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Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson. Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in ev Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson. Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend. While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much in common; but, after a coincidental meeting at the movie theater, Lily gets an idea – why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they set up their perfect romantic situations, just in time for their senior prom, using movie techniques? Once the girls come up with the perfect plans, they commit themselves to being secret cohorts and, just like in the movies, drama ensues.


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Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson. Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in ev Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson. Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend. While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much in common; but, after a coincidental meeting at the movie theater, Lily gets an idea – why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they set up their perfect romantic situations, just in time for their senior prom, using movie techniques? Once the girls come up with the perfect plans, they commit themselves to being secret cohorts and, just like in the movies, drama ensues.

30 review for Just Like the Movies

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tiff at Mostly YA Lit

    Warning: this is going to be one of those deeply personal reviews for me - I'm not even sure it's a review, it's...I don't know what it is. An essay? Philosophical thoughts? I don't know. But I hope you'll read on and find out why this book affected me so much, and why it might work for you.  Just Like the Movies is one of those books that would normally be a really cute, light summer romance for me. It's a book that you can read really quickly (I finished in about 2.5 hours!), and just soak Warning: this is going to be one of those deeply personal reviews for me - I'm not even sure it's a review, it's...I don't know what it is. An essay? Philosophical thoughts? I don't know. But I hope you'll read on and find out why this book affected me so much, and why it might work for you.  Just Like the Movies is one of those books that would normally be a really cute, light summer romance for me. It's a book that you can read really quickly (I finished in about 2.5 hours!), and just soak in the fun. Normally, it would probably get a "fun, but not super memorable" rating from me...except for the fact that one of the characters was exactly like me as a teenager. When I first heard about this plot, I knew I had to get my hands on this novel, because I asked that question everyday in high school and during my first year in college: "Why isn't life more like the movies?" As a teenager, I soaked in stories - I lost myself in movies and I read books voraciously, and I dreamt of love like I saw in Ever After or 10 Things I Hate About You. I really wanted to make my life like a romance movie, because I wanted every moment of my life to have meaning. When I got this ARC, I knew I'd be reading about characters who were like me, who always wanted to make those perfect scenes happen, and even though I knew that the book reenactments probably wouldn't turn out as perfectly as the characters hoped they would, I knew I was going to connect with the characters right away. Throw in the fact that the writing was super-engaging , and I was completely on board. I definitely identified with Marijke in her one-sided relationship with Tommy, and the fact that he took her for granted. I admired and saw myself in some of the gutsy moves she made in order to keep her relationship together: at one point, she commissions a flash mob to show Tommy how much she loves him (a throwback to lots of rom-coms, but especially Friends with Benefits). She's strong and sassy and a genuinely nice character. HOWEVER. Very rarely do I come across a character who is literal representation of who I was as a teenager. Lily is just that - she's a bit sarcastic, definitely self-deprecating; a brainy girl who does a ton for the school, but despite how much she does, she's pretty much invisible to everyone. She's not part of any crowd. She doesn't know how to dress. She has "people she's friendly with, but not actual friends." The book alternates between Lily and Marijke's points of view, and I can't get over how many passages in Lily's parts I highlighted. They were the things I thought in high school. They were the things I felt in high school.  I thought I'd be squirmy over them, but they kind of made me a bit teary because, guys, Kelly Fiore GETS me. She gets why I think the way I do, and she made Lily real to me. "It's kind of weird to be such a big part of things but not a part of things at all," Lily narrates early on in the novel. "At least not enough to be recognized. Most of the time, I just try to convince myself that I don't care." This was me in high school. I was the girl who was involved with everything, who organized a lot of things, but I was never really a part of things. Those lines are exactly how I lived through my high school experience, and it was both painful and cathartic for me to see myself represented through this book. Even when Lily takes a chance on Joe later on in the book, it reminded me of my own experience asking a boy to prom for the first time. Fiore makes Lily completely visible, centre stage in a novel, and I'm so grateful, because, like Lily, I always thought of myself as a secondary character - someone who helps along the plot for the hero and heroine by making the school dance happen. In high school, I never thought I could be a main character. This book made me realize that maybe, just maybe, someone was noticing me in high school . Because for Fiore to write such a marked, perfect description of who I was...she was watching, and I am just...so grateful for it. Even as an adult, I felt empowered and just...noticed, because I mattered enough to be a main character in her novel. Me with my BFF in high school. We're not friends anymore, but I'm grateful he was around at just the right point in my life.  But then Fiore takes it one step further. When her main characters, Lily and Marijke hatch their plot and put their scenes into action, they become friends. And like my own life when I finally found a BFF in high school, that friendship is more meaningful than either of them realize . More than anything, what Just Like the Movies celebrates is having a connection with another person . Finding someone you're able to tell everything to, and finding someone with whom you can be yourself. It's only when they fight that Marijke realizes what she's losing: "They say you can fall in love at first sight. What about falling into friendship? Can you become BFFs over the course of a few short weeks?" Honestly, to me - and this is my one and only criticism of the book, and it might be kind of a SPOILER - the story should have focused on just Lily and Marijke's friendship , because that's enough. The book works so well with their realization of what they mean to each other, and how movies fit into that. The romance part is almost an afterthought. But I think Fiore wanted to end on the romance because she wanted to remind us that we all do long for that movie script ending sometimes. We want things to magically resolve like a movie, or, dare I say it, like a YA book. As an adult who reads YA, I recognize that things aren't always like that, and that sometimes, YA and movies are mainly an escape from a gritty and unfair reality. But at the same time, reading a book like Just Like the Movies makes me all the more grateful for the moments of magic that do exist in our lives - whether they be through discovering books or other stories, or through our own realities. Even though Just Like the Movies cautions you not to live your life hoping for that perfection or trying to create it, it also celebrates those moments when life does feel perfect, without you even trying. Bonuses:  Name A Rom-Com: It's pretty fun reading Fiore's descriptions of my favourite rom-coms and their best scenes - Easy A, Mean Girls, Never Been Kissed, The Cutting Edge...there are so many mentioned in this book, and it totally made me want to go and watch every one of them again. The Final Word:  Here's the thing: Just Like the Movies isn't super deep, and it's not meant to be. But it hit me hard because it reminded me so much of myself as a teenager . The novel is fun, fast-paced, and adorable, but it also has some wisdom that I think will really resonate with teens, and even with some adults. Some people will see it in the way Kelly Fiore gently pokes fun at the rom-com cliches. Some will see it in the characters themselves, like I did. And some people will see it as a reminder to seize those moments when life really does feel like the movies, and to hold on tight.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Grace (LovingDemBooks) Z.

