When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel ReidWhen Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid

When Everything Feels Like the Movies

byRaziel Reid

Paperback | August 27, 2014

see the collection LGBTQ+ Teen Reads

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WINNER, Governor General's Literary Award

CBC Canada Reads 2015 Runner-up

An edgy and extravagant YA novel about a glamorous boy named Jude.

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 knows 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.

Raziel Reid's debut novel When Everything Feels like the Movies won the 2014 Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature (Text) and was the runner-up in CBC's Canada Reads 2015 competition, defended by Lainey Lui of LaineyGossip.com. His screenplay of the novel is being produced by Random Bench.
Title:When Everything Feels Like the MoviesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 8 × 5.5 × 0.44 inPublished:August 27, 2014Publisher:ARSENAL PULP PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1551525747

ISBN - 13:9781551525747


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gritty Excellent novel about growing up gay and picked on in a small town. Jude uses his imagination to survive and focus on the future and hopefully a better life. found the ending shocking and really related to the main character and his experiences. Quite enjoyed it and not surprised it won a Governor's General award.
Date published: 2018-07-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Good Read I think that was a pretty decent book. The characters felt very real as well as the situations portrayed. I did not find this book to be explicit as some people have. I found it to be more realistic than anything with all the swearing and sex and drug use. Those are things that happen in school life sometimes and I was very happy to find that the book portrayed these things instead of making it seem like everything was the perfect life everyone wants like most books do. I would definitely suggest it for anyone wanting to know what it feels like to be a true outcast in society as this is one of the most real portrayals of growing up I have ever read.
Date published: 2017-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Crude, real and important Following true CBC fashion Raziel Reid writes about an important topics. I loved this book, I didn't love it because it was controversial or because everyone else was calling for it to be banned, I loved it because it was raw and real, because it reached out and touched the subjects nobody wants to acknowledge - suicide and transgender bullying go hand in hand, and that isn't something to be ignored. I read this book in one sitting because it was captivating and smooth, the words were vivid and I felt for each of the characters in different ways. Yes this book was crude, but it's not spawn out of the authors imagination - its real and it's important.
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So, I'm biased. Might as well get this out of the way at the start, because this is a tough book to give an unbiased, uninfluenced opinion about. If it weren't for the controversy surrounding When Everything Feels Like the Movies and people calling for its Governor General's award to be revoked, I probably wouldn't have given this such a high rating. In fact, I know I wouldn't have -- the first time I tried to read this book, I wound up putting it down a couple of chapters in. That doesn't mean that it doesn't deserve a high rating -- no, I mean every single one of those stars. It just means that I'm evaluating this book differently now. Let me explain. This book is uncomfortable to read. The treatment that Jude receives is horrifying and heartbreaking. And it was a shock to find out these kids were just in grade 8 -- I was expecting them to be in their last years of high school, at least, and I guess that's a testament to my naive view of what it means to be in middle school. So, it's uncomfortable and upsetting to read. And that's why I had to try a couple of times in order to read it. That's why I initially would have given it a low rating. The characters are fantastic, especially Jude. The book is well-written. But it just isn't... enjoyable to read. But this whole controversy surrounding the book made me question my ratings. Why should I have to enjoy the book? Especially a book that's been inspired by true events? The actual process of reading the book may not have been easy and enjoyable, but I like that it exists, I like that people are talking about it, I like the discussions that are coming from it. This is an important book, and you should read it.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from NOT for children or teens As a librarian and teacher, I am generally against censorship, even when the book in question doesn't conform to my taste or my values. This book, however, is an exception. I would censor this book in a heartbeat. While it is well written (in terms of language), it is disturbingly graphic and crude. I wouldn't mind the shallowness of the characters or the depressing description of their lives if it wasn't for the disgusting descriptions of sexual acts and sexual fantasies. And this book was given an award for YA literature, meaning it is intended for children 12 years old and up?? I'm sorry, but I think that even adults might be very disturbed by the imagery, let alone teens and tweens. Sure, kids are desensitized nowadays, but do we really want to contribute to this trend? Meanwhile, there are many age-appropriate novels and stories describing difficult situations involving gay youth. This book should not be given to any young person.
