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Better Than the Movies

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Liz Buxbaum has always known that Wes Bennett was not boyfriend material. You would think that her next-door neighbor would be a prince 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 Liz Buxbaum has always known that Wes Bennett was not boyfriend material. You would think that her next-door neighbor would be a prince 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 town, and—horribly, annoyingly—he's hitting it off with Wes. Meaning that 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.


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Liz Buxbaum has always known that Wes Bennett was not boyfriend material. You would think that her next-door neighbor would be a prince 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 Liz Buxbaum has always known that Wes Bennett was not boyfriend material. You would think that her next-door neighbor would be a prince 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 town, and—horribly, annoyingly—he's hitting it off with Wes. Meaning that 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.

30 review for Better Than the Movies

  1. 5 out of 5

    l a u r a

    “Enemies-to-lovers—it’s our trope, Buxbaum." 4.9/5 :) ~the actual soundtrack of Wessy and Libby~ A rom-com with rom-com references, fake dating and enemies to lovers, all while the MCs are neighbors and childhood friends frienamies??! This was like a dream come true. A certain someone didn’t realize why he was calling her Buxbaum until like halfway through the book… and then they realized that’s her last name… totally not me ~cons that I remember~ Unfortunately I think this book just spoiled the “Enemies-to-lovers—it’s our trope, Buxbaum." 4.9/5 :) ~the actual soundtrack of Wessy and Libby~ A rom-com with rom-com references, fake dating and enemies to lovers, all while the MCs are neighbors and childhood friends frienamies??! This was like a dream come true. A certain someone didn’t realize why he was calling her Buxbaum until like halfway through the book… and then they realized that’s her last name… totally not me ~cons that I remember~ Unfortunately I think this book just spoiled the entire plot of The Great Gatsby… Also, I wish the characters could stop thinking "what the hell", please. That phrase can get annoying after a while. Maybe change it up each time or just say something like "why not". Sometimes I don't understand how Liz thinks because I can't connect with her. But I guess when the supposed 'love of your life' is standing in front of you, it's hard to always act rationally. She might seem a bit 'not like the other girls', but that's part of who she is and I like her for it. She could be a little slow and oblivious sometimes (especially when it comes to her love life…) ~pros that I can think of right now~ I know it'll never happen to me, but the story actually sounds realistic. Some girl who's been unlucky all her life turns out to be not so unlucky after all… *continues to daydream* When they were stargazing and eating s’mores in his backyard, OMG IT WAS SO CUTE! I love the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. The rom-com references also fit in very nicely, although i never seen/read any of them. Helena is my favorite character in here. She's such a cool and chill person, yet she was treated so unfairly for something she can't even change. She seems more like a good friend than a mom. I wish I have a friend like her… I was really shipping Wessy and Libby so the minor flaws doesn't really affect me. It shows how much I liked this story :) Recommend to everyone!! Especially fans of Tweet Cute! (not to be that person, but this reminded me of it) Overall, an amazing rom-com that made me cry and laugh and smile. A cute book with a cute cover. This book is now my favorite rom-com ever. :) 03/12/21 are rom-coms supposed to make you cry? or am i just too emotional while reading…? i’m genuinely curious 👀 ━━━━━━━━━━━༻༻❁༺༺━━━━━━━━━━━ if only my life were better than the movies...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Corina