    Buy this book HERE on Amazon or buy this book HERE on BookDepository with FREE WORLDWIDE SHIIPPING I am currently reading this title. Full review to come. ONE BOOK DOWN. A FEW MORE TO GO UNTIL I'M OUT OF THIS READING SLUMP!!!! My rating system: (I do use half stars.) 5 - I do not use the 5 star. Not because a book might not be worthy, but because a book is never perfect. 4 - I loved it! There weren't too many flaws, and I had no trouble getting through it. (A 4 star rating is the highest rat Buy this book HERE on Amazon or buy this book HERE on BookDepository with FREE WORLDWIDE SHIIPPING I am currently reading this title. Full review to come. ONE BOOK DOWN. A FEW MORE TO GO UNTIL I'M OUT OF THIS READING SLUMP!!!! My rating system: (I do use half stars.) 5 - I do not use the 5 star. Not because a book might not be worthy, but because a book is never perfect. 4 - I loved it! There weren't too many flaws, and I had no trouble getting through it. (A 4 star rating is the highest rating I've ever given a book.) 3 - I enjoyed the book, but there we're flaws that made me enjoy it less. 2 - I finished the book, but there were too many flaws for me to enjoy it. 1 - I could not finish the book, and I probably did not finish it....

  3. 5 out of 5

    Obsidian

    Due to me only really loving half of this book (the book that shows the POV of Lily Spencer) and feeling all kinds of irritated with the other POV in this story (Marijke Monti) I ended up just giving this book 3 stars. The book ending also was pretty rushed and I had a hard time with the final resolution with both of the girls in this book. I also thought the author waited a bit too long to have their individual stories sync up and I had a hard time with their not-so-meet cute. I liked the premis Due to me only really loving half of this book (the book that shows the POV of Lily Spencer) and feeling all kinds of irritated with the other POV in this story (Marijke Monti) I ended up just giving this book 3 stars. The book ending also was pretty rushed and I had a hard time with the final resolution with both of the girls in this book. I also thought the author waited a bit too long to have their individual stories sync up and I had a hard time with their not-so-meet cute. I liked the premise of the book enough. Two girls who want their lives to be more like movies (or more realistically like romance and romantic comedies) and for them to get their guys. The premise doesn't really work for Marijke because she's dating the guy she wants to get through almost the whole book (yeah that part was confusing). Marijke is a track star at her school and even though she's doing great in track and school, she still stresses that her boyfriend Tommy doesn't love her like she loves him. This is because he has never said he loves her. I would also add that he doesn't seem to know her name since he calls her "baby" all the time. When Marijke loses it on Tommy after finding some texts in his phone from her ex, they have a ugly fight which leaves Marijke determined to make Tommy say he loves her because only then will that prove that he cares about her. No it doesn't make much sense to me either. Lilly Spencer is the queen or organization at her school. However, not too many people know her. And the guy she crushes on Joe, definitely does not know that she exists. When she runs into Marijke at a movie theater showing "Titanic" for one day only, Lily feels sorry since it seems that Marijke is in the midst of a meltdown. The two girls go off and after speaking to each other for like 10 minutes have unloaded their life stories and decided to use movies to get their men. I maybe groaned a bit, but did feel sympathetic because this is nonsense that 17 year old me would have totally done and had no sense of shame of trying to do. I did hard cringe a bit in some of the scenes because Marijke and Lily do put themselves out there to their oblivious boyfriend/crush. That said, other characters in this book are very underdeveloped. I think that happened because Stultz is trying to tell two stories simultaneously. The character of Tommy makes less sense after Marijke reveals his wealthy family origins. And the way he talks like he is a character in a James Dean movie was annoying. I did side with him a lot during the book though because there is no excuse for Marijke to constantly be thinking that Tommy is cheating and going through his phone (STALKER ALERT) and instead of feeling badly about any of this she blames him since hey if he would just say I love you, everything would be okay. I do think that in the end the character of Marijke finally gets her head out of her butt when she realizes that she is the only one constantly giving up things to be in this relationship. Stultz throws in some stuff concerning Marijke's parents that felt off and I don't know if they were a cautionary tale to Marijke in giving up everything to be with her high school boyfriend or what. Lily Spencer's crush Joe also did not feel very developed at all. We know he likes motorcross. And I think his eyes were green. That's all I got. I didn't get any idea why Lily even liked the guy. And in the end I maybe rolled my eyes on how they got together. It was too neat and maybe I screamed out this would only have happened in the movies. Maybe. Lily's home life was far more interesting to me. Lily's mother is a cautionary tale in watching movies and wanting that to be your reality so much you ignore the terrible men you are dating. There is finally a conversation between Lily and her mother, but once again it felt too rushed. The writing felt off in so many places to me. I think it's because I know of no teenager that would call another one "scrumptious". Usually Marijke's dialogue read wrong to me. I did like it when the author focused on her love of track. Those are the parts that felt real to me. The flow was off in the beginning until the two girls finally meet up. Probably because I thought I was reading separate stories for a good bit until the story-lines merged. The ending was a bit of a letdown to me honestly. I really thought Lily's resolution was not realistic and rushed. I thought Marijke's was interesting, though I had to say that once again I thought that was not earned either.

