School is just like a film set: there’s The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn’t fit in. He’s not part of The Crew because he isn’t about to do anything unless it’s court-appointed; he’s not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he’s not a Movie Star because even though everyone know his name like an A-lister, he isn’t invited to the cool parties. As the director calls action, Jude is the flamer that lights the set on fire.
Before everything turns to ashes from the resulting inferno, Jude drags his best friend Angela off the casting couch and into enough melodrama to incite the paparazzi, all while trying to fend off the haters and win the heart of his favourite co-star Luke Morris. It’s a total train wreck!
But train wrecks always make the front page.
This was such a heartbreaking novel. This book was a contender for last year’s Canada Reads prize ad I knew I wanted to read it due to Elaine Lui’s (Lainey from LaineyGossip) defense of it, but I wasn’t expecting it to be such a gut punch of a novel. Jude was such a remarkable character. Even when he was completely misunderstood and tortured by his peers, he always remained true to himself. The sad truth is while this book is graphic and vulgar at times, it’s pretty realistic. There are some really dark parts in this novel. It’s very difficult to read certain sections and it made me really uncomfortable at times. The only thing that was hard for me to grasp was the fact that these kids were only in middle school. They spoke and acted like they were so much older, which is why I don’t know if it makes it better or worse than this book is inspired by true events.
The writing style of this book is also unique. It was a little dreamlike and stark, but it does take a little time to adjust to it. Overall though, this book is moving and powerful, and a really important read. I strongly recommend it.