Posted 20 hours ago

Better Than the Movies

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I read a lot of contemporary and historical, both adult and YA, and I've also been enjoying more and more fantasy lately.

Before she died, Liz’s mother taught her that the charming “bad boy” is not the man to aim for; instead, she should seek a nice, dependable man for her “happily ever after.Liz daydreams about securing a happily ever after of her own and thinks the perfect opportunity for one has presented itself when Michael, her childhood crush, moves back to town. Everyone began taking notes on their school-issued laptops, and Colton Sparks gave me a chin nod from his desk in the corner. Watching the relationship between Liz and Wes evolve was the aspect of the book that really had me smiling as I read.

So instead of repeating the familiar refrain of “the book was better,” here are a handful of times where the cinematic choices actually elevated what was on the page. They were funny little letters that Laney used to read out loud to her friends, with silly drawings in the margins, and if I allowed my snooping eyes to stray to the bottom, where it said “Love, Mom” in curly cursive with doodled hearts around it, I would get so sad that I couldn’t even eat. Suddenly, she’s overcome by the realisation that she’s setting her life up in a way that she thinks it’s supposed to be—pushing her friends and step-mother away, ignoring what’s right in front of her—for an “idealized” life. Enter Wes Bennett, the boy next door, the one Liz has fought with her whole life, that everyone but her seems to love.

Girl, chill,” Joss said between her teeth, but I was helpless to stop the whole-face smile that broke free as I said, “Michael Young? I’ve been to Ryno’s, and it’s all about beer bongs, Fireball, and that never-have-I-ever kind of immature stuff. Indeed, the book is as much a tale about small town greed, corruption, and a questionable mafia component, as it is about a really big fish. I love all things autumnal and baking year-round, plus I adore cats with a passion (because who doesn't?

The more Liz schemes with him, the more she’s forced to examine the difference between what she thinks is good for herself and what actually is— and part of facing that means facing her past. My mother wouldn’t be there to take pictures and get teary as her baby attended the final dance of her childhood, and nothing made that hit home quite like seeing Joss’s mom do those things for her. This little indie starred a host of early 2000s-era young talent who were often in the tabloids themselves, including Wilmer Valderrama, Macaulay Culkin, and Mia Kirshner. Their chemistry ignited one of the great Hollywood love stories, on and off-screen, and makes this a rare pseudo-noir with a happy ending. As someone who enjoys Rom-coms, I was appreciative of the references to some of my favourite romantic comedies.

A perfectly turned phrase can be just as emotional as a beautifully framed shot in the right hands, and sometimes a filmmaker’s choices perfectly align with the author’s sensibility, bringing fan fave characters to vivid life.

My absolute favorite part of Better Than the Movies though was Liz’s relationship with her neighbor and arch nemesis, Wes Bennett. Joss threw me a side-glance between cleaning up each eye with a cotton swab as we walked into the bathroom. Keep up with all the latest book-related goodies on our blog and interact with authors in our Twitter chats.The story follows Liz Buxbaum, who, inspired by her mom’s favorite movies, creates soundtracks for important moments and tries to manipulate her own love life to mimic the scripted ones. Liz believes her hero cannot be Wes Bennet, her annoying next-door neighbor who has tormented her since childhood. When the novel opens, Liz and Wes are in the midst of an ongoing war over the parking space out in front of their homes. Jocelyn and I started walking toward our lockers, and she said, “Before I tell you, you have to promise you’re not going to get all worked up before you hear everything.

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