“It felt so nice to not be fighting with Wes for once. Which was weird, because that was our thing; he messed with me and I got pissed. Rinse and repeat, for our whole lives. But now I was discovering that he was hilarious and nice and seemed like more fun than pretty much everyone else I know.”
Liz Buxbaum is obsessed with rom-com movies. She’s seen them all and watches them on repeat. It’s her last tie to her mother, a romance movie obsessed screenwriter, who died when Liz was young. During the last few weeks of her senior year, Liz is living her own rom-com when her childhood crush moves back to town, and Liz has to team up with her next door nemesis to get her crush to notice her. The only problem? Her nemesis has suddenly turned into the best guy she knows. Will she get her happily ever after with her crush? Or is she writing her happy ending all wrong?
Better Than the Movies is a sweet, wistful and funny YA rom-com. Teens and adults alike will love Liz’s antics as she tries to make it through the last few weeks of her senior year in high school, to get her life-long crush to notice her, and deal with grief from missing her late mother during some pinnacle times in her teen life like picking out a prom dress. Any avid rom-com movie watcher will delight in all of the references to favourites including Miss Congeniality, Pretty Woman, and When Harry Met Sally.
I really liked this book for a few reasons: firstly it’s really funny. Liz is sweet and hapless and charming and not perfect. She finds herself in terrible scrapes, isn’t always the best friend (who is at 16?) and is just trying to figure out what to do next in life. The book also deals with grief and family dynamics in an incredibly thoughtful and moving way. For Liz to grow, she has to come to terms with her mother’s death and what her new family with her funny and quirky step mom means. Can she still keep her mother’s memory alive but live her own life? And finally, the enemy-to-lovers romance between Liz and Wes is so lovely.
This book is a breezy read that feels so authentically teenaged. I was pulled back to my final year of high school with Liz and her friends’ antics. This book will appeal to adults who like to read YA and also actual teens. I find some YA books lately are written for adults, like the teen characters are just grownups who happen to be of a teenage age. Read this book if you want laugh-out-loud characters, high school hijinks and sweet enemies to lovers romance aka Anne and Gilbert tension. I loved this book and already can’t wait for Lynn’s next book.
I received this book for free from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.