  4. 4 out of 5

    The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)

    3.5 Stars Review to come!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laurence R.

    I'm really happy that I randomly bought this novel! It's such a cute one. I loved the friendship between the two main characters and I wish that it had been even more important in the novel. I'm really happy that I randomly bought this novel! It's such a cute one. I loved the friendship between the two main characters and I wish that it had been even more important in the novel.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jaime Arkin

    If you’re looking for a lighthearted summer beach read then look no further. Just Like The Movies totally filled that category for me, though when I read it I was not on a beach and it was not summer… but I wish both of those had been true. Marijke Monti has everything… she’s pretty, she’s popular, she’s got the perfect family and the boyfriend every girl wants. And that is where her confidence lacks. She constantly questions whether she cares more about Tommy Lawson than he does about her. Bet If you’re looking for a lighthearted summer beach read then look no further. Just Like The Movies totally filled that category for me, though when I read it I was not on a beach and it was not summer… but I wish both of those had been true. Marijke Monti has everything… she’s pretty, she’s popular, she’s got the perfect family and the boyfriend every girl wants. And that is where her confidence lacks. She constantly questions whether she cares more about Tommy Lawson than he does about her. Between the constant flirting with other girls and blowing her off to practice with his band, she worries she isn’t enough for him despite his constant reassurances. Lily Spencer has spent her high school years doing everything she can be involved, but for some reason no one seems to remember who she is. Add to her life a mom who is in love with falling in love and she certainly doesn’t have any interest in dating or falling for the boys at her school… except for Joe … but Joe doesn’t even remember her name, much less want to date her. A chance meeting at a movie theater has the two girls wondering why life can’t be just like the movies… Why can’t they set up these perfectly romantic situations to snag the guys they like just in time for prom? I’m pretty sure I liked almost everything about this story. The plot isn’t drama heavy which is definitely a plus. That’s not to say that there isn’t some here. I think that my biggest frustrations came from watching Marijke and Tommy try to navigate their relationship, and because we get the story from her point of view, I could definitely understand her frustration with him, and to be honest, I would have had enough way sooner than she did. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like Tommy, just that he was somewhat clueless and didn’t understand where she was coming from. I absolutely loved the way her story evolved and how she came to realize that building her life around this boy, while she may love him, isn’t what’s best for her. As for her parent’s story, I saw that coming from a mile away. But I have to say that Lily is my favorite. I bonded with her over her sarcasm and her outlook on romance and love. She’s a little cynical after seeing her mom’s heart get broken time and time again and who can blame her. Her mom’s latest boyfriend …. Contractor Jim… is certainly not someone she feels her mom should be involved with, and she’s spent so many years of her life being relegated to the sidelines to take care of herself and her younger brother while her mom goes out on dates and generally puts her love life before her kids. But she’s smart and she’s driven and when she and Marijke start working together on this “project” she’s going to put 100% in and she’s going to get Joe to notice her. The best part out of the entire story though is to see the friendship bloom between these two unlikely girls. Neither have any real girlfriends they can talk to or count on in their lives and watching them create that bond with each other was really wonderful. If you’re looking for something heavy and deep, this isn’t it… but that’s what’s perfect about it. If you’re a fan of chick flicks this will be right up your alley. It’s a quick read that has a bit of drama, some fun and swoon and you’ll absolutely find yourself cheering for these two girls to find what it is they need. Thank you to Bloomsbury for the advance copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Giselle

    Marijke is pretty, popular and a track star. Confident about everything in her life, she seems to be really insecure about her relationship with cutie Tommy. Lily is your over-achiever, straight A student who has her whole life ahead of her. She also has a crush on a boy who doesn't know she exists. Told in two point of views, two teenage girls have been duped by love and want to try to live their love life as a romantic movie. I loved this one. I thought it was a cute and fun read and was exactl Marijke is pretty, popular and a track star. Confident about everything in her life, she seems to be really insecure about her relationship with cutie Tommy. Lily is your over-achiever, straight A student who has her whole life ahead of her. She also has a crush on a boy who doesn't know she exists. Told in two point of views, two teenage girls have been duped by love and want to try to live their love life as a romantic movie. I loved this one. I thought it was a cute and fun read and was exactly what I needed. It has the notion of a being a romance, and it was, but it's also a book about friendship. About two girls who didn't realize they needed someone until they were gone. The two had different personalities and complimented one another. Marijke who is strong and confident about her own abilities, and Lily who pretty much analyzes everything that she does. Her brain always warring with her actions. The boys weren't the main focus of the story, and I was forever grateful for it. Just Like the Movies is like one of those chick flick movies you want to watch over again just because it was super cute and funny. This is in book form and I couldn't help but smile at the predictable but cheesy parts. Really enjoyed it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Fitzgerald

    Kept pushing myself to finish this one, but it just didn’t hold my interest enough. The over-the top Prom Proposals were the best thing about this book; very hilarious!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nikki S

