I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
All the Feels publishes October 26th, 2021.
Last year I read and loved Spoiler Alert and was excited to see that there would be another book in the universe. All the Feels takes everything I loved about the first book and deepens it, makes it stronger and better. All the Feels is very likely going to make it into my top three books of the year.
All the Feels is born in the sidelines of Spoiler Alert, but I don’t think you necessarily need to have read the first to enjoy the second. When Alex Woodroe, best friend of Marcus Caster-Rupp and Cupid on the extremely popular God of the Gates, managed to get arrested in a bar fight, the show’s producers saddle him with a minder to keep him on the straight and narrow through the end of filming and the show’s eventual airing. Enter into Alex’s life Lauren Clegg, cousin to one of the producer’s and a former ER therapist who just wants to take a vacation after burning out at work but instead finds that she can’t say no to the job being offered to her. Lauren is not overawed or intimidated by his fame. The plot of the first half of All the Feels runs parallel to Spoiler Alert, and then we are off to the races. On the basis of a friendship that has developed over their months spent together when Alex does implode his career he makes it his mission to keep Lauren in his life, and as they are no longer employed by the same company he lets himself pursue her romantically.
I was charmed immediately by the nature of Alex and Lauren’s relationship with each other. Alex has ADHD and it makes him hyperverbal, while Lauren has closed herself off from the world in a subconscious way to protect herself from the constant onslaught of trauma she saw in the ER and the lack of resources available to her to help those who crossed her path. Alex makes it his goal to coax Lauren’s personality out because he finds her captivating (he is enthralled by her Big Harpy Energy t-shirt as he rightly should be) and Lauren discovers the kind compassionate heart hiding behind movie star good looks – its right there if only you bother to look. I laughed so hard I snorted during the early portions of the book and the banter between the two just gets better and better. Dade writes such human characters, Alex and Lauren each have baggage they are working through, traumas that haunt their pasts and influence their actions, and neither fixes the other, but their growing love inspires each to make the growth they need.
Fanfiction plays an important role in the book. Alex writes and reads fanfiction for various purposes (venting his anger about the character assassination and downright dangerous messaging in his character’s final season arc as well as reading to blow off steam- and yes, there is pegging in this book). Alex is also highly conversant in tropes which proves a delight in the back half of the book as he calls out the tropes as they are occurring and talks Lauren into role playing a few. I’m telling you – this book is a hoot with a big damn heart.
I can’t wait for it to come out and everyone else to get a chance to read it, nor can I wait to dive into my personal copy when it comes in the mail, since I had already pre-ordered this anyway. I immediately wanted to go back and read this story again, I don’t know a better compliment I can pay it.
Bingo Square: Flora (behind excellent illustrations of the two leads is a line drawing featuring the Saroyan Stairs and the plants that make up the view – an important location in the story. Leni Kauffman strikes again with a great cover design.)