Better Than The Movies
By: Lynn Painter
Contemporary Romance / YA
Opening Line: “My mother taught me the golden rule of dating before I even hit second grade.”
Overall: This book is a rom-com about rom-coms! This YA book has it all. Enemies-to-lovers trope, fake dating, cute & quirky female lead, childhood crushes, first loves, bad boy vs. good guy decisions, steamy make-out scenes, jealous rivals, scenes in the rain, a Promposal, prom dress shopping with the girls, fight with best friend, learning to forgive, very embarrassing teenage incidents, making college decisions, family conflicts, and personal growth. All of this while also referencing classic rom-com movies! Liz Buxbaum is a senior in High school who has been fighting with her annoying neighbor Wes Bennett since they were little kids. He was constantly doing things to annoy her, and still is. She tries her best to avoid him at all times. But, that is difficult to do now that they are constantly fighting over a prime parking space near their homes. However, things change when Liz’s old childhood crush, Michael Young, moves back to town. Liz has made up her mind that Michael is the perfect good-guy hero that she is supposed to end up with in her own love story. Wes and Michael are childhood best friends who hit it off again right away. So, Liz makes a deal with Wes that he can have the prime parking spot as long as he helps her get Michael’s attention and win his heart. So during this truce with Wes, he pretends to want to date her so that Michael will notice her, and realize she is not “little annoying Liz” from their childhood anymore. While Liz and Wes are fake-dating, she begins to realize she really likes being around Wes. By the time that Prom comes around, Liz isn’t sure which guy’s attention she is really trying to have anymore. Wes is the bad-boy and all the rom-coms (and her mom) say never to end up with the bad-boy, it never works out. She is supposed to end up with the good-guy Michael and have her real life happy ending. But, is that what will really make her happy?
Ovations: First of all, I loved that there are quotes from famous rom-com movies at the beginning of every chapter! This book has a lot of references to romantic movies, books, and songs. (Liz’s cat is named after a character in Bridget Jones’s Diary, and it’s not the person you think!) I loved everything about this adorable book! I actually bought it based on the cover. There are several cute, classic rom-com pictures on the cover. Including the famous John Cusack boom-box scene from Say Anything, and I love that movie! This book is sweet, romantic, funny, sexy, relatable, charming, flirty, and adorable. The strong chemistry and smart, witty banter between Liz and Wes is wonderful, and just what you need from your two main characters. They playfully tease and insult eachother all throughout the book, just as childhood friends would. There are totally embarrassing moments, hilarious moments, serious and sad moments, fluffy and fun moments, romantic moments, angry moments, sweet moments, and they are all written beautifully into this very enjoyable storyline that keeps you interested and reading to find out what happens next. The main character Liz goes through a lot of difficult self-realization and really grows as a person. You will find yourself rooting for her throughout the whole book, and cheering when she gets her unexpected happy ending.
Oh Well: I have no complaints about this book. The only possible comment I could make would be that you do see where it is going and who she will end-up with, but all rom-com’s are structured that way. You are just there to enjoy going on the journey with the characters as they get to their happy ending.
Opinion: I loved this book! It is a delightful rom-com about rom-coms! Does it get any better than that? I was sad after this book ended because realized I will miss being in the world of Wes and Liz. I want to keep reading about them to find out what happens next in their lives. This is a Young Adult book set in High School, but don’t let that deter you if you have never read a YA book since you were a YA! I believe it is an outstanding book for someone of any age. And if you are older, it will even be better for you because you will know all the classic romantic books, songs, and movies that this book refers to all the time. I highly recommend this book for everyone. Rating 10 out of 10