    When I first heard about this book, I was super excited about it because I really liked the concept and I read Fiore's last book. Although it wasn't stellar to me, I still enjoyed it. The synopsis is what got me. Every girl has had that one wish where one day her love life is like what she sees in the movies. (Or maybe in our case, what we read about in books.) This is why Marijke and Lily become friends. They take on the task of making their non-stellar love lives into what they believed to b When I first heard about this book, I was super excited about it because I really liked the concept and I read Fiore's last book. Although it wasn't stellar to me, I still enjoyed it. The synopsis is what got me. Every girl has had that one wish where one day her love life is like what she sees in the movies. (Or maybe in our case, what we read about in books.) This is why Marijke and Lily become friends. They take on the task of making their non-stellar love lives into what they believed to be true love. I can honestly say I've never read a book with this kind of concept. But even still with all the creativeness this had, it still wasn't executed just right. I read the other book by Fiore, Taste Test and I thought it was just ok, but the concept in that one jumped out to me in that one too. And basically that's what happened with this one. It was just ok. I was expecting to enjoy this more because it was her sophomore novel, but it still wasn't all that great. I also didn't like the characters. Marijke was putting her entire life to the back burner because she was so caught up in her relationship. Since I was once a teen girl in high school, I completely understand how easy it is to get swept up in a high school boy's eyes, but this was a little over the top. I mean putting off her choosing a college because she didn't know what he was doing? Yeah, if that was my daughter we would've had some problems. Even in the end when he finally got it together I wasn't that much a of a fan of him. After seeing all that he did, that one gesture just wasn't enough for me. I felt like he was terrible to her, he deserved the hurt and the same thing he did to her. I was thinking of karma clearly. In short, this book was very much like tie first. A very cute concept, an ok execution of it, and a fluffy romance. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but I'm sure fiction lovers of all types can and will fall for this one.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    I know I have said this numerous times before but I really do love these type of reads, the sweet make you awww and steal your breath away, give you a tooth ache reads. I crave them, I adore them, and I just can't get enough of them. Marijke and Lily were lovable relatable characters that I couldn't help but like. Lily is sarcastic and so very smart but still struggling to be noticed by the boy that she has loved for two years while Marike is more outgoing and athletic and even though she has th I know I have said this numerous times before but I really do love these type of reads, the sweet make you awww and steal your breath away, give you a tooth ache reads. I crave them, I adore them, and I just can't get enough of them. Marijke and Lily were lovable relatable characters that I couldn't help but like. Lily is sarcastic and so very smart but still struggling to be noticed by the boy that she has loved for two years while Marike is more outgoing and athletic and even though she has the guy she loves, struggles with how to get him to love her as much as she loves him. I loved the dual point of views and of course all the movie references. I got a kick out of the girls schemes to win the boys over and how everything that could go wrong did. This was such a cute coming of age story and I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone that loves a cutesy, feel good read perfect for summer.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Unholy Unicorn

