When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid
Published by Atom @ Little Brown Book Group
Released 4th August 2016
Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Everyone wanted to break me. But stars aren’t broken, they explode. And I was the ultimate supernova.
My name was Jude. They called me Judy. I was beautiful either way.
School was basically a movie set. We were all just playing our parts. The Crew, the Extras, the Movie Stars. No one was ever real . . . especially me. I didn’t fit any category.
All the girls watched me – I could walk so much better than them in heels, and my make-up was always flawless.
All the boys wanted to, well, you know . . . even if they didn’t admit it.
They loved me, they hated me, but they could never ignore me.
I only had eyes for Luke. A red carpet rolled out from my heart towards him and this year, on Valentine’s Day, I was going to walk that carpet and find my mark next to him. It would be like a dream.
But my dream was going to turn into a nightmare.
I am always looking for books to read that push boundaries and shock people so to put it. I feel like books like that are there for a reason and can often teach us a lot about topics that we wouldn’t have otherwise known much about. After learning a bit about what When Everything Feels Like the Movies was about, I knew it was just what I was looking for and I was lucky enough to receive a copy.
Jude is an 8th grader who is also openly gay and transgender. To hide his emotions and his torment at the hands of his classmates he often imagines that his life is like a movie. As the ‘director’ calls action on Jude’s movie, he burst into action. He drags his best friend Angela into his cast and tries ever so much to win the heart of leading man Luke, causing tragic circumstances in the end.
This book had the premise to be a real eye opener about the LGBTQ+ community and the struggles they face, especially as young people. However, it feel rather short for me. I found it to be very vulgar and at times unrealistic. Some of the language used by Jude and others around him, I found was totally uncalled for. Although, I could slightly understand why. I also found the sex mentioned throughout to be rather rude. Like Jude’s best friend Angela for example who was using abortions as a form on contraception. I can understand that sex happens with teenagers and it always will and I’m not being a prude (just to make that clear). However, Angela was meant to be 12/13 in the book and it seems somewhat unrealistic that a girl of that age would be having sex, yet alone having many abortions.
Jude, despite the vulgar themes portrayed throughout the book, was a character that I grew to love and feel rather sorry for. Yes, granted he was a very disturbed character but after learning about his backstory I knew that he was just that because of his broken home life. I also loved his flamboyant attitude and the fact that he tried to ignore his haters. The idea that he played out his life like a movie was also quite intriguing although I couldn’t say that the book played out in the order of a movie despite the chapter titles. The ending was very shocking and heartbreaking and my hope for Jude to finally have a good life was to put it bluntly, shattered.
When Everything Feels Like the Movies could have been a great read for me if it hadn’t had been for the vulgarity and the unrealistic parts within it. However, it certainly did open my eyes to bullying within young LGBTQ+ people and how far people will go to truly be who they are.
Raziel Reid is a graduate of the New York Film Academy. A former go-go boy turned society columnist and pop culture blogger (for DailyXtra.com), he currently lives in Vancouver. His first book, When Everything Feels like the Movies, won the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for children’s literature (text). A song written and performed by Raziel in accompaniment to the book entitled “Like a Movie Star” is available for download on iTunes, and a video is available to view on YouTube.