Genres: young adult, contemporary
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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.
Yeah, it says Swoon Reads right on the front, so why why WHY did I go for this, the hater of casual romance contemporary novels and the naysayer against Operation Get a Date styled storylines? I really fell hard for that blurb. I could seriously relate to the connection with fictional characters and the personal pain of watching something you love come to an end. So I took a breath and dove right into that, expecting that, yet, there is going to be some wish fulfillment here.
While I was ready to forgive the romance-driven plot, I was completely unprepared for the slap-dash, hateful narrative of this book. I advised people on Twitter that I referred to this book as All the Fails, because this book had everything I loathe in a novel.
Female-on-female hate. Liv HATES Arden (Main Love Interests (MLI)’s cute, perfect, blonde, perky, GF for NO reason. I understand becoming annoyed by certain people, when they encroach on your emotional territory, but Arden was often kind, generous and wanted to include Liv, even though Liv coveted her own boyfriend. How is that even okay?
Supporting “wholesomeness” and likability by creating everyone else as crappy and hateful. Seriously, EVERY male that isn’t MLI is a horrible, rotten asshole. Another possible love interest who is kinda sweet? Big asshole in an unrealistic, over-the-top manner. Liv’s mother’s boyfriend is so redneck and cartoonishly rude and evil!! Every other guy on the planet is so rude to Liv, but there is Xander, MLI, to SAVE THE DAY!! Isn’t it awesome how the world is filled with horrible, rude people, except for Xander and Liv? They are SO unlike all of the other assholes of the world!! Yeah, that is a pillar of sand that seriously gets under my skin. It is weak writing to make your characters look better by watering down and villainizing everyone else around them. That is a middle-school frame of mind – everyone is just out to get poor little me, how unfair A great alternative title for this book could have been Liv’s Pity Party. She asked out a sweet, charming guy, and he turns her down because he has a girlfriend, but he wants to remain close to Liv. GUY IS A DOUCHEBAG, HE’S MISSING OUT. No…that’s not how this works. The guy was committed, and being friendly and open with another girl doesn’t indicate that Liv was strung along. He was trying to have an adult friendship. Not every male has to be a love interest. There is such a thing as women and men being friends. Hank got the short end of the stick here, especially when the writer went ahead and assassinated his character to go ahead and squash any sympathy that the reader had for him, because, he really REALLY hurt Liv’s feelings.
Fat hate. A character that is pretty well liked previously in the story meets with the main characters in real life. At that time, they discover that this totally awesome person is old, and fat. How dare she not be the person that Liv pictured in her head?! Very quickly, her age, weight and pushiness becomes a joke, such as using sausage fingers for to describe her hands during a hug.
All the Hate. This book totes so much mean spirited hatred. Girls wearing too-tight shirts and yoga pants are scoffed at and called “unfeminine” by MLI to help poor belittled Liv feel better about her looks. The person that Liv just adores HATES her, because that makes “real love” so much better, you know? Liv’s mom is just so mean to her, even though she has a great point; if your hobbies are causing you to fail school work, then there is a problem. Even though the ending is just perfect and ideal and fuck schoolwork, that isn’t idealistic, and supporting the idea that it is okay to blow off school work because you want to act like a slobbering fangirl online is concerning.
Immature characters. These characters act like they are fresh into middle school, not college kids. Liv mopes for weeks when a character from a show dies. Like, mopes and falls into a depression and whines to her friends how depressed she is that a character died. And Liv has seriously no other interests. It is even brought up that she has no other passions outside of her ONE fandom, and that is never resolved. Seriously, this book makes me more worried about Liv – I felt no connection to her issues. It was like the great big book of white whine.
Supports Abuse. The book supports that actors are here to only serve the “fans” – that they are only put upon this Earth to meet the demands of the audience. Like entertainment slaves. Seriously, MLI tells Liv that the only opinion that matters is the ones supported by the fans and the audience. It doesn’t matter if an actor is unhappy with a role or ready to move on – it isn’t their call to make. Even earlier in the book, there is a death threat against a real person because a movie didn’t end the way the “fans” wanted it to. This was the main reason why the book is at a one star. I hardly ever rate books I finish at one stars, but here it is.
This book was a heaping pile of horrible. The characters were flat and unrealistic, and the book wasn’t even really about “fandom”, but how unfair life is for Liv, even though she made her own issues. The best thing about this book was that two deprecating, nasty people ended up together, and they deserved each other, because no one else deserves to be chained to two egotistical, self serving individuals. All the Fails, here. All of them.