    John Tucker Must Die meets any other half baked high school flick. Marijke Monti Marijke's life is perfect. She is the daughter of a former quarterback/Prom King and head cheerleader/Prom Queen. She is popular, beautiful, and athletic. She has a firm grip on life, especially when it comes to the State Track Championship. The only thing that isn't perfect in her life right now is her relationship with her boyfriend, Tommy Lawson. Tommy has a guitar and a whole lot of complaining band. Guess we John Tucker Must Die meets any other half baked high school flick. Marijke Monti Marijke's life is perfect. She is the daughter of a former quarterback/Prom King and head cheerleader/Prom Queen. She is popular, beautiful, and athletic. She has a firm grip on life, especially when it comes to the State Track Championship. The only thing that isn't perfect in her life right now is her relationship with her boyfriend, Tommy Lawson. Tommy has a guitar and a whole lot of complaining band. Guess we all know who irks Marijke the most. Yup. Groupies. She trust him deeply, she truly does. It's the girls who lurk over him she doesn't trust. It doesn't hurt if Tommy shows a little effort to save their relationship though. Lily Spencer Lily is a very important person in their high school. She is the class secretary. She also juggles extracurricular activity and volunteer committee like a pro. Sadly, no one gives her enough credit. Yeah. They gotta know her name first for them to do that. Which they absolutely don't. She doesn't belong to the popular crowd, you see. She also has this huge crush on uber mega hot biker and totally out of her league, Joe Lombardi. Talk about Brittany Snow and everyone's favorite Lonely Boy, Penn Badgely in John Tucker Must Die! You know, except for the fact that Joe is popular. Her mom is sort of like Brittany's mom as well. Have you watched it? Well if not, here you go, her mom is a type of woman who is in love with the idea of being in love and chases after it. Sounds confusing? Well, I hope not. After an accidental meeting at the movie theater, they have decided to make their own happily ever after just in time for their senior prom. How? By copying techniques from their favorite movies of course! OVERALL I liked this book. The character development could have been better though. I think the time that Marijke and Lily spend with each other wasn't enough. I need more interactions. The two of them suddenly filling that best friend spot for each other seemed abrupt and forced. Tommy, I hate Tommy. Seriously! (view spoiler)[ At first I was all swoony but he's an asshole who took Marijke for granted. When Marijke dumped him, I cheered. I was hoping she and Lily would accompany each other to prom instead. Talk about girl power! They don't need a boy. They need a man, and since no one in this book is worthy, they should totally rock it out and be besties to prom. Hell, even Disney is doing it. Girl Power! But Joe redeemed himself a little and I was kinda okay with it. And Marijke, poor Marijke won't be caught dateless that is why it is clear that everyone should have a happily ever Prom Night, so Marijke and Tommy got back to each others arms and won prom King an Queen. Ugh. Talk about a disaster waiting to happen! I just hope against all hope that they won't turn out like her parents because yikes. Lily and Marijke, besties running the prom is also a happy ending you know, just sayin'. (hide spoiler)] Yeah. 3 stars because of the thing with Tommy and the spending time with each other more. This book is also missing the oomph actor. The magical feeling you feel after you watched a good rom-com where you would find yourself asking Why don't I have a relationship like that? or exactly like Why can’t life be like a movie? Also because it didn't even bust the big guns yet. The big romantic sappy yet fluffy films. I really appreciate the boombox and Pitch Perfect's power couple but if you're going to make references about a romantic movies, don't forget to include the to-go romantic films of all time. I'm guessing the author and I have different list.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    From my review at Bookshelf Fantasies: You know how some young adult novels really resonate with adult readers as well? This isn't one of them... at least, not for this adult reader. In Just Like the Movies, two girls bond over their love of rom-com movies and decide to use romantic movie strategies to win the boys of their dreams. For track star Marijke, that means going all Say Anything in her boyfriend's backyard, blasting Peter Gabriel from an IPod dock. (Unfortunately, he's not home at the ti From my review at Bookshelf Fantasies: You know how some young adult novels really resonate with adult readers as well? This isn't one of them... at least, not for this adult reader. In Just Like the Movies, two girls bond over their love of rom-com movies and decide to use romantic movie strategies to win the boys of their dreams. For track star Marijke, that means going all Say Anything in her boyfriend's backyard, blasting Peter Gabriel from an IPod dock. (Unfortunately, he's not home at the time, but his parents are.) For Lily, it means borrowing a page from Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed (kinda) and declaring her interest to the boy she likes. Meanwhile, we have these two girls, high school seniors, becoming insta-besties within the space of two weeks, learning to see past their differences, and transforming their lives. And yes, there's a makeover involved, and even some eyebrow tweezing. Plus, an awful lot of talk and fixation on prom proposals -- the more elaborate the better -- which I didn't even know was a thing, but apparently it is. At least in this book. And if it's a thing in real life, then may the gods have mercy on the teens of today. *shudder* Near the end, there are some minor moments of awakening, as the girls realize that they're strong and that maybe their lives shouldn't revolve around the boys they like -- at which point, they end up getting the boys anyway. I was tempted to describe this book as harmless fluff, but I actually can't. It's light and fluffy, all right, but I'm not sure that I'd call it harmless. What's the message here? We have two smart, high achieving girls with horrible esteem and trust issues. Marijke spends most of the book flying into jealous fits because her boyfriend isn't doing what she wants when she wants. Lily is like every movie shy girl or brainy girl, always working behind the scenes and super good at all her classes, but she's not one of the popular girls and never gets noticed. (A trip to Marijke's closet and make-up bag fix that, of course.) So on the one hand, the books seems to be saying that living one's life for a boyfriend is a mistake. But on the other hand, once the girls realize that, they still end up getting the perfect romance, complete with prom, that they've always wanted. So, you don't need a boy to be happy... but wait, you kind of do? Meanwhile, the timeline is bizarrely compacted, with all this drama happening over the space of a few short weeks. It's just not believable, and not in a charming, rom-com sort of fairy tale way. The movie theme is inconsistent, the messages are muddled, and the girl power just fizzles. Maybe teen girls will like Just Like the Movies and will swoon over the prom proposals and hunky guys. But I'm guessing not. Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I love when a YA contemporary book incorporates some overall theme into the entire story. For this one, it happened to be romantic comedies. And let's be honest - most of us contemporary romance lovers also enjoy the rom-coms. This was a perfect blend of the movie world and the contemporary YA world, but this book was so much more than just a movie inspired romance. Lily and Marijke are from two different worlds in high school, but both of them felt relatable. Lily is the girl that no one seems t I love when a YA contemporary book incorporates some overall theme into the entire story. For this one, it happened to be romantic comedies. And let's be honest - most of us contemporary romance lovers also enjoy the rom-coms. This was a perfect blend of the movie world and the contemporary YA world, but this book was so much more than just a movie inspired romance. Lily and Marijke are from two different worlds in high school, but both of them felt relatable. Lily is the girl that no one seems to notice and it's not because she doesn't try or is too shy - she is involved in clubs and gets good grades. She is a bit of a workaholic already. I could relate to her so much. She reminded me of me in high school. Marijke is a track and field runner, she has a popular boyfriend, and plenty of friends especially because of her track successes. However, she still feels like there is something missing. This was also relatable as well. I felt for both of the girls in their struggles. All of their reactions to these events, even their friend relationship forming, were so realistic. It might seem annoying, but I loved it. I could see these girls walking the high school halls with me and nothing felt forced for drama. The romances are also really cute. Lily is trying to get the attention of Joe, a motocross rider who doesn't really know that she even exists. They pull a 'Footloose'-like act in order to have them meet and then work together on a charity project. Marijke is trying to get her boyfriend to see only her, instead of the constant flirting. Her story doesn't come together exactly like the movies and multiple of their attempts are pulled straight from the great rom-coms. I liked how both of their relationships don't fall together perfectly, like it would in a rom-com. Instead, they have real ups and downs that lead them to question their friendship and why they even bonded over these movies in the first place. The main part of this book I loved was the female friendships. This isn't very popular in YA for some reason, yet it is very strong and present here. Marijke and Lily have some problems in their relationship and get in a few fights. It is just the beginning of their friendship, but you can tell that they will be friends for a while. They both grow through their common interest and it ends up being much more than just getting the guy. Overall, I loved this book. It is one of my new favorite contemporary romances, especially because it also contains elements of a female friendship, adorable romantic comedy movies, and realistic reactions to at-home problems. Both girls grow so much in this book and it was so fun to follow along for the ride with them.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nemo

    For a full review go to: Blame it on the Book “I swear that I will uphold my agreement to make our lives just like the movies. I promise to do whatever it takes, even if it’s totally embarrassing.” Summer reads are hard to find. You want it to both be cute but still have a sense of depth to it. Just like the movies fit that perfectly. Not only was it the most adorable read but it made laugh and want to watch romantic comedies. Marijke has everything, She’s popular, beautiful, track-star, and she For a full review go to: Blame it on the Book “I swear that I will uphold my agreement to make our lives just like the movies. I promise to do whatever it takes, even if it’s totally embarrassing.” Summer reads are hard to find. You want it to both be cute but still have a sense of depth to it. Just like the movies fit that perfectly. Not only was it the most adorable read but it made laugh and want to watch romantic comedies. Marijke has everything, She’s popular, beautiful, track-star, and she has a gorgeous boyfriend. Which is why I think I had such a huge problem with her. It was hard to be sympathetic with someone who is so co-dependent on her boyfriend. I was constantly rolling my eyes until I realized that it was intentional. The author wanted us to notice how co-dependent Marijke was and realize how she grew until she realized that she could live her life and still leave room for Tommy. Especially since Tommy made it hard for her, he put everything and everyone else in front of her. “This is what I get for dating one of the hottest guy sin school. The competition is fierce- and its wearing spandex and eyeliner.” Lily was a breath of fresh air after listening to Marijke’s point of view. Lily is down to earth, but she’s a little to close. She had problems with men because of the way they treated her mother, for that reason she was shy and tentative when it came to guys. Not only that, she did a lot of after school activities but she wasn't popular because she did all the background jobs. Basically Lily had the short stick in life. Until the day she decides to watch Titanic and talk to girl who was bawling before the movie started. “Even fairy tales have their ups and downs. Happily ever after just gets sidetracked sometimes.” From there they devised their plans to get the guys. I loved the fact that it was the girl making the move and not the guy. Even If they were pretty extravagant and slightly embarrassing it was still a lot of fun to read. Both of the main guys, Tommy and Joe did not have a lot of depth. They mostly had beautiful smiles and perfect eyes but that’s about it. Since this was just a cute read that’s all we needed. The more we got to know about Marijke and Lily the more I liked them, they were both so sweet and funny. If there was a second book about them trying to have their movie experience in college, I would eat it up.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lecx

