When Everything Feels Like The Movies
Author: Raziel Reid
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQIA, Contemporary
Release Date: October 21st 2014
Page Count: 176
“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.
Goodreads synopsis: 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.
After re-reading that synopsis I realized that it definitely makes the book seem a like it’s more on the campy and humorous side of things, 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 use when they 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 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 don’t believe that this is a healthy way to live your life.
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.