy in its wake and I was officially intrigued, but it’s left me with very mixed feelings. Even from the synopsis you can tell this novel is going to be bold and brash and graphic, but I do have to admit that I was a little shocked, especially when I found out how old the characters are. It changed the way I looked at the book, actually. Instead of being dar *2.5 stars* Originally published at http://solittletimeforbooks.blogspot.... When Everything Feels Like the Movies has left a trail of controversy in its wake and I was officially intrigued, but it’s left me with very mixed feelings. Even from the synopsis you can tell this novel is going to be bold and brash and graphic, but I do have to admit that I was a little shocked, especially when I found out how old the characters are. It changed the way I looked at the book, actually. Instead of being daring and brave it became a little melodramatic and exaggerated; everything in this book felt like it had an agenda, and none more so than Jude. Jude is loud and proud and supremely irritating. He uses his sexuality as a barrier between him and the homophobic abuse he suffers at school and the damaging, broken home life he has. He also told his story through the lens of a Hollywood movie star in the same way and it almost teetered him into the land of the unreliable narrator. It was strange, but fascinating. Reading When Everything Feels Like the Movies kind of feels like when cars slow down to look at a crash site on the side of the motorway; horrific and sad, but ultimately, there’s no real emotional connection there – you’re too safe in your little bubble and Jude never lets you in. No one around Jude lets him in either really. In fact, there’s not a single likable, redeemable character in the novel except Jude’s little brother, Keefer, as far as I’m concerned and it was so, so bleak. It just made it feel like an agenda and I was having something forced on me. It meant that I saw the tragic ending coming a mile off, and horrific as it was, I felt nothing. It was obvious from the beginning what sort of story this was going to be and I just never fully connected with it. Maybe I’m too far away from Jude and his experiences? But that shouldn’t distance the reader – that’s the opposite of why books are important. I don’t really know, to be honest. I’d be really interested to hear from you guys if you’ve read this! Though When Everything Feels Like the Movies is a shocking, bold debut novel, I felt a little emotionally manipulated by the time I got to the end rather than actually emotionally involved.

  29. 4 out of 5

    H

    “Darling,” she said, “we’re a train wreck.” “Sweetheart,” I said, “train wrecks always make the front page.” This has got to be the worst execution of an extended metaphor that I've ever seen. 171 pages of likening Jude's life to the movies in hopes of a poignant novel about gender, bullying, abusive families, sexuality... Well. Instead we were granted the gift of this pretentious, faux-poignant, and confusing hot mess. Apparently the novel was trying to portray the "queer imagination ... as a su “Darling,” she said, “we’re a train wreck.” “Sweetheart,” I said, “train wrecks always make the front page.” This has got to be the worst execution of an extended metaphor that I've ever seen. 171 pages of likening Jude's life to the movies in hopes of a poignant novel about gender, bullying, abusive families, sexuality... Well. Instead we were granted the gift of this pretentious, faux-poignant, and confusing hot mess. Apparently the novel was trying to portray the "queer imagination ... as a survival instinct" (author Vivek Shraya). I don't see how Raziel Reid achieved this. The movie metaphor is so confusingly intertwined with Jude's narrative that I was constantly sorting out fact from fiction. Reading this became work, and I slowly but surely lost my investment in the characters. And the likening of gossips to "paparazzi" and the dialogue of Jude's daily life to "scripts" was beyond pretentious. Jude was meant to be OTT, but he quickly veered off into "too-arrogant-to-tolerate" territory. He's extremely self-aware - yet, this did not endear me to him. The whole novel was like the movies - if we're talking the fake Hollywood stereotype. How this received any award is beyond me. I could care less about the controversy over the novel's "graphic content" (as judged by some) regarding sex and drug use - I'm more interested in how anyone judged this to be a meaningful exploration of homophobia. Jude uses the movies as a coping mechanism, but the metaphor never became coherent (and neither did Jude). It's just a MESS. I'm curious to see what positive praise has to say about this. Maybe they can help me understand what When Everything Feels Like the Movies was trying to do. Until then, I'll be in the corner, vaguely annoyed and disappointed about this train wreck (Jude was at least right about that).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Dell

    I just finished reading When Everything Feels Like The Movies, By Raziel Reid… And my heart is still raw. This book won the 2015 Canadian Governor Generals Award in young adult fiction and attracted much attention in doing so. (I can’t help but laugh a little… The main character Jude would have LOVED this!) I read a few heated articles about this book and its award. Some said, that the use of language, discussion of drugs, and graphic sex and violence in this book were too much of an adult topic I just finished reading When Everything Feels Like The Movies, By Raziel Reid… And my heart is still raw. This book won the 2015 Canadian Governor Generals Award in young adult fiction and attracted much attention in doing so. (I can’t help but laugh a little… The main character Jude would have LOVED this!) I read a few heated articles about this book and its award. Some said, that the use of language, discussion of drugs, and graphic sex and violence in this book were too much of an adult topic to be classified as young adult fiction. And, that the book was glorifying these subjects. After reading it cover to cover, I’d dare to say that that was not the author’s intent at all. I’d say it was more a portrayal of an honest, brutal and totally un-sugar coated reality that some gay youth have to face every day. It starts off as a tale of a flamboyantly gay teen, living as only he can (in the spot light), in an unaccepting, homophobic society. The main character, Jude, faces many hardships; bulling, assaults, fake friends, checked out parents, and the list goes on. Jude’s life is not an easy one, but he chooses to live it openly no matter what the consequence. There’s a Betty Davis quote in the book that really stuck with me… Probably burned in to my memory forever. “It’s better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for someone you’re not.” This book is not my usual M.O., but I’m glad I expanded my horizons and took the time to read it. If I were asked if I would recommend this book, what would I say? Have an open mind… Not everything you read has to have a glossy coat of ‘perfect’ on it. I give this book a 5 out of 5… and 1 yellow blanket.

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