Date published: 2016-01-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Extremely Raw and Gritty. When Everything Feels Like The Movies is one of those novels that is surrounded by controversy. Many thought that the themes within the story were way too intense and mature for a young adult audience in which this book is marketed towards. Although I agree that the themes were shocking and graphic at times I found myself thinking back to when I was a teenager and I really do believe that I would not have found this as disturbing as most might think. After re-reading that synopsis I realized that it definitely makes the book seem a little bit more campy and humorous, but I can tell you right now that this story was anything but. When Everything Feels Like The Movies is downright graphic from the language the characters speak to its descriptive scenarios. There were definite moments within the novel that had me second guessing whether or not I had actually picked up a young adult novel or if it was rather meant for an entirely more mature audience. "‘Sweetheart,’ I said, ‘train wrecks always make the front page.’" Jude does not have an easy life. He is constantly bullied by his classmates for bravely expressing his true self and it seems as though no one cares about his well-being other than his best friend Angela for the most part. He is bullied in ways that disturbed me personally and I don’t ever want to believe this is happening in reality, even though sadly I know that this is probably the case. As a result of this constant bullying, Jude begins to imagine himself as a famous movie star. He likes to believe that everyone is just jealous of his star quality and that those who bully him are just his jealous haters. Although some may think that he is being strong and ignoring his tormentors, I believe that his acting this way is probably some form of a mental disorder. It’s the only way that he can ignore how he actually feels and I personally believe that this is not a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, I had the ending of this novel spoiled for me accidentally through Goodreads. Someone had compared it to the true story that this novel is based on and gave away a key detail that I otherwise would not have seen coming. It is a scene that I believe would have shocked me and left me an emotional wreck, but unfortunately it had been ruined for me. I honestly believe that even though this story is gritty, dark and graphic, there is a definite lesson to be learned here. Young adults are very much desensitized nowadays and it takes a lot more to scar someone mentally than it used to. I think that young adults could definitely learn a lot from this novel, especially about the way that they treat one another.
Date published: 2015-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Explosive Novel This was a fantastic book with incredible characters that touched your heart and made you yearn to be as brave as them. Recommend for young and old, to get a real life take on the struggle of today's youth, especially those deemed "different" or "outcasts" because of their sexuality.
Date published: 2015-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Everything feels like the movies until it doesn't Funny, sad, and ultimately too real. This was a difficult read; not because it was poorly written but because it was so well written. Anyone who's gone through adolescence will be able to relate to the feeling of being unsure and unwelcome. This book makes those aches real again.
Date published: 2015-04-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Bad recommendation This should not be promoted as "children's literature" as it is more adult than most adult novels. Very little substance to the plot and the characters are empty. Too much effort was spent trying to shock the audience. Disappointed I spent money on this
Date published: 2015-03-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from When Everthing Feels Like The Movies This is a serious, intensely honest portrayal of a young gay teenager bravely tryng to be himself despite the homophobia of his peers and the disfunctional parenting he must endure each day.
Date published: 2015-03-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too much altered reality... Hard topic... being gay in the digital age...where everyone wants to be famous. First person narrative... blurring the lines of real and imaginary...the author could have done a better job in delineating which was which. Small town boy, stripper mom, useless father and surrogate father... Jude is alone in his Hollywood fantasy of being a famous, stalked actor, so he can deal with the intolerances of daily life. Loads of currents and ancient cultural references, some obscure. Looking forward to future novels, when the author finds a more mature voice.
Date published: 2015-03-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not worth the hype When Everything Feels Like The Movies by Raziel Reid is shockingly crude. I am by no means against sexuality being explored in literature for teens, and I especially think this can be important for gay teens who may not see their personal preferences reflected in their community. However, there is a difference between nice romantic coming of age stories, descriptions of attraction, awkward, disappointing or wonderful first experiences being described, and the trashy, disturbing writing found here. Characters who are only in middle school are carelessly having unprotected sex with many partners in this book and the author seems to (through the attitudes of all the characters and lack of consequences to them) brush off having multiple abortions and catching STDs as no big deal at all. The characters joke about all the dead fetuses in a way that made me feel sick reading it. The protagonist is insufferable. It’s one thing to be flamboyant- but there’s a difference between being outgoing and comfortable being different, and being an obnoxious disruptive student. He tries to pick fights, which makes it hard to sympathize as much about the bullying that I would otherwise really feel sorry for him about. His obsession with makeup and shoes is painfully shallow- and I’d feel this way if he was a girl, I don’t have an issue with men choosing to wear what is traditionally worn by females. What really bothers me about him though is his masochistic sexual pleasure he feels when insulted, harassed or threatened. It deeply disturbs me that his reckless behavior and crass speech is seen in flashbacks when he is inappropriately young. That he is