Mary H's Reviews > All the Feels

All the Feels by Danika Stone
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Like with Sarvenaz Tash's The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love, All the Feels's strong suit is definitely the depiction of fandom and especially of the con experience. I'm especially glad considering All the Feels is about Dragon*Con, and D*C is MY con. Literally everything—dancing in the atriums, the tight crowds in the dealer rooms, the eclectic groups of mixed costumed fans (especially genderbent cosplay, boys in Disney princess costumes in particular), even the scene depicting am run-in with a douchey guy who thinks he's entitled to a girl's time & calls her a fake fan when she says no, jumping on the up elevator to go down—all of that is 100% authentic. I've lived it. Oooooh, I literally just got hit with a bout of inspiration for a blog post. Brilliant, Mary. I also like the way Danika describes online fandom in addition to the IRL fandom experience at a con, and how those things merge unexpectedly. Because, yeah, you can be super tight with people online, but it doesn't always translate 100% IRL. I like how Sarah, Joe, and Brian are all perfect examples of this.

As much as I wanted to love All the Feels, there are a few things I have a problem with. Mostly I was uncomfortable with Liv, who never seems quite comfortable in her own skin. I couldn't get into her as the mc because I just didn't feel it. And while yes, 18 and a freshman in college is young and you younguns have PLENTY of time to figure out what to do with your life, 18 is also old enough to be thinking about that seriously. I am extremely bothered by Liv completely ignoring real life and acting like fandom is the be all end all. Not how it works. If you love fandom, you can still find a way to make a living at it. This is something that annoyed me about Cath from Fangirl as well. As cool as fandom is, real life sadly exists, and you HAVE to find a way to live in both worlds if you're going to be part of fandom.

I also got really frustrated with Xander. He acts very proprietary toward her, but that REALLY bothers me considering he has a girlfriend. That bothers me a lot. If you're in a relationship, you don't have the right to be upset when your single friend is interested in someone else (whether or not that someone else is a horrible gross person is irrelevant). I love how supportive and sweet Liv and Xander are, but they do cross the more-than-friends boundary a lot, and that bothers me since Xander is with Arden. I'm not a fan of cheating in any forms so while Xander and Liv never physically do anything while he's unavailable, they definitely always gave me a more-than-just-friendly vibe.

Also the tone was strange, and I got it from page one when Liv is described as a young woman and Xander is described as a man. This is a YA book with a college main character, which is fine, but it kept jumping the line from young YA to mature not-YA and back. Like one character who I thought was a nice person, even if he upsets Liv in a very realistic scene, randomly comes back several chapters later and sleazily asks her to be part of a threesome? What the actual? Bit moments like this really jacked with the consistency of the All the Feels's tone, and that is frustrating to read. I found these discrepancies also messed with my ability to read normally. I'm a fast reader, but if the book isn't consistent, I'm going to take more breaks and not read it all in one setting.

Finally, as a Halo fan, I very much did not like Starveil's hero being named Matt Spartan. Spartan is a Halo thing. It felt like Danika appropriated an existing fandom's term so her hero could have a badass name and hashtag. No. No no no. No no. SPARTAN IS JOHN-117 AND HIS COHORTS. I'm not kidding when I say this really annoyed me the entire book. I was irrationally angry about all the Spartan talk. I very much wish Danika and the Swoon Reads editors had thought this through and created another name.

All the Feels does prove how much power fans can have, and that got me thinking about my personal fandom experiences. I was wrong when I originally said the book seemed to be Firefly based. It's apparently more of a love letter to the Coulson Lives movement, which is cool. Coulson is a perfect example of fan power. Supernatural fans have been clinging to the show for YEARS as it has fought against cancellation time and time again. Remember when Kanye went crazy on Twitter because #SatanIsComing was trending? That was because of Supernatural fans. Jericho fans managed to get an abbreviated second season greenlit so the show could wrap up. Star Trek fans have made the new series successful. Firefly fans who were screwed royally by Fox managed to get a movie. So, yeah. Don't tell me fans aren't powerful. However, I am sometimes uncomfortable by this amount of power. It's like, yeah, you CAN force more, but SHOULD you? I have made my anger regarding Cursed Child and the resurgence of Harry Potter no secret. I think this horrible book-script-thing is awful and what I have read of it seems to actively contradict many of the things I fell in love with when I read Harry as a tween and teen. I feel like Cursed Child is attacking my childhood, and I HATE IT. But the entire world keeps asking for more more more more more with no regard for potential consequences. Over the years, I have seen many YA fans beg authors for sequels for their favorite novels. Sometimes they get them, but I have so much respect for the (most contemporary) authors who have said no. These authors have said similar twists on the same concept: if the characters have an HEA at the end of a book, in order to write a sequel, the author will have to introduce conflict. If the characters are in a romantic relationship, the conflict is usually going to break them up and cause them problems, which would be upsetting to the fans. Therefore, many authors have turned to spin-offs and companions or even not-sequels that reference their characters in an oblique, slightly easter egg kind of way.

At the end of All the Feels, MRM, the creator of Starveil announces (view spoiler). I don't like this. I think it's one thing if they make (view spoiler) I definitely understand why Tom Grander was angry at having to stay in a world he was ready to leave behind (although taking out his anger on Liv was awful and inexcusable). I do think actors who take on fandom roles need to be okay with being that character for a long time and appreciate their fans, but at the same time, I think fans need to be okay with endings.

All the Feels was an interesting read, and I liked parts of it and disliked parts of it. I'm glad it got me thinking about all the great and bad things fandom has to offer. Thanks to Macmillan and Swoon Reads for sending me a copy for review.

Original review upon discovering All the Feels:
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Reading Progress

July 30, 2015 – Shelved
July 30, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
August 13, 2016 – Started Reading
August 14, 2016 –
page 71
August 16, 2016 – Finished Reading

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