Saturday, November 19, 2016

Book Review: All the Feels by Danika Stone

Title: All the Feels
Author: Danika Stone
Published: 2016
Source: NetGalley

Summary: Liv, Starveil fangirl extraordinaire, is devastated. Her favorite character died at the end of the most recent movie, and her life is over. But she's not going to take this lying down. She enlists her best friend Xander's help and launches a campaign to bring Captain Tom Spartan back. To her delight, she sees it balloon into an online phenomenon that might actually succeed.

In real life, though, her mother wants her to drop all this silly fan stuff and focus on real world questions, like what's she actually going to do with her life. But Liv has no idea. Isn't there a way to just do what she loves?

First Impressions: Definitely saw Xander coming a mile away. I liked the examination of fandom, of its emotional importance, and that counter to her mother's disdain, it brought her something concrete in the end.

Later On: As someone who's been around various fandoms for years, and has actually had good things come of it professionally, I appreciated the respect and realism in this novel's portrayal of fandom, as well as the broad range of creative fanworks and the part that social media plays in connecting fans to each other.

You also see the other side - besides her mother's disapproval, Liv gets sexually harassed at a con, is shocked to see that some of her online friends are way different than she pictured them, and even gets yelled at by the very actor she's trying to revive.

I was worried that Liv was going to realize she was using fandom as an emotional crutch and discard it for the "real world." Part of her emotional attachment to the movies dates back to her dead father, after all. But the novel is clear that she's also built more out of it. She's taught herself to edit videos, built an online network, and started a grassroots campaign.

To my relief, she never discards fandom wholesale. She learns more about it, but it's woven through her learning more about herself, about what she wants and how people work. (Including the sweet, light-handed romance between her and Xander.)

As she starts to see her beloved movies (and the actors in them) as products of an industry, she sees how the skills she's honed as a fan creator can support an adult career in that industry, without sacrificing her enthusiasm for the created world.

More: Teen Librarian Toolbox

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