Tuesday, September 29, 2015

SOTTBC - When Everything Feels Like The Movies

Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Club read When Everything Feels Like The Movies for our August pick. You'll find our reactions below, but we all thought this was an important, unflinching book that was extremely well written. Raziel Reid has, at least for me, become an auto-read author and I cannot wait to read whatever he writes next.


Here is a little about When Everything Feels Like The Movies
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.
You can add it to Goodreads, and purchase from the following retailers

Here is the colour scheme so you know whose comments are whose.


Note: I read this book ages ago, and so I will mostly be reacting to what you say because all that's really stuck with me is the ending.

‘I guess I am a fantasy’ - Marilyn Monroe (it should surprise nobody that I LOVE this quote). This quote usage bodes well for me loving this novel.

It's such a great quote!  And Marilyn Monroe is pretty apt for Jude, because there's such a disparity between the public persona and the actual reality.

Chapter 1 - Preproduction 

Okay so they said this was ‘racy’ ‘controversial’ whatever. Barely a chapter in and I get it. I get why the pearl clutchers would find fault with this. However… if you think there are not teenagers who are this - YOU ARE KIDDING YOURSELF. I knew people like this when I was a teen. 

I don't really get disturbed by anything anymore.  Thank you, Tampa. ;)

‘Number one, obviously’ Oh, Jude. I already kind of love you. 

Lots of foreshadowing what happens in the end (I know the real life event that inspired this book so…).

Those guys are jerkoffs, and I wish Jude wouldn’t even bother pining after someone like Luke. Sigh. We’ve all liked the asshat. Jude has a twisted sense of humour (total defense mechanism) and he’s more than a little abrasive. It’ll be interesting to see the character development.

I am sad he didn’t tell the police. :(

I didn’t realize that this was based on a true story! I don’t know how I missed that. But even without knowing what the real story is, I have a bad feeling about this.

Yeah, I feel like I’m always saying that I’m not easily shocked or whatever with books, but ok - this is definitely racy!! And these characters are much younger than I thought they were at first! But I knew people who were doing drugs, having sex, all the stuff that freaks grown ups out, when I was this age. So it’s shocking but it’s also real.

Well, that’s definitely an interesting start to the book. I have a feeling that this is not going to be the easiest book to read. 

Chapter 2 - Hair and Make Up

‘but my Grandma said Santa thought I was already too dramatic’ Sorry, but I kind of love his humour. His entirely personality is LOUD.

‘I wanted them to hate me; hate was as close to love as I thought I’d ever be’. Heartbreaking. I am teary eyed guys. This is sad. Any kind of reaction is okay because he doesn’t think he’s worthy of love. The hate is his love. *cries*

I KNOW, right?  But it's true for so many people, right?  The idea that if you can inspire any sort of feeling in someone, you're winning?

I really like the humour and the way Jude sees everything as though it’s a movie. I mean, I know they’re coping strategies and I don’t know that they’re all that effective, but it certainly makes for an interesting read! 

Chapter 3 - The Set

Him breaking down high school into a Hollywood set is kind of perfect. It really makes sense. 

So true.  And yes, it's so like Hollywood.  (Right down to the feeling that everything is life or death when it's really not.)

‘It’s amazing what a pair of heels can do’ Preach, Jude. Preach. 

It breaks my heart to read about the hate that Jude experiences. 

These kids are just in middle school? I really expected this to be high school. 

Chapter 4 - Child Star

Jude’s home life does not sound the best. However, I do agree that commercials are WAY louder than the actual show you are watching. It is annoying.

It's true! And I keep hearing that they're going to regulate it so that everything gets the same volume, but I haven't noticed a different.  (And the volume can even vary from commercial to commercial.

This entire chapter is just making me feel bad for Jude. :(

It feels like wherever Jude is - home, school - there’s no respite from people making him feel like there’s something wrong with him. My heart goes out to him, and I know there are kids really experiencing this on a daily basis in real life.

Eh, he really has some interesting parents there. Sigh. I am so not a fan of bad parents.

