Better Than The Movies by Lynn Painter
In this rom-com about rom-coms, in the spirit of Kasie West and Jenn Bennett, a hopeless romantic teen attempts to secure a happily-ever-after moment with her forever crush, but finds herself reluctantly drawn to the boy next door.
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.
Expected publication: May 4th 2021 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
This book was so cute!
First, Wes. Wes is super swoonworthy. He’s the type of boy I was attracted to when I was younger, so he really stood out to me. The humor and sarcasm mixed with sweetness was just perfect.
OK, now that I got that over with. Liz is adorable. She’s weird and obsessed with romantic movies and music. I loved that. I also loved that she was herself. She didn’t dress like a popular girl her age. She wasn’t into school sports or even going out a lot. She had her best friend, Jocelyn, but even then, she didn’t do everything with her. Liz was content to stay home and watch rom coms. Liz’s mom was in love with those movies and it was something they shared together. When her mom died, Liz continued with it. She really did love the movies, but it also kept her feeling close to her mom. Wes is her annoying next door neighbor that always tortured her. They had great banter, but didn’t even hang out. When her childhood crush, Michael, comes back to town, Liz plots with Wes to get Michael to like her. Liz bribed Wes into helping her and they spent a lot of time together. The shopping was the cutest. Liz started to have feelings for Wes, but she couldn’t let her idea of Michael go. Senior year has been hard on Liz without her mom and she wanted this one perfect thing. Plus, her mom warned her away from bad boys, so Wes had to be out. Liz does start to see that everything doesn’t have to be a rom com.
I really loved this book. The movies quotes and all the songs made it stand out to me. But I also really loved Liz, Wes, and Jocelyn. I adored Helena and Wes’s friends, too. Michael wasn’t my favorite, but I think it’s because I was just rooting for Liz & Wes.
I gave this book 5 stars. Thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me a review copy.
Warnings for death of a parent, teenage drinking, grief.
Have you read this yet? Is it on your TBR?