    There aren't many books that I am able to finish within a day, but this one...this one was definitely one of them. Just Like The Movies is very lighthearted and sweet. The friendship created between Marijke and Lily was honest and charming. It was probably my favorite part of the entire book. It absolutely crushed me when their friendship hit a bump in the road because of all the things around them started traveling down hill. But like true friends, they rekindled and things ended up like a happ There aren't many books that I am able to finish within a day, but this one...this one was definitely one of them. Just Like The Movies is very lighthearted and sweet. The friendship created between Marijke and Lily was honest and charming. It was probably my favorite part of the entire book. It absolutely crushed me when their friendship hit a bump in the road because of all the things around them started traveling down hill. But like true friends, they rekindled and things ended up like a happily ever after for them. Of course, the romance was a highlight also. Each girl showcased each side of a relationship. One where you have doubts, yet you're still in love. The other where you are in love, but can't find the courage to speak up to fight for it. Overall, I could not put the book down. From the moment I bought it, to taking it with me in the car, to finishing the last word, I've enjoyed the production as I played a little scene of each chapter in my head. Like a little movie.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    This is a story that'll make you smile. If you want a quick and easy read guaranteed to be full of cute romance and fun friendships, I think you'll enjoy it. Just like any teen movie these days, from the meet cute to the dramatics of teenagers, overall it's a sweet story. Turn off your brain and have fun! This is a story that'll make you smile. If you want a quick and easy read guaranteed to be full of cute romance and fun friendships, I think you'll enjoy it. Just like any teen movie these days, from the meet cute to the dramatics of teenagers, overall it's a sweet story. Turn off your brain and have fun!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eeva

    It's nor a particulary good book tbh. I liked the premise and I hoped for something at least vaguely similar to Holly Bourne's "it only happens in the movies". It wasn't. It was boring and it made me eye roll more than I care to admit since I did finish it after all. This book fails Bechdel Test miserably and the older I get the more annoyed I get when I see it. The characters are not developed enogh for the readers to care about them - all we know about Joe it that he likes morocross and has green It's nor a particulary good book tbh. I liked the premise and I hoped for something at least vaguely similar to Holly Bourne's "it only happens in the movies". It wasn't. It was boring and it made me eye roll more than I care to admit since I did finish it after all. This book fails Bechdel Test miserably and the older I get the more annoyed I get when I see it. The characters are not developed enogh for the readers to care about them - all we know about Joe it that he likes morocross and has green eyes.

  18. 4 out of 5

    A. Meyer

    I recommend this book to anyone who likes Romance. It is a good quality book, not too long not to0 short. It was the type of book that encourages you to keep reading. I gave this book an A+ grade.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    I LOVE THAT THIS ONE WAS ABOUT THE FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN THE GIRLS BEYOND THE ROMANCE

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michael Kott

    I really liked the chemistry between the two girls and how they started out, one popular, the other not so much. And they came together nicely and believably. The POV switch from chapter to chapter, Marijke (Ma-ray-kuh) to Lily, was nicely done and it turned out to be a very readable novel and great story. Too bad it rarely happens in real life.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn Stickley

    Just Like the Movies was a cutesey, feel-good summer read that I devoured in a day. With humorous moments and likeable characters, it's easy to enjoy this book. However, I do have to say that there's no real substance to it and it honestly doesn't stick out in my mind as a particularly memorable contemporary book. I liked the two main characters. Lily and Marijke, although they both have very different personalities, somehow manage to come together when they share the same goal: make their life j Just Like the Movies was a cutesey, feel-good summer read that I devoured in a day. With humorous moments and likeable characters, it's easy to enjoy this book. However, I do have to say that there's no real substance to it and it honestly doesn't stick out in my mind as a particularly memorable contemporary book. I liked the two main characters. Lily and Marijke, although they both have very different personalities, somehow manage to come together when they share the same goal: make their life just like the movies. This was a fun idea that's perfectly fitting for a contemporary story. It's unique, results in some rather hilarious situations, plus all the movie references made me smile. (Also: Pitch Perfect shout-out for the win! Although I wish one of the scenes from that movie could've actually been used in the storyline.) The romance was okay-ish. Honestly, I didn't find either of the boys that Lily and Marijke are interested in particularly appealing - especially Marijke's! The boys' characters were a little bland and cookie-cutter for me. I had my fingers crossed that their love stories wouldn't turn out to be so predictable, but it turned out the same way it would in your typical romantic comedy. A little disappointing for me, but I suppose if you love happily-ever-after endings you'll like it. I also found the ending to be a little rushed. Everything worked out just perfectly just in time. But that and the slightly boring romance are my only complaints. Otherwise, I found this story to be utterly charming. I laughed at the characters' crazy schemes and found them to be very quirky and relatable, and I was pleased at the great development of minor characters like Lily and Marijke's families. Definitely check out this book if you feel like being entertained with a fun, fast read. I certainly enjoyed it, and this is the kind of author whose books I'll reach for when it's summer and I want a good beach read. It's not a favorite contemporary of mine, but it's still oh-so-fun and worth reading. *I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks! Check out this review and more on my blog, The Bookworm: http://dragongirl28.blogspot.com/2014...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jen Ryland