Chapter 5 - The Small Screen

Abel, Jude and Angela are holding 3 different conversations basically. Abel is discussing pills, Angela is dissing Marilyn and Jude is musing on the sex skills of Kennedys. Haha.

Hm. I wonder if Abel really does like him. Jude is extremely bold. I am the totally opposite. If I like someone I barely even can talk to them, and Jude doesn’t even really like Abel.

I'm the same way.  I get some sort of selective mutism when around a crush.  Except involuntary.

There is a sort of detached, dreamy quality to this because Jude is either high or pretending things are different than what they actually are. I really like Raziel Reid’s writing.

These kids make me sad. Are they seriously just 8th graders?

Chapter 6 - Rehab

Keefer is automatically my favourite for punching out a kid for saying things about Jude. Love that. 

I feel like there is so much about Jude’s life I could be sad about, but that he would hate that. He’d want to be seen as fabulous. The fact that he thinks of his room as a ‘trendy rehab’ so he’d have some hope of getting out is sad though.

I think a lot of times, you don't really see your life as it actually is because you're too close.  

This book is a really quick read. There’s something about the writing and story that kind of makes me feel compelled to keep reading. This is a bleak book, and I don’t think there’s going to be a happy end to Jude’s story, but I can’t put the book down.

I love Jude’s love for his brother.

“I never wanted to be home. It made me mental. But I never wanted to be anywhere, really” - this makes me so sad! And again, I know it’s true for so many people and that makes it heartbreaking.

I seriously love his little brother. He sounds awesome.

Chapter 7 - Rehab

Sometimes Jude’s mother isn’t all bad, but other times I am like “Whoa, lady. Parenting skills not so much, huh?”. I do like that she was not surprised when Jude told her that he was gay. She (at least for now) seems accepting. 

I had to laugh at Jude’s “I hope Kayne isn’t gay. Straight people can keep him”.

And Tobey seems like classic case of denial. Sorry Tobey, you’re at least bi-sexual.

“It’s not racket. It’s Britney, bitch”- I love this line!

Chapter 8 - Movie Poster

1 - YES! Rocky Horror Picture Show.
2- Mr Dawson is kind of awesome. 

I cheered so hard for the RHPS part.

Although, I am not sure anyone got any hand jobs in any of the classes I was in.
‘I didn’t know that having it all is boring.When you have nothing, you have dreams’. Love this line and it fits Jude perfectly.

That really is a great line.  And also true.

Jude makes me laugh most of the time.. He’s witty and has killer comebacks.

I don’t know, there’s something about this teacher that makes me uneasy.

So his teacher seems nice, but also kind of weird. Is that just me??

Chapter 9 - Flashback

I predict this party will go horribly. It’s most likely a very bad decision to go.

I, too, am obsessed with River Phoenix and love that movie.

Jude is actually nice to Keefer. Loved him telling him not to swear because it was for “trashy degenerates” and Keefer’s reply of “you swear” and Jude’s “exactly”. Nice ‘brother’ stuff.

I love Jude and Keefer.  So, so much.

Jude has some seriously father issues he needs to work through.

Can i just mention again how insane it is that these kids are MIDDLE SCHOOLERS?!?! 

Chapter 10 - Sex Scene

Matthew Shepherd. His story breaks my heart. :(

This party is in fact as awkward for Jude as I expected it to be. 

Yup, the party was basically as awful as I expected. I don’t even understand why Jude would waste his time on someone like Luke. Seriously. I guess it’s because I am not in high school anymore and Luke is the definition of high school boy. I seriously doubt Madison got anything out of that ‘sex scene’.

I don't get the Luke thing either, but I will admit to having really bad taste in girls when I was younger so I can't fault Jude for the same.

This party sounds terrible, btw.

The cruelty of people like these guys at the party always shocks me, even though in a way it doesn’t surprise me, because sometimes people are the worst. But I will never understand the mindset of someone who can be so awful to another human.

Chapter 11 - Train Wreck

I was kind of waiting to find out Jude cut himself. I am not even sure why but it was in the back of mind. Again, he’d probably hate it but I feel sad for him.

