All the Feels – Danika Stone
16th June 2016, Swoon Reads
336 pages, 5/5 stars
I consider myself as an active partaker of the Harry Potter fandom. I cosplayed, I wrote fanfiction, my friends and I dissected every aspect of the canon. I own a lot of merchandise (see the Marauder’s Map in the photo…) and I have read the series in three languages.
And so, I totally ADORED this book – it is an ode to fandom!!! It also made me seriously miss all the fun of fandom life! (I am heading to Supanova in Sydney this weekend, so I’m sort of getting back into it! Even if I am dressing as a Disney princess rather than a Harry Potter character!)
Danika Stone must be a massive fangirl to have so perfectly encapsulated the life and times of Liv Walden, Starveil‘s biggest fan. When Spartan, her fandom’s protagonist is killed off in the final movie, Liv launches an online campaign #SpartanSurvived to spark a revolution, and attempt to coerce the filmmakers into creating more content for the fans. She creates epic fan-vids – using her best friend as a new character, and stitching together deleted scenes from old movies.
I really really liked that the book incorporated other media (to the extent that it was able – I WISH I could have seen Liv’s fan-vids). There were fan manips – photoshopped images – interspersed with chat room conversation. There were references to fanfiction – both canon and smut. It just made me SO HAPPY! Also, each chapter started with a quote from a particular fandom – and I recognised all except two; again, total, flailing joy!!! (Especially because Chapter 3’s quote was from HARRY POTTER!)
Liv’s Mum isn’t happy about her involvement in the fandom – despite her fairly big role. She almost failed high school due to her obsession, and it seems that her uni results are heading the same way. There is a lot of conflict between Liv and her Mum, which isn’t helped at all by her Mum’s boyfriend – he was a massive dick, for not being a particularly integral character. Also, why don’t parents understand that in this day and age internet friends count as real?
Just a brief aside to mention here how excited I am to be reading about a uni student obsessed with fandom? Or just a uni student in general, who isn’t stupidly mature and intelligent? But a real one, who fails some of her tests, and has better things to do than classes? 😛
Xander is Liv’s best friend, and he was really cool. He is openly bi, and he spends his life in cosplay, steampunk to be precise. Halfway through the book, he and Liv head to DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia to meet the cast of Starveil and to listen to a fandom announcement which has been brewing.
There is a little bit of romance which was predictable, but happens way too fast all at once. I didn’t think that aspect of the story was necessary. But I will definitely put up with crappy romance for more fandom stories!
Overall, this is the story of how I wish my Harry Potter obsession had played out. I loved every minute of Liv’s fandom ride, and loved watching her try and balance real life with uni (IT’S TRICKY PEOPLE!)! I totally loved this book and all its fannish eccentricities. I hope Danika Stone writes more – her style was awesome, and her theme was THE BEST!
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.
What’s your fandom? Do you (like me) flail about seeing fandom in stories?