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Book Review: Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter

"So you think that two enemies--in the real world--can magically get over their differences and fall madly in love?" (pg. 36)

When I first saw Lynn Painter's Better Than the Movies in hardcover in December, I knew I need ed it. It looked so cute. And the plot sounded like my cup of tea. And then someone bought it. And I was sad. But I thought, "Okay, I work at the bookstore. We'll get another copy in." And we never did. Because there were no more reprints of the hardcover book. So, naturally, I thought I would buy it in paperback.

Six months later, I finally got it. That's right. SIX MONTHS. I had to wait for SIX MONTHS for the paperback copy. Sure, I could have gotten it on kindle, but I wanted a physical copy so badly. And, naturally, after waiting six months for this glorious book, I read it in four days. And that's usually how it goes, right?

But MY GOODNES. This book was just 😍🥰❤❤‍🩹😭😂🥳💃

I loved everything about it.


Liz Buxbaum has always known that Wes Bennett was not boyfriend material. You would think that her next-door neighbor would be a prime candidate for her romantic comedy fantasies, but Wes has only proven himself to be a pain in the butt, ever since they were little. Wes was the kid who put a frog in her Barbie Dreamhouse, the monster who hid a lawn gnome's severed head in her little homemade neighborhood book exchange.

Flash forward ten years from the Great Gnome Decapitation. It's Liz's senior year, a time meant to be rife with milestones perfect for any big screen, and she needs Wes's help. See, Liz's forever crush, Michael, has just moved back to townm and--horribly,annoyingly,--he's hitting it off with Wes. Meaning if Liz wants Michael to finally notice her, and hopefully be her prom date, she needs Wes. He's her in.

But as Liz and Wes scheme to get Liz her magical prom moment, she's shocked to discover that she actually 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 perception of what Happily Ever After should really look like.


First of all, if my friend-turned-boyfriend doesn't call me by my last name and vice-versa, I don't want it. With that being said, I am acutely aware that I have very high expectations about love and relationships, but it's fine. I'm Liz. Liz is me. EvErYtHiNg Is FiNe!

What they don't tell you in the description is that Liz lost her mother from a car accident in her middle-school years. She so badly wants this romantic relationship because of the shared love her mom and her had for romantic comedies. Like, You've Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, 10 Things I Hate About You, etc. And when Michael moves back to town after five years, she thinks she finally has that chance. She thinks Michael is guy her mom wants her to be with. Plain and simple. He's the good, kind guy.

Well, after Liz asks for Wes's help, things don't exactly go to plan. The plan: pretend Wes is into her so Michael sees her as approachable, and not the odd little girl he grew up with around the block. But then tragedy strikes.

Their first attemtp at getting Michael to see Liz, they go to a party. Seems like a good place to get to know someone. Until your vomited on in front of the entire party and your forever crush.

Second attempt, they go to a basketball game (Liz knows nothing about sports) and dresses in something other than her norm: a cute white top, jeans, and white Chucks. Half-time rolls around and her group sneaks away to another gym to play basketball. Liz has her opportunity to talk to Michale about prom. This may finally be it! Until she's in the nose with a basketball hard enough to bruise her nose and get blood everywhere on her new outfit. Not ideal.

Could it maybe be "the universe" (as explained in the book) keeping her from Michael? Or is it throwing her a curveball and making her life a real-life rom-com?


I love the character development so much. And just the characters in general. They are funny, relatable, and just so darn charming.

Like I said before, I am like Liz. She was thek id creating plays and hoping her neighborhood would perform them. Me. That was middle school me. To a T. Sure, she's a hopeless romantic, but there's nothing wrong with that. She knows who she is and she embraces every ounce of it. And that's super cool.

Wes is just awesome. He's funny, caring, and total rom-com material. I mean, can I have a Wes Bennett in my life? Please? He understands Liz on another level. And it's so endearing to watch their characters grow not only separately, but together, too.

Michael, thoguh we don't know much about his character, seems pretty cool. He has that whole Texas chivalry going on. While he only sees Liz as "little Liz," I do enjoy his attempt at trying to see a different side to her. His kindness is cool. I still like Wes better though.



I really loved this book. It was easy to read and follow. I got lost reading more than once. The characters were developed so well. I loved the movie quotes at the beginning of each chapter. And can we talk about the playlist created through the book?

Most YA romance novels kind of read the same every once in a while. And I was nervous it wouldn't live up to the hype. But, dear goodness, it did. And it was so worth the wait. This would definitely be a re-read for me. Especially if I'm in a slump.


Pretty please read this book. It was so good and such a great way to end the month of July.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments. Let's start a conversation!


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