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.
I don’t think I’ve ever read one of the Canada Reads picks to be completely honest. At least not that I can remember anyway. But with the final list of five books released last month (found here), I have to admit that ‘When Everything Feels Like the Movies’ does sound highly intriguing. Lainey Lui (of eTalk and The Social fame on CTV) has this to say about the book: “Stories about young characters aren’t just relatable to young readers. Just because a book is classified as young adult doesn’t mean that the talent of the writer or the narrative isn’t impactful. The problem is that readers can be snobby and readers can discriminate. Readers have a responsibility to be better than that. This book is about how we often isolate what we don’t understand, how victims are born, and how we can fight. And that is a story that we can’t box in an age group.”
The book is based loosely on actual events that occurred. In a time when we are still fighting for gender equality and equal rights for all (and not just the heterosexual community), its refreshing to see that there’s a book aimed at the young adult audience to discuss such a heavy issue. This is the coming-of-age story of a young teen who refuses to be anything other than his flamboyant, fashion-loving self. Jude likes wearing his mother’s high heels and imagining that the world around him is part of a film set, and he doesn’t have it easy in high school, with its cliques and homophobes. His extravagant fantasies and irrepressible nature make Jude one of the most memorable teen characters in recent CanLit.