Title: All The Feels
Author: Danika Stone
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Paperback, 336 Pages
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Summary: College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life… So, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal. Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinaire, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a campaign to ignite the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her mother’s disapproval, and her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to figure out what she really wants.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I love working with the Swoon Reads crew, so I was more than excited for this one. After reading the summary, I was hoping that it would be similar to Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which is another fanbase-related book that I really, really enjoyed. Unfortunately, this book didn't hold the same appeal for me. (And let me just say before I get into this, this review is not a personal attack on author Danika Stone. It's possible to like an author without being crazy about her book, I promise.)
As the summary explains, Liv is a college freshman who finds herself in a world of never ending despair when the main character of her favorite series, Starveil, is killed off. (From what I'm assuming here, Starveil is supposed to be similar to Star Wars. It's the same kind of deal.) She gets so upset by the fictional death that she can barely leave her bed, and she slips into a literal state of mourning. (Which I found a bit extreme but, you know, to each his own and all of that.) When she's tired of feeling depressed and lonely about this character's death, she hatches what she thinks is a brilliant idea - a social media campaign to bring him back.
And because the movie series is as popular as I'm saying Star Wars is, it completely expands and spreads and climbs the chain until the revival of this character, Captain Spartan, is all that anyone is talking about. Even though she did it anonymously, Liv is the hero that helped spread the word that the series should continue and the character should be brought back.
There were a few things that I didn't like about this book. The biggest (and most noticeable) issue to me was how rushed the plot felt. After I finished the book, I wasn't quite sure what the main story was supposed to be about. Was it about Liv's campaign and what she did for the series? Was is her relationship with Xander? Was it finding herself as a "geek"? I couldn't actually put my finger on what this book was trying to get at. The summary makes it seem like the story is about Liv fighting to bring this character back from the dead - which, in a way, it is - but once you near the end of the book, that aspect of the story - the apparently biggest part - is more of an side-note. When you look back on the story as a whole, #SpartanSurvived is only a tiny blip on the radar.
The characters themselves also confused me. Liv reminded me more of a fourteen year old girl than she did a college freshman, and I wasn't quite sure what was going on with Xander at first, before it was explained that he was into cosplay and acting like he constantly lived in the nineteenth century. (I did appreciate his flirtatiousness, though - very appealing!) I think it was maybe just the third person point of view that threw me off so much, because you didn't really get into the characters' heads a lot to find out what they were really thinking.
(Minor spoilers ahead, so please skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read this book yet!) The last thing that really bothered me was just that you were left with a lot of questions and a lot of stuff didn't feel realistic. (And yes, I know this is a fictional novel, but when you're writing realistic fiction, it does need to be kept somewhat realistic.) When the story ended, I wanted to know what happened with Tom. What he was supposed to say to Liv. What happened to the entire fanbase once word really got out what Liv did, and all of that. What I found unrealistic was that all of a sudden Liv got her way with Spartan and got offered an internship by one of Hollywood's most famous directors, poof, just like that. It almost seemed like it was a second thought that the author added in last minute, because there was really no sort of plot development around it whatsoever.
Even though there were a few things about this book that I didn't like, one thing that I really enjoyed was the entire Dragon Con aspect. Reading about Liv and Xander's adventures there made me super nostalgic for Book Con, which is one of my favorite times of the entire year. (Even though I had to miss it this year because I had AP exams and it was in Chicago this year!) All of the talk of panels and signings and dinners and parties made me so sad yet excited, and I loved reading about Liv and Xander's experiences there! There's nothing like a good convention to get a fellow book nerd excited. :D
All in all, I thought that All The Feels was an okay book. I personally don't think it was on the same level as Fangirl, which is personally one of my favorite YA books of all time. I think that although there were several aspects of this book that I wasn't that crazy about, there were a few pieces that I enjoyed as well. Just because I didn't like this book doesn't mean that other readers out there won't, so I do still recommend giving it an honest try. If you're looking for a quick, light, and super-geeky read, All The Feels is definitely the book for you!