Tuesday, February 03, 2015

When Everything Feels Like The Movies: Ra-rah for YA

I was really excited to read this book.  When I found out that Laney Liu was defending it in this year's Canada Reads competition, I grew even more excited.  So when my stack of books arrived in the mail last week, I chose to read this one first.

When Everything Feels Like The Movies is a YA novel starring (no, really...starring) Jude Rothesay, a teenager with nowhere to fit in or belong in his small town.  Jude is gay.  He likes dressing up in women's clothing. His mother is an aging stripper with low enough self-esteem to keep welcoming his abusive, addict stepfather back into their lives.  His bio dad is AWOL.  His best friend betrays him.  Those who love him do it so secretly or in such a twisted way that it ends up being just as hurtful as hate.

And he's bullied.  Seriously bullied.  End-up-in-the-hospital kind of bullied.  But he kind of gives it right back, publicly taunting others.  He distances himself from reality by imagining he's living a Hollywood life, where his "haters" are just the price he pays for fame.

I wanted to love this book.  Instead, I like what it's trying to do.  (It's a strong kind of like.  As in, I don't want to marry this book, but I would invite it to my intimate wedding.)  The melodrama was a bit hard to read at times, even though I get that that's the point.  Raziel Reid has created a character who is pitiable, lovable, and lothable all in one paragraph.

Do you want to read it yet?  You should.  I'll warn you: it's graphic.  But that's kind of the point, too.  Reid is trying to get you to feel something as you read this book, and its not exactly a comfortable feeling.

It's not the first time that Canada Reads has featured a YA selection.  I think it was 2009 when Fruit was nominated...and that's still one of my favourites.  So maybe after you read When Everything Feels Like The Movies, you could read Fruit.  Read them both.  And weep.  Because that's kind of the point.

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