All the Feels
by Danika Stone
started in October 2016
I really wanted to love this. It started out good: the chapter titles are references to different fandoms, which is really cool!
I bought this book for the sole reason that this has a bisexual character (and they actually say he is bi). I’m still trying to figure myself out, but for now, I consider myself bisexual. Lately, however, I started thinking I might be pansexual instead. Anyway, I want to support more books that feature diversity, so I instantly got this. Most books that feature LGBTQ-characters, solely feature gay boys. Naturally, they deserve representation as well, but I’m also looking for books with trans, bi, lesbian… characters.
Unfortunately, the fact that this has a bi character, was not enough to make me love this. Xander had to remind Liv that he is bisexual. That is incredibly biphobic. She is so heteronormative, she even ‘forgets’ his sexuality. Coming out can be very stressful and she just assumes he is straight because he is dating a girl? Her reaction wasn’t great either. She responded with: ”That’s cool, Xander, it is.”. Last time I checked, he didn’t ask her whether his sexuality was okay. Yes, you can say she is trying to be supportive, but it rubs me the wrong way. He didn’t ask for her ‘permission’, yet that’s her first reaction? Also, she reads gay fanfiction, but then acts uncomfortable when he mentions he’s bi. Sounds like fetishisation to me.
The book is even sexist. Every time Arden, Xander’s girlfriend, is mentioned, Liv rolls her eyes. She even says the following things:
The problem with Arden, Liv thought, was that she was almost too likable.
Why was Arden always so godamned nice to everyone?! It made it hard to hate her.
Who even straightens their hair in the weekends?
It’s 2016, stop making girls hate each other over boys! If Liv wanted to be with Xander, she should’ve gone for it when she had the chance. There is nothing wrong with Arden, she was actually very nice to Liv, yet Liv is being a total bitch, because she sees her as competition.
And of course, Liv had to say ‘she is not like other girls’. This is possible the sentence I hate most, ever. She puts other girls down (“they wear too tight T-shirts”) to feel better about herself. It’s disgusting. I am sick and tired of girls being written this way. We already experience enough sexism from men, we have to stick together instead of fighting over them!
Naturally, I don’t know how their relationship is going to evolve, but that doesn’t take away the fact that she hated Arden for no reason at all.
I really liked the fact that this book was about fandoms, but it wasn’t executed well. Starveil is Star Wars. I don’t know how copyright works, but there were too many similarities, the author should’ve just made them Star Wars fans instead. The villain is called Darthku, it’s called Starveil… Furthermore, the characters were too dramatic when Spartan, a character in the Starveil movies, died.
Look, I’ve been upset over some character deaths, but not being able to go to work because you are mourning a character? That’s too much.
That’s exactly how I could sum up everything I had read: dramatic. These characters are supposed to be in college, but act like fourteen-year-olds. When her mother finds out she is making fandom videos, she acts as if Liv is a drug addict. She literally says:
“Fandom is destroying your future!”
That’s probably the exact moment I gave up on this book. How am I supposed to take any if this seriously? I realize this is fiction, but it’s a contemporary. So I want it to be realistic. And everything in All the Feels was just too much and over the top.
I didn’t like where the romance was going. Two pages ago, she was crying over Hank, now, she can’t stop thinking about Xander again. Stop lusting after a) someone who is already taken and b) your friend!
At one point, Xander was being rude to Hank for no reason at all (except for that he didn’t want to date Liv, but he has a girlfriend!) and when Hank says Xander was being a dick to him, Liv goes insane. That’s the moment I decided to DNF this. We aren’t in middle school anymore, enough with the relationship drama!
I am writing a thesis on diversity in books, so that’s also one of the reasons I started All the Feels. At one point, Liv says she is curvy, but she still fits in a skirt she wore in middle school, but she’s in college now? Does the author have any idea how awful that makes me feel? Liv isn’t curvy, she’s really skinny if she still fits in something she wore years ago.
There are other things that bothered me as well, but this review has already gotten more elaborate than I’d thought. Clearly, there were many things I didn’t like about this book, so I had to put it down. I started hating every little thing about it, so I wasn’t enjoying it anymore.
Conclusion: I wanted to love All the Feels, but there were too many things that bothered me. Perhaps if you aren’t as critical as me (and are okay with dramatic plotlines), you will enjoy this more than I did.