    Overall, I enjoyed Just Like the Movies, a book that gently pokes fun at the way girls and women have unrealistic romantic expectations from watching rom coms (and reading romantic books?) The story is told from two POV's. Marijke Morris is a track star with an adorable musician boyfriend. But she's not happy -- she's insecure in her relationship and, as a result, hasn't made some important life decisions, like where she's going to college. Lily doesn't want to be anything like her mom, a single Overall, I enjoyed Just Like the Movies, a book that gently pokes fun at the way girls and women have unrealistic romantic expectations from watching rom coms (and reading romantic books?) The story is told from two POV's. Marijke Morris is a track star with an adorable musician boyfriend. But she's not happy -- she's insecure in her relationship and, as a result, hasn't made some important life decisions, like where she's going to college. Lily doesn't want to be anything like her mom, a single mother who's still looking for Mr. Right, and bringing home a lot of Mr. Wrongs in the process. Lily worships a guy at school from afar, but isn't able to muster up the courage to talk to him. When the two girls -- who move in different social circles -- meet at a movie theater, they decide to join forces and use rom com techniques to fix their love lives. This scheme isn't a huge part of the book, but I did think that the story did a good job of examining something that's a rom com staple: the Big Romantic Gesture. The BRG, exemplified by things like Lloyd Dobler and his boom box, is something that's dreamed about by girls and disparaged by guys. The book cleverly weaves the BRG into the story by way of a sub-category of BRGs, the OTTPI (Over the Top Prom Invitation.) At my high school, way back in time, the OTTPI was a Thing and I guess they are still a Thing at some high schools - who knew? But in any case, I thought the book did a great job of looking at the way that women and men often expect different types of romantic gestures in a relationship, and the conflict that can ensue. As for Marijke and Tommy's relationship, I had serious doubts about it and kept flip-flopping back and forth about whether I thought he should ditch her or vice versa. I think it was a realistic relationship, but one that got on my nerves at times. I loved Lily's character the most, but also had a few doubts about her studious girl/hot guy relationship. I mean, do those ever really exist in real life? But in the end, I enjoyed the dual POV, enjoyed the friendship they developed, and found Just Like the Movies to be an entertaining summer read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashley (Loves Books)

    ***a version of this review will post to Ashley Loves Books at a later date.*** I’m not going to tell you this is a deep book, one that makes you think and ponder—but you shouldn’t really pick up a book about emulating and recreating romantic movie scenes if you’re really looking for that. It’s a bit fluffy, a lot romantic and fun with just the right amount of surprise and tenderness to really make it a solid contemporary. Marijke’s boyfriend was probably one of my favourite characters. I was not ***a version of this review will post to Ashley Loves Books at a later date.*** I’m not going to tell you this is a deep book, one that makes you think and ponder—but you shouldn’t really pick up a book about emulating and recreating romantic movie scenes if you’re really looking for that. It’s a bit fluffy, a lot romantic and fun with just the right amount of surprise and tenderness to really make it a solid contemporary. Marijke’s boyfriend was probably one of my favourite characters. I was not really a fan of him as a person (if he were real. You know what I mean), but his role in the book, his own character development and how honest and true he was…that was one of the better parts. Somenoe like him is definitely stereotyped in contemporary YA, and he was a nice surprise. Is it just predictable if I compare this to a chick flick? Too obvious of a comparison? I don’t even care, I just did it! This is really the perfect chick flick of a book; two girls who have nothing in common find common ground with an outlandish (but actually doable) solution, and make it happen. And what results is funny, a little scary, something to make your heart beat and skip and generally get twisted and tossed around. Some of it is predictable, I’m happy to report that some of it is not—but it’s also endearing and heartwarming and you just root for both Lily and Marijke to find what they’re looking for. Just like the Movies may not be the hard-hitting, life-altering novel of the lifetime, but it’s a really fun tale with some surprising insights and a great story of surprise friendship and true love. And sometimes, that’s just what we’re looking for.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Raymond

    I came away from this book somewhat frustrated. In a lot of ways, it's a really solid YA teen romance read, and the concept behind it is solid. It reminded me quite a bit of a few of the recent reads in this genre that I've read, which was great. My complaint is more about how it never really reaches the concept that it presents in a way I'd expect. The short answer on this is that the book is about a couple girls who aren't so lucky in the love department and end up trying to woo their crushes u I came away from this book somewhat frustrated. In a lot of ways, it's a really solid YA teen romance read, and the concept behind it is solid. It reminded me quite a bit of a few of the recent reads in this genre that I've read, which was great. My complaint is more about how it never really reaches the concept that it presents in a way I'd expect. The short answer on this is that the book is about a couple girls who aren't so lucky in the love department and end up trying to woo their crushes using romantic movie tropes. They start a small business, they try it on their own, and it is very much a comedy of errors in some senses. The story is pretty straightforward on a whole, but the somewhat stuttered efforts to get the hook of the book involved really took away from the rest of the story for me. It had moments that felt like a bad comedy that were offset by other pretty fun scenes. That inconsistency was ultimately what kept me from enjoying this more on a whole. Closer to a 3.5, and good for a lighter read, but that's about it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Hager

