When Everything Feels Like the Movies

Everyone wanted to break me. But stars aren’t broken, they explode. And I was the ultimate supernova.

My name was Jude. They called me Judy. I was beautiful either way.

School was basically a movie set. We were all just playing our parts. The Crew, the Extras, the Movie Stars. No one was ever real… especially me. I didn’t fit any category.

All the girls watched me – I could walk so much better than them in heels, and my make-up was always flawless.

All the boys wanted to, well, you know… even if they didn’t admit it. They loved me, they hated me, but they could never ignore me.

I only had eyes for Luke. A red carpet rolled out from my heart towards him and this year, on Valentine’s Day, I was going to walk that carpet and find my mark next to him. It would be like a dream.

But my dream was going to turn into a nightmare.

This is my story.


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Awards & Nominations
  • Winner of the 2014 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature
  • Nominated for Publishing Triangle’s Ferro-Grumley Award
  • Nominated for the 27th Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Children’s/Young Adult Literature


“Raziel Reid is a really extraordinary guy. He’s got a great thing going.”

— Anne Rice (Anne Rice 2014-07-08)

“Raziel Reid’s debut novel beautifully and brutally spotlights how boundless the queer imagination is, especially as a survival instinct. The protagonist Jude Rothesay is a glamorous and brassy teenager, most inspiring for his persistent devotion and commitment to himself. I wish I had a role model or friend like Jude and a beacon like When Everything Feels like the Movies when I was in high school.”

— Vivek Shraya, author of God Loves Hair and She of the Mountains (Vivek Shraya 2014-07-14)

“Reid’s novel is truly a no holds barred examination of a young man attempting to explode into adulthood, with all the raw sexuality and gritty realism that such a journey entails.”

— CM Magazine (CM Magazine 2014-09-10)

“A tightly constructed life-as-a-stage allegory, complete with filmic idolatry and requisite amounts of love, lust, and all associated melodrama.”

— Backlisted (Backlisted 2014-10-15)

“An edgy and non-sugarcoated novel, full of gender-bending teen glamour, mischief and melodrama.”

— BC Booklook (BC Booklook 2014-11-05)

“A powerful first book, an important book for young queer youth, and written like a burst of glitter gushing through an open wound.”

— Lemon Hound (Lemon Hound 2014-11-18)

“Even within the realm of YA books about gay, cross-dressing teenagers, When Everything Feels Like the Movies stands out. It doesn’t mince words, and often those words are the kind not generally found in children’s literature.”

— Montreal Gazette (Montreal Gazette 2015-01-01)

“His extravagant fantasies and irrepressible nature make Jude one of the most memorable teen characters in recent CanLit.”

— CBC Books (CBC Books 2015-01-01)

“When Everything Feels like the Movies is convincing from the very start, Jude’s point of view perfectly executed and consistent. In order to create a sense of agency over his life, Jude imagines high school as a movie set, the complex social structures comprising players with their parts. And his part is unabashedly himself, for there is no one else he can be (and the alternative would be being no one at all), moreover his self-definition is limited by others’ expectations of his behaviour, and he plays right into that role. Jude and his friend Angela are crude, stupid, vindictive, reckless, and cruel in the manner that all people are when they are learning about words and responsibility and the power to hurt and shock (and be noticed). In this way, they’re not so different from their more conventional classmates. Every single one of them is scared, insecure, terrified of being found-out, and trying to be bullet-proof.”

— Pickle Me This (Pickle Me This 2015-02-17)

“Equal parts captivating, heart-breaking and eye-opening, the novel exposes the chasm between millennials and every generation before them.”

— The West Ender (The West Ender 2015-03-26)

“This story is a whirlwind of gender-bending drama with plenty of pop culture references.”

— School Library Journal (School Library Journal 2015-04-14)

“When Everything Feels like the Movies refuses to conform to the gender and sexuality norms of the YA genre (a genre inundated with straight, cisgender, upper-middle-class teens whose sexual fantasies end at second base), and it’s honest and beautifully written. I wish I had read any stories like this one when I was in Jude’s position: an angry, foul-mouthed queer teen growing up in a small town.”

— Geist (Geist 2015-06-22)