Saturday, 27 February 2016

REVIEW: When Everything Feels Like The Movies by Raziel Reid

Pages: 178
Format: Kindle
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Realistic Fiction, LGBT+
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: February 14th 2016
Buy The Book: Amazon UK

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'sDay, 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.

This is my story.

My Thoughts:
This was a really difficult book for me to rate, and I still haven’t fully made up my mind on it, which is why it’s taken me a while to put my thoughts into words since reading it. Whilst there were some areas of the book that I didn’t connect with, there were also aspects of it that I completely fell in love with. For once, I’ve found a book that has left me stumped for words. 

Firstly, what I’m thankful for is the real events that this book is raising awareness of. The genuine story of Lawrence Fobes Kings is utterly heart-breaking, and I’m glad that Raziel Reid was inspired to write this book because of it. Regardless of what I thought about the book as a whole, there is no denying that it’s an important story.

When Everything Feels Like The Movies follows teenager Jude through his difficult times at school. He is open about his sexuality and his identity, he is proud of who he is, acting and dressing however he wants to. But not everyone is accepting of Jude, and the people around him can be devastatingly cruel. Instead of letting this ruin him, Jude views his life as a movie, and everything around him is part of it. The locations are the sets, the people are the extras and the crew. It’s constant lights, camera, action. 

Whilst the idea of the story definitely interested me, the first few chapters failed to draw me in. Straight away, the overall tone of the novel didn’t appeal me. I wasn’t enjoying the dialogue, and I wasn’t connecting with the characters. There were some funny moments, especially between Jude and his best friend, Angela, but they alone weren’t enough to make me desperate to keep reading. I was also left feeling confused about the age of the characters, because as far as I’m aware, it was never made clear in the story. The real life people that these characters were based on were around 14-15, however the characters in this book read much older. They felt more like seniors in high school. 

The language and actions in this book are quite vulgar, but that won’t shock the audience that it’s written for. These troupes are becoming familiar in the YA genre. At times though, it felt a little too much. It was written to come across as realistic, but it actually felt overdone to me. 

Whilst I wasn’t overly keen on the first half of the book, the second half really stepped up the game. The more I got to read about Jude’s home life, the care he had for his brother, and the relationship between his mother and her boyfriend, Ray, the more the story drew me in. This was the side of the story that I utterly fell in love with. The second half had way more interesting storytelling and I felt like I was finally connecting with the characters. I also enjoyed the scenes between Jude and Angela’s brother, Abel. Though it was far from a fluffy romance, the moments they shared were touching, well-written, and painfully realistic. 

Considering I hadn’t enjoyed the first part of the book, I completely didn’t expect to end up adoring the second half of it. Once I hit that half way point, I was compelled to keep reading. So this is where I get confused with my overall thoughts! The ending of this book was incredible and heart-breaking, and it was so much better than anything in the first half of the novel. I just wish that it’d been this strong a story from the very start, because I could’ve easily given up on the book. Obviously, after reading the later chapters, I’m glad I didn’t. 

So, I’m still torn. Did I love it? Did I not?? Who knows. What I know for certain is that I’m happy I kept with it and read to the end. This is definitely a book that might not be to everyone’s taste, but there is some fantastic storytelling in the later parts, and as I keep saying, it really is an important story. 

Royal Rating:
*I don't usually give .5 ratings, however I would give this a 3.5 overall.*

2 comments:

  1. I struggled with this one too - while I appreciate it's based on a true story, I found the writing style and characters really hard to connect with. The ending did shock me but I don't think I was as enamoured as you were. Certainly was something different to read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely was difficult to connect with. I wanted to enjoy it more than I did, but I enjoyed the ending!

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