Review: All the Feels by Danika Stone

11:11 PM

All the Feels by Danika Stone | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

"She stared, wide eyed as glass-walled elevators shot up fifty-two floors like pods in a launch tube. Everything - from the glaringly bright carpet swirling with psychedelic lines; to the hotel's open ceiling ringed by storey after storey of balconies, the distant roof so high it made her head spin; to the people decked out in cosplay - was torn from a science fiction novel. It seemed Liv had spent the last eighteen years in search of her people, and in one sudden explosion of fate, they'd all been brought together in this place in time. Her eyes filled with tears as a sudden awareness filled her."

Oh, All the Feels gave me all the expectations before I even cracked it open. I wanted to feel that the main character, Liv, and I were something like kindred spirits. More than that, I wanted to feel that nostalgia that came with the parallels. After-all, when I was both a preteen and teenager, I was engrossed in various fandom groups. Although, to be perfectly blunt with you, times were a bit different back then. Between the use of The-N's message board, Yahoo Groups/MSN pages, not to mention the entirely delightful messes that were Geocities and Angelfire, my experiences in fandom were less in real-time and more in downtime.

(Massive font size side note: I'm always consistently grateful that Twitter and Tumblr didn't come about during my middle or high school years. I would have done far worse than I already did.

From Harry Potter to Gossip Girl to Degrassi, I had many Obsessive Fictional Loves back in my teens. There was something both endearingly relatable and not about Liv during All the Feels. We meet her in the very aftermath of the loss of her favourite character in--what could possibly be--the final film of a franchise she's loved for much of her life. At the age she stumbled into her beloved Starveil, a Star Wars-esque series of films, it is quite understandable that she formed such an attachment to it.

My feelings for Liv went from warm to lukewarm quite quickly, based upon her reaction to the death of her favourite character. It was just... very hard to like her for the first quarter of the book or even remain sympathetic to her. It felt a bit much for her age-group. If this had been a young girl in her early to mid-teenage years, I think it'd be easier to sympathize with. But, it wasn't.

Hold on, hear me out--despite this, I *do* understand how bothersome it would be if my present-day favourite fictional characters would die; if The X-Files were to return and kill off both Mulder and Scully, I'd definitely have a few words to exchange with the show-runner. If Doctor Who brought back Martha Jones to off her, I'd be bummed. In short, there's nothing wrong with having passion for a fictional world--many of us do. I just felt a little weird about the manner in which she mourned the death of the character in question.

Which included having some sort of meltdown in a movie theater. 

And actually mourning the character, as if he were a real person.

(When J.T. Yorke was killed off on Degrassi, I was hurt. Maybe beyond what I should have been. But, I was also just a very hormonal Freshmen in high school, not university.)

Then, upon further inspection... I am torn.

It is so very easy to get swept away in the woes of fictional life because our experiences in the real world can often be Too Much and we latch an abundance of emotions to a world other than our own, to forget if only for a moment. Liv uses her fandom life as an outlet to express herself and what she loves in the world--and that's not bad. I cannot hate on her for that, even though I have many opinions on the matter.

That being said, All the Feels took a while to get settled into itself before it became what I had hoped it'd be from the beginning. A very sweet, very fluffy coming of age story about breaking out of your shell, falling in love and finding your passions. Something about the portrayal of life both in and out of fandom was very compelling and, again, I did pause at some parts, and question others, relatable.

One thing I enjoyed above all else in All the Feels was the accurate description of online friendships. I met one of my very best friends during the Gossip Girl days and the friendship is one of the realest I have ever had. (Hey, Becca!) And many of my other friends come from the same. (Kayle! Beccah! Angel! Maritza! My ladies.)

The scenes where real-life fandoms get quick mentions are so fun. It reminded me a lot of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell in its tone and will be perfect for fans of that. And those who participate in fandom to begin with.

I also loved the scenes between Liv and Xander; their friendship was sweet (it had some flaws to it that I won't get into, though) and I enjoyed seeing their dynamic develop further, the experiences they share with one another. Watching Liv come out of her shell with Xander, stepping from her comfort zone on many occasions throughout, and begin to live in new, exciting, ways was a joy. Seeing her life in and out of fandom expand and collide was just plain fun.

Overall, I enjoyed All the Feels for the most part. While it was not my favourite book and took a bit of time to come into its own, it was a light read that was perfect for one of the first genuinely warm days of the year. I look forward to reading more from Danika Stone in the future.

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