Better Than the Movies - Lynn Painter
Perpetual daydreamer Liz Buxbaum gave her heart to Michael a long time ago. But her cool, aloof forever crush never really saw her before he moved away. Now that he’s back in town, Liz will do whatever it takes to get on his radar—and maybe snag him as a prom date—even befriend Wes Bennet.
The annoyingly attractive next-door neighbor might seem like a prime candidate for romantic comedy fantasies, but Wes has only been a pain in Liz’s butt since they were kids. Pranks involving frogs and decapitated lawn gnomes do not a potential boyfriend make. Yet, somehow, Wes and Michael are hitting it off, which means Wes is Liz’s in.
But as Liz and Wes scheme to get Liz noticed by Michael so she can have her magical prom moment, she’s shocked to discover that she likes being around Wes. And as they continue to grow closer, she must reexamine everything she thought she knew about love—and rethink her own ideas of what Happily Ever After should look like.
Religiously following booktok, Haley Pham’s youtube channel, and reading amazing reviews, I felt more than obliged to read “Better Than the Movies”. Let me just say, I was blown away by how cute this book was. And yes, even though it’s a typical high-school romance, it is an addictive and uplifting read.
Better Than the Movies
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Rom-Com, YA, Romance, Contemporary
The book follows Liz Buxbaum, a high school senior, movie fanatic, and also a hopeless romantic in search of finding a love story like the ones she adores in her favorite rom-coms. When the boy of her dreams, her childhood crush, Michael shows up, she knows he is the one, someone who fits all of her ideal standards. This is where her neighbor and childhood frenemy shows up, Wess Bennet. Liz asks Wes to help her get Michael’s attention during her time of crisis. Wes in exchange asks for a parking spot they have been fighting over for the past months. Because of spending so much time with Wes, Liz starts to realize that he isn’t as bad as she thinks she is, in fact, he is kind of like the guys she fangirls over in her movies. During the chapters, Liz starts to develop an intricate and unknown feeling about Wes, soon she starts to get confused about who her real love interest is - Michael or Wes?
“Be brave enough to go big.” ~ Lynn Painter, Better Than The Movies
“Better Than the Movies” is a light-hearted, fast-paced, and adorable read. I loved how Lynn Painter added multiple movie references to classics such as “When Harry Met Sally” or “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”. “Better Than the Movies” follows the typical YA high-school love story with many clichés, so there isn’t anything extraordinary, but nonetheless it’s a fun and enjoyable read. The characters are really funny and relatable, and the witty banter is a huge plus, I really enjoyed reading Wes and Liz's banter. And the romance was also very charming.
A few cons of this book was the predictable plot - with the typical rom-com tropes. Lack of depth, meaning the writing didn’t have much complexity and uniqueness in the characters. Slow-pace was also something I felt, there weren’t enough plot twists to keep me engaged throughout.
Plot and Themes:
Better Than The Movies is a delightful and captivating book, packed with cute, amusing, and endearing interactions among its characters. The novel is a perfect fit for fans of romantic comedies because it offers a magnetic and entertaining read. To complement the book's romantic themes, each chapter is introduced with a quote from a classic romance film. Additionally, readers can find a playlist at the end of the book that perfectly complements the characters' story.