said to talk about things like Lindsay Lohan doing lines of cocaine when he’s in Gr. 2, and performing sexual acts with a friend long before puberty is upsetting. I found myself extremely uncomfortable with a lot of the situations in the book, and I think a lot of parents will have issues with their teens reading this. Normalizing extreme promiscuity before high school is not something I like to see in youth literature. I can’t stand the way he is attracted to literally every guy and constantly flirts with or hits on everyone. Just to clarify this is not because he is gay that I feel this way. If he had a crush on one guy that would be entirely different. That he is so all over the place and pushy with guys who discourage him makes me dislike him in the same way I would dislike a character who was a player hitting on all the girls and not taking no for an answer. His combination of pushiness and low standards is extremely off-putting. He goes out of his way to make people feel uncomfortable and even puts the guy he likes the most in embarrassing situations. His best friend is equally disturbing. She is bereft of morals, having sex at a very young age with older men who are in relationships and doesn’t mind at all that she’s breaking people up. She doesn’t show an ounce of self-respect and jokes about her drug use and bulimia. What bothers me even more is that her friends don’t show any concern for her unhealthy behaviour and I’m not even sure the author views it as unhealthy. If he does, this is not reflected in a way teens will pick up on. I am always looking for good books with gay characters that I can recommend but this is definitely not one of them. Instead of positive role models who show that sexual preference is not such a big deal this book provides a sideshow freak of a character who I think will alienate readers. A caricature of a stereotype like this one is probably offensive to homosexual readers and will not instill empathy in straight ones. The ending is shocking, as intended. It makes me sad that these things happen but I don’t think the big feelings at the end of the novel make up for the rest of it. In fact even the ending is handled with such odd melodrama that it’s difficult to connect with. I did not think the writing quality was worthy of awards, and wonder if the hype about it is because it stirs up controversy. I think it’s a shame because books like this make it harder to defend the controversial ones that actually have more substance, style, or positive gay role-models. I’m baffled by so much high praise for this novel, I feel like straight people are afraid that saying anything bad about it wouldn’t be politically correct. I can’t bring myself to promote such sensationalism.
Date published: 2015-03-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not what I I bought this two days ago and when I got it i was really disappointed by the size of the book....
Date published: 2015-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I enjoyed reading this! :) I bought this book a little over a week ago; upon hearing an interview with its author, on CBC radio. I tuned most of it out, that is until I heard mention of the main character in book, Jude, being a young, gay male, attending the social hell that is middle school. To this I could relate, having barely survived that very hell, less than ten years ago. While as a character, Jude really rubbed me the wrong way. Especially his vanity and careless use of various substances. But then, that hardly outlandish, when you consider how much of today's youth behaves. Particularly those living in smaller communities (like in the story), which are often less culturally diverse than a cup of yoghurt, and offer little in terms of after-school activities. So young teens end up making their own "fun", as a means of coping with, and escaping from reality, which might otherwise not be so engaging. Also in the way Jude would describe his subjective reality, as that of Hollywood stardom: where he is a "celebrity", and a star, twink*ling among his co-stars, in the horrid social-drama that plays out in middle school. *pun intended However, all of this made for fantastic narrative, as it so aptly described what attending middle/high school is like; which, if you also happen to be anything other than straight, can be an even greater nightmare. In conclusion, I very much enjoyed this book, for it imparted perspective on how my youth was, and could have been like, had I done some things differently. In retrospect, things could very well have gone another way for me, and my story would have concluded not unlike this book. Thank you, Raziel Reid, for writing this book.
Date published: 2015-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from People should read this I bought this because it sounded interesting not because it won an award but I can tell you that there is a very good reason why it did. As a straight person high school is hard enough, but for Jude it's crippling. I guarantee that you will feel lost, alone, betrayed and you will end up crying by the time you finish. Which is great. It's a rather light read. It only took me a day to finish...a very emotional day.
Date published: 2015-01-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from When This Novel Feels Like A Betrayal of Intelligence I remember how I cried in agony after a root canal. After reading this book, I look back at that moment with fondness.
Date published: 2015-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Finally! Finally a young adult novel that offers an opportunity to grasp a real and raw sense of the many challenges of adolescence. Brilliantly written story from an up and coming young Canadian author and Finalist for 2014 Governor Generals award for Childrens' Literature.
Date published: 2014-11-09

Editorial Reviews

I'm struggling to find the right words to put alongside this book for a review, because I'm not entirely sure I can fathom the words required to really do this book justice. It's incomparable, and it's completely unlike anything you've ever read before. It will shock, but in the best way possible.
-The Guardian - 20160306