I go from feeling sad to laughing at him referencing throwing bottles of perfume at the walls because he liked to pretend they are his personal assistants. Haha.

I couldn’t imagine being stared at the way Jude is all the time. Just for being himself. It’s no wonder he tends to skew things into a better reality (the whole Hollywood thing).

I would hate it. It definitely explains why he ends up reframing everything in his own mind.

I wonder how much of their Walmart drug trip was imagined or not. 

‘Train wrecks always make the front page’ Kind of says it all, doesn’t it?

Like I said before, I’m in the dark about which story this is based on, but I’m really getting a bad feeling now.

It sounds like will definitely make you a train wreck. 

Chapter 12 - Sunset Boulevard 

Jude really is brazen and sadly, I am not surprised his mouth gets him into trouble. You can see what a front this all is though. It’s his armour that he is using to deflect everything else. His entire thing is a defense mechanism

The teacher is giving me weird vibes, but it might just be how Jude is portraying him. I do love that he told Jude that it was better to be hated for being himself than loved for someone he’s not. 

It's bad advice, even though it's true.  Because no one wants to be hated and that's especially true when you're a teenager.

Jude’s dream to go to Hollywood is heartbreaking...even more so because you know from the very first chapter that he’s never going to make it there. 

Yeah definitely getting a creepy vibe from this teacher.

Oh no. When people make plan to leave, things usually end up going terribly wrong. This book is giving me so much anxiety.

Ok, This teacher is kind of creeping me out. 

Chapter 13 - Shoot-Out

Everyone is kind of self destructive in this novel. Angela especially. This gun scene is unsettling.

I liked Angela so much at first and by this point, my opinion had totally changed.

I would be upset if someone ruined my wedding dress. Angelina’s mother should be upset. Oh, and not to mention SHOOTING OUT THE WINDOW!

Jude telling Angela he’d die if he stayed that was some dark foreshadowing (even though he told us in Chapter 1).

Every single decision these characters make is heartbreaking. You want them to do well, and you want things to be different. 

WHAT THE WHAT, ANGELA. Guns?? No! Not okay! 

Russian roulette is not cool, people. Seriously?

Chapter 14 - Fight Sequence

‘Sometimes you just have to keep fooling yourself or you’ll never survive’ This sentence basically sums up Jude’s entire Hollywood fantasy. He does it to protect himself.

It's so true.  It's like how sometimes you have to laugh at your life because otherwise you'd never stop crying.

Jude’s home life...awful. How perceptive is Keef though? He knew that it was bad. I feel really bad for Keef. His fish died. :(

Yeah. The mom’s boyfriend is not someone that should be around kids.

So terrible. Ray needs to go but I have a bad feeling that he’ll be back. 

Ray is such an ass. Also, I feel so bad for Keefer. Poor kid. 

Chapter 15 - 9021-Opiates

Best chapter title EVER.

If only Jude could feel the way he does about Luke for Abel. Abel may not know what he wants or admit to himself that he obviously is at least bi-sexual but he is at least nice to Jude. 

There's a line in the movie Broadcast News that goes something like, "Wouldn't it be great if desperation and insecurity made us more attractive?"   And wouldn't it be even better if we could only be attracted to people who were good for us?

Ugh, his father is back isn’t he? The worst. His mom has the worst taste in guys. 

Haha Schrodinger’s cat.

Chapter 16 - Typecast

The hospital scene? Where he says that was the first time he remembered his dad telling him that he loved him and he might of made it up? Heartbreaking. 

That made me cry.

Dorian Gray joke. Kind of perfect, actually. Of course Jude would be an Oscar Wilde fan.

The fact that his dad gave him money, probably enough money to leave, is going to make whatever happens in the end more heartbreaking right?

‘Like I had to deal with so much hate just to make my skin thick enough so that the spotlight wouldn’t burn’ Ugh *sobs*

Oh, Jude. I bet you’re going to regret staying for the Valentine’s Day dance (he did warn us after all).