    BETTER THAN THE MOVIES was a rom-com about rom-coms and it was really well done. It’s about a girl, needing the help from her bad boy neighbour to get noticed by a childhood crush. Of course this plot is nothing new and has been done before. But I couldn’t have cared less about that, because it was such an adorable and fun YA rom-com. Light hearted, entertaining, and sure a bit predictable too. But that didn’t take away from the overall enjoyment. I LOVED the couple. Really loved them. I loved th BETTER THAN THE MOVIES was a rom-com about rom-coms and it was really well done. It’s about a girl, needing the help from her bad boy neighbour to get noticed by a childhood crush. Of course this plot is nothing new and has been done before. But I couldn’t have cared less about that, because it was such an adorable and fun YA rom-com. Light hearted, entertaining, and sure a bit predictable too. But that didn’t take away from the overall enjoyment. I LOVED the couple. Really loved them. I loved their enemies to lovers neighbour vibe. And I loved their banter, especially their banter. They had such a great connection. Both just knew how to push the other’s buttons. And Wes was one of the swooniest YA heroes I had the luck to come across. The entire novel was delightful. From the rom-com quotes at the beginning of each chapter, to the many rom-com references. This is such a great book for any rom-com fan. Also the writing was just so on point. It was fun, flirty, and smart. The novel was an easy read, that was enjoyable from beginning to end. I had fun with it. And from the cast to the plot it’s been one great read. It’s a book I can only recommend, especially if YA contemporary is your kind of jam. ___________________________________ I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. You can find me on my blog and on Bookstagram

  3. 5 out of 5

    Claude's Bookzone

    Well it appears my knowledge of romcom movies is pretty amazing. I honestly think there was only one movie line I didn't recognise straight away. I feel oddly proud. Yay for my university and early work life days avoiding essays and job stuff by watching these modern day classics. I really did enjoy this light-hearted and funny romance. I thought the characters were endearing and the dynamics hugely entertaining. I've ordered 2 copies for the school library! Well it appears my knowledge of romcom movies is pretty amazing. I honestly think there was only one movie line I didn't recognise straight away. I feel oddly proud. Yay for my university and early work life days avoiding essays and job stuff by watching these modern day classics. I really did enjoy this light-hearted and funny romance. I thought the characters were endearing and the dynamics hugely entertaining. I've ordered 2 copies for the school library!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Charmel

    First of all, i need a wes bennet in my life. he's a gentleman, he's caring, he's funny, and he knows his girl. Second of all, the soundtrack of wes and liz is amaaziing! Third of all, i didn't expect to be so lovey-dovey about this but now im swoooning. yes, it's unoriginal and there are a lot of books like this, but who cares? Fourth of all, i cannot believe i finished this in a night. i've been in a slump for months and yaayy i think im finally and officially getting out! Lastly, i felt a weee First of all, i need a wes bennet in my life. he's a gentleman, he's caring, he's funny, and he knows his girl. Second of all, the soundtrack of wes and liz is amaaziing! Third of all, i didn't expect to be so lovey-dovey about this but now im swoooning. yes, it's unoriginal and there are a lot of books like this, but who cares? Fourth of all, i cannot believe i finished this in a night. i've been in a slump for months and yaayy i think im finally and officially getting out! Lastly, i felt a weee frustrated at the ending, like there was a missing piece to it. but no worries, im still melting from this kanxksksjjs <333 “Sometimes we get so tied up in our idea of what we think we want that we miss out on the amazingness of what we could actually have.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Janssen

    Freaking loved this. I don't think I've loved a YA romance like this since To All the Boys Freaking loved this. I don't think I've loved a YA romance like this since To All the Boys

  6. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    A young woman obsessed with rom-coms hopes for a love story of her own in Lynn Painter's new book, Better Than the Movies . “When she died, my mother bequeathed to me her unwavering belief in happily ever after. My inheritance was the knowledge that love is always in the air, always a possibility, and always worth it. Mr. Right—the nice-guy, dependable version—could be waiting around the very next corner. Which was why I was always at the ready. It was only a matter of time before it finally h A young woman obsessed with rom-coms hopes for a love story of her own in Lynn Painter's new book, Better Than the Movies . “When she died, my mother bequeathed to me her unwavering belief in happily ever after. My inheritance was the knowledge that love is always in the air, always a possibility, and always worth it. Mr. Right—the nice-guy, dependable version—could be waiting around the very next corner. Which was why I was always at the ready. It was only a matter of time before it finally happened for me.“ Liz is dreaming of her happy ending even though she’s only a senior in high school. Her romantic relationships to this point haven’t been too promising, but when her childhood neighbor and former crush/obsession, Michael, returns to school (more handