All the Feels - Danika Stone
I am so disappointed in this book. I'm not going to lie, I had high hopes. Mostly because I had never seen a book that was all about fandom before. I like fandom a lot. I love finding a video game/anime/manga/book series to nerd out over. I love reading fanfics, seeing fanart, and watching multiple AMVs over and over again. And I wanted to see this book portray fandom as something fun and exciting! And, at first, this book did that.
Let's start off with the positives. This book praised the creative side of fandom. When people get involved and create their own stories and art and images promoting their passion for a particular show/game/book etc. And I loved that! I loved that this book was saying so many positive things about fandom and how fans love something so much they want to share it with others because that IS what happens when you get involved in something you love. You create things, you share things, you talk to other fans about that thing that you love. It's so much fun and this book portrayed that accurately.
Another thing I think this book did great on was its portrayal of sexuality. I love how it talked about how sexuality can be fluid. How it's normal to be bisexual or gay or straight or anything in between. I love that. Because a lot of time, for many of us, sexuality is fluid. Perhaps you thought you were gay but it turns out you're pansexual. All of that is normal and for many of us, it takes time to discover who you are and that's okay, too. I liked that about the book.
Now... the things I didn't like about the book... EVERYTHING ELSE! I praised this book for representing fandom correctly, yes? Well, that only pertains to ONLINE fandom. Because the moment everything was taken into reality, the book does a 180 and starts shitting on fandom. I kid you not. There's a part where the two main characters Liv and Xander, who also get on my nerves but I will talk more about that later, go to Dragon Con and they are both so bloody rude! Liv never met any of her online friends so they all begged her to come to Dragon Con, to which she kept saying, "I don't know if I'm going." (Another thing that annoys me about her is she is such a downer to everything!) But the moment her love interest, Xander (not a spoiler; we all know he's end game), tells her to come, she jumps right in! Anyway, so she's finally there, meeting her online friends and the entire time she and Xander are rude to them all!
There's one character there named Joe and she is a very popular fic writer in the fandom of Starveil to the point where everyone knows who she is and loves all of her work! Anyway, when they finally meet her, all they did was comment on the fact that she was way too old to be in the fandom and poke fun at her weight. The compared her fingers to sausages! They said it must be embarrassing to write fics in her spare time! What, just because she is older and a bit heavy doesn't give her the right to have fun? What the hell?
When it came to another girl in the group, Sarah, she had extreme anxiety, to the point she couldn't talk in person, only text. And we know what that's like. Most of the time, we readers know exactly what it's like to have anxiety to the point it's almost crippling. But do you think Liv cares? No. Xander gave Liv a "sympathetic look" because Liv had to deal with Sarah being awkward. I don't know where they are coming off. Liv couldn't go on a bloody see-through elevator without having to cower into Xander's chest. Hypocrite.
One more character I want to talk about before moving on to the main characters. Brain, he's known for making manips for the fandom, was completely awesome and supporting and badass online but the moment they met him in real life, he's a completely asshole. Like getting drunk and cursing at waiters kind of asshole. Now, I know not everyone you meet online is going to be a nice person, but Liv has known these people for years online. They each formed a friendship. Why is it that even when you've known each other for so long, you're treating each other like strangers? It's like the author wanted to give the message that fandom is only good if you keep it online and "online friendships aren't real friendships." No! We've all heard that crap before from close-minded people. Online friendships are just as legit as "real life" friendships. Don't give me none of that crap that fandom only belongs online. That is NOT true! You can have fun with whatever fandom you're in online as well as real life! If you've ever been to a convention, you know this to be true!
Now for the main characters. Liv is so annoying. I already mentioned how she is a downer. Well, she also overreacts. TO EVERYTHING. At the beginning of the book, she meets a guy, asks him out, finds out he has a girlfriend, and makes the biggest scene out of nothing. All she had to do was say, "Oh. Okay. Cool. I didn't know." And move on! Not run away crying like a dolt. Then, later on, she does the same thing when this guy and his girlfriend invites her to be in the relationship with them. Polygamous relationships are not for everyone and I understand that, but don't judge those who are comfortable in that relationship. As long as there is consent on all parties then what's the big deal? Liv had to CALMLY and COHERENTLY tell him that she was not into that sort of thing. The guy is actually understanding. He would probably have dropped it and continued to have a friendship with her. But no. Liv had to freak out and continue to judge him and his girlfriend. By the way, inviting Liv into the relationship was his girlfriend's idea. See, Liv? Judgmental.
And she's also a horrible friend! Remember, she has never met any of her online friends before. They all begged her to come to Dragon Con so they can all hang out. And I already said how horribly she treated them. But not only that, the moment Xander said let's go, she ditches her friends! Saying that she was relieved he did that. What kind of a person does that!? Her attitude about it was no better. She just laughs at every single thing Xander does as if he's the funniest dude to walk on this planet and she's completely fine with doing whatever as long as she's with Xander!
And speaking of Xander... I hate his guts. I do. He's possessive to the point of concerning. He didn't want Liv to talk to other guys even though he had his own girlfriend. He kept flirting with Liv even though he had his own girlfriend (and this is not the same thing as with the polygamous relationship. In that relationship, the girlfriend was aware of what her boyfriend was doing with another girl. In Xander's case, his girlfriend wasn't aware of his flirting with Liv. WHICH IS WRONG! That's close to cheating, Xan.) And he also kept commenting on Liv's body as if she were a piece of meat! Nothing but lewd and crude comments about how she has all the right curves and how he wanted to ravish her. Just horrible comments like that, and Liv fell for it every time. As if that was romantic. No! That is NOT romantic! That's bloody creepy and disgusting! How could anyone fall for someone talking nonstop about their body? Making obscene comments about their breasts? It was revolting to read.
Okay. That's it. I think I ranted long enough about this book. It's been a while I felt the need to rant about how much I disliked a book so much but I had to. I was insulted, being someone who is very much active in fandom myself, that someone would write something like this to try and paint a negative picture about something that is fun and good. Fandom is not perfect, no. But it's not as bad as this book makes it out to be, It can be fun and can be good. There are so many talented people who pour their hearts into the medium they love AND it's not just something they do only online. They carry that passion with them into the real world and that's what makes going to conventions fun! Because you get to see other people like yourself out there doing the same thing you're doing and it's amazing!
I can't recommend this book. It is a horrible representation of what fandom is truly like. The characters are terrible, The story is not even resolved properly with one of the characters and... ugh... this book is just a mess. I probably could go on and on about all the things wrong with this book... but I'll stop here. I'm just so disappointed in this book. I wanted to like it. I really did. But I didn't.