I feel like his dad has so much potential to be a good dad. Seriously, I WANT him to be a good dad, because Jude really, really needs him to be. Sigh.

Chapter 17 - Hidden Feature

‘I don’t want to get killed before I get there - my stalker would be so disappointed’ Raziel Reid totally put some massive foreshadowing into these little off handed quips.

I figured Angela had hooked up with Luke after she had stopped hooking up with his brother. Been there, Jude. It sucks when your friend hooks up with the guy you like (even worse when it’s the guy you’re dating...trust me).

I’m a little confused about the stalker stuff...like was that a thing that really happened to Jude? Or will it all be clear in the end? Definitely getting the sense that going back over this once I finish might clarify some things.

Yeah sadly I was not surprised that Angela hooked up with Luke.

Oh, Angela... So not cool, at all.

Chapter 18 - Rewrite

Burning photos. Hahaha. Been there. Done that.

See this is why high school kids are the worst. Luke went back and did the decent thing and they are acting like he committed some crime.

Kenny, Colin and Matt are asshats. That was seriously disgusting. Poor Jude.

Oh Mr Dawson. You had me until you kissed Jude. 


I hate what happens in this chapter so much. Matt and his friends are assholes. Also, I knew something was up with that teacher.

Chapter 19 - Hollywood Ending

Jude asking the cat to take care of Keef … *cries* 

It feels like we’re racing towards the ending of this ‘movie’ and I am legit scared because of what Jude told us and what I know from the inspiration behind this book.

Side note  - am unsurprised that Jude’s mom is taking douchebag back.

As I thought, Ray is back.

Chapter 20 - Director’s Cut

Of course they videotaped the bathroom thing. Gross.

I knew it was coming and yet it still hurts. It hurts even more that Angela said “I almost hope he does it”. If you don't know … this was inspired by a true story of a young high school guy who asked a guy to be his Valentine and was shot by the boy he asked.

‘I didn’t want to star in this cheap fucking movie anymore’ *sobs* 

OMG! Keef putting on his makeup because ‘he wouldn’t go anywhere like this’. Why is this book determined to make me ugly cry? 

That legit made me bawl.

Of course it would be ‘poor Luke’. He was being sexually harassed and couldn’t deal with Jude’s shocking advances. *rolls eyes*

Have you heard of the "twinkie defense"?  That was from the guy who murdered Harvey Milk.  He blamed gay panic but also his tendency to eat junk food for killing Harvey Milk.  I hate people.

So….. I like this. A lot. I know not all of you will but I did. What Raziel Reid did was amazing. If, even after everything Jude does to push you away and repulse you, there is enough empathy left to say what happened to him is wrong - that is the entire point. He wasn’t ‘asking for it’ and he didn’t deserve it. No matter what. 

I liked it.  And yes, I definitely think that it's absolutely shocking.  It's so easy to think that this doesn't happen anymore, but it absolutely does

I actually like that he made Jude as shocking, and vibrant as he did. It means you have to try harder. If this novel makes even one person think twice, it’s done it’s job.

Now I am going to go finish ugly crying.

Side note - we need to talk reality vs Jude’s reality because some of the stuff at the end… made it seem like a lot of it happened differently.

No do not go to the school this will not be good. 

Okay from the outset I had no clue that this was based on a real story. Now that I know what it’s based on, I do recall reading about that. Everything about this makes me sad. And the defence they’re talking about for Luke is enraging.

Yes Kathy Keef putting the makeup on Jude was where I nearly lost it!! So so sad.

I am a little confused by the ending…

So I don’t think I can honestly say that I liked or enjoyed this book. But I didn’t dislike it. I don’t know if that makes any sense...I feel like the book has an important message and can spark much-needed discussion and hopefully open people’s eyes, but what a tough read.  

Wow, I totally didn't see that coming. I think I expected Matt and his bully friends to do something, but not Luke. Also, Angela is such a douchebag. Some friend she is, seriously?? Ugh.

The end had me tearing up, especially with his mom and brother in the hospital room, and then later with the dad. Sooooo sad.

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