better than the movies by lynn painter

Name: Shion

Grade: 9th

Title: Better than the Movies

Author: Lynn Painter

Published in: 2021

Pages: 349

Rating: 4 stars

Better than the Movies by Lynn Painter is a YA romance novel revolving around Elizabeth Buxbaum, a senior in high school. When her crush since childhood, Michael, moves back to town, she resorts to asking her next-door neighbor and childhood frenemy, Wes Bennett, to help her get with him. However, as Liz becomes closer to Wes, she notices all the perks of him- how kind he is, how attractive he is, and how much she enjoys being around him. Despite having always wanted to be with Michael and thinking Wes was the typical “bad boy” she should never be around, she finds herself falling for her neighbor and has to rethink who “Happily Ever After” truly is for her.

All the characters in this cute and “fluffy” story were so fun to observe. Each of them was compelling and funny, yet so different from one another. Despite the amount of cliché, I found myself constantly wanting to turn to the next page. It was just the right amount of reality and typical romance cringe. I think any reader would immediately fall in love with the kindness of Wes Bennet and Liz’s ability and desire to be her complete self. Throughout the novel, you can see all the characters supporting one another with utmost genuineness. From Liz’s step-mom Helena trying to provide her with another mother-like figure to look up to after her mother’s death to Wes constantly putting in a good word for Liz, they all have her back. I often found myself unable to put the book down, wondering when Liz would finally realize the affection Wes had for her. Each character has an important role in the storytelling, and none of them felt unnecessary. The lightheartedness of the novel is balanced out by the sad backstory Liz and her father have. On top of that, there are so many wonderful quotes and references from classic rom-com that just added another flavor to this novel.

If you are looking for the perfect cute YA romance novel, I highly recommend giving this book a read. After reading a scary thriller or sad classic, this will surely lighten up your mood and make you smile. Better than the Movies would be a great option for a romcom-loving teen who just wants to have a fun time reading.

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