    You know how after you watch a really good romantic comedy, you just kind of smile and sigh? That was my exact reaction after I finished this. I really liked Kelly Fiore's debut novel, Taste Test, and the second I heard about this one, I knew it was likely to become a favorite of mine. I love movies and am a huge fan of romantic comedies and things that are based around them (like this book and also The Mindy Project). The best part of this is the developing friendship between Lily and Marijke. The You know how after you watch a really good romantic comedy, you just kind of smile and sigh? That was my exact reaction after I finished this. I really liked Kelly Fiore's debut novel, Taste Test, and the second I heard about this one, I knew it was likely to become a favorite of mine. I love movies and am a huge fan of romantic comedies and things that are based around them (like this book and also The Mindy Project). The best part of this is the developing friendship between Lily and Marijke. They weren't even acquaintances before, but by the end of the book they're actual best friends. I love stories about friendship and while the focus of this is ostensibly on romantic relationships, the real prize is the friendship there. Another fun aspect is all the references to really famous romantic comedies! They have the classics from my childhood (Sixteen Candles, Say Anything) and some newer ones (Easy A) and a lot more that I'm leaving as surprises for you. (Sadly, there is not a Teen Witch reference, which made me sad.) Even so, highly recommended.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brandy Painter

    I enjoyed the concept of this book and how the ideas the girls had to make their lives more like the movies played out. It was very genuine and I appreciated how their developing friendship and different personalities were shown. The book is in first person and switches between their points of view. I liked both main characters for different reasons and appreciated how their stories turned out. I did feel like Lily's ending was rushed and didn't make quite as much sense. We just didn't get enoug I enjoyed the concept of this book and how the ideas the girls had to make their lives more like the movies played out. It was very genuine and I appreciated how their developing friendship and different personalities were shown. The book is in first person and switches between their points of view. I liked both main characters for different reasons and appreciated how their stories turned out. I did feel like Lily's ending was rushed and didn't make quite as much sense. We just didn't get enough time getting to know Joe and what he might be thinking to completely understand why that turned out as it did. It's certainly fun light read and one I highly recommend to anyone looking for a romantic read for summer. It would be fun to to go through the book and have a marathon of all the movies mentioned. They are all good ones. Review of ARC I received at ALA Midwinter.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Summer

    The story follows two girls, Marijke and Lily, as they struggle to find a balance between the love lives and everyday life. They concoct a plan to live their lives like a movie, with bold and spontaneous moves. The question is, how far are they willing to go to get what they want? This book tells the story of two girls from different worlds who meet under unusual circumstances. Sound familiar? Right, so many YA books contain a similar plot. This one, however, does not follow your typical script. The story follows two girls, Marijke and Lily, as they struggle to find a balance between the love lives and everyday life. They concoct a plan to live their lives like a movie, with bold and spontaneous moves. The question is, how far are they willing to go to get what they want? This book tells the story of two girls from different worlds who meet under unusual circumstances. Sound familiar? Right, so many YA books contain a similar plot. This one, however, does not follow your typical script. In fact, it had me guessing up until the very end how things were going to turn out. Both of the main characters were extremely likable, although their male counterparts left much to be desired. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light, fun novel that shows just how important friendship can be.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This is a super cute funny read about two girls, Marijke and Lily who both go to the same school, but aren't friends. That is until both of them happen to be at a showing of the Titanic movie at their local theater. Marijke has had a boyfriend, Tommy for nearly one year. Marijke is happy with this relationship, the only problem is that Tommy hasn't said those three words that every wants to hear "I love you." In comparison Lily has never had a boyfriend because she has been too busy volunteeri This is a super cute funny read about two girls, Marijke and Lily who both go to the same school, but aren't friends. That is until both of them happen to be at a showing of the Titanic movie at their local theater. Marijke has had a boyfriend, Tommy for nearly one year. Marijke is happy with this relationship, the only problem is that Tommy hasn't said those three words that every wants to hear "I love you." In comparison Lily has never had a boyfriend because she has been too busy volunteering her time to improving the school. She does have a crush on Joe, but she is too shy to act on it. The girls come up with an idea to incorporate their favorite romantic scenes from different movies and to try them out on the guys in their own lives. You will have to read it to find out if Marijke and Lily are successful with their plan.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Caryn Caldwell

    When popular Marijke and under-the-radar Lily have a chance meeting outside of school, they discover that they have two things in common: they're both pining for guys who don't seem to reciprocate their feelings, and they both love the idea of happily-ever-afters. They vow to help each other achieve movie-like love, but it turns out that life is a lot less predicable than their favorite films. This was a fun, fast-paced romantic comedy with interesting, life-like characters and a wonderful depth. When popular Marijke and under-the-radar Lily have a chance meeting outside of school, they discover that they have two things in common: they're both pining for guys who don't seem to reciprocate their feelings, and they both love the idea of happily-ever-afters. They vow to help each other achieve movie-like love, but it turns out that life is a lot less predicable than their favorite films. This was a fun, fast-paced romantic comedy with interesting, life-like characters and a wonderful depth. I loved watching Marijke and Lily's friendship develop, and the twists and turns made the ending unpredictable and suspenseful.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kobi

    This was a super cute and quick read! Marijke, a runner who makes it to states, and Tommy, her gorgeous and coveted guitar playing boyfriend have been dating forever. Marijke is jealous of all the attention that Tommy get and while she trusts him, she doesn't trust him. Lily has always been more mature than most of her peers because she has had to raise her brother, due to her mom always being on the lookout for love. From the first time she saw him she's been in love with Joe Lombardi. When Mar This was a super cute and quick read! Marijke, a runner who makes it to states, and Tommy, her gorgeous and coveted guitar playing boyfriend have been dating forever. Marijke is jealous of all the attention that Tommy get and while she trusts him, she doesn't trust him. Lily has always been more mature than most of her peers because she has had to raise her brother, due to her mom always being on the lookout for love. From the first time she saw him she's been in love with Joe Lombardi. When Marijke and Lily devise a plan based on old rom coms, they plan to get themselves prom dates. As twists and turns hurt, sometimes too much planning can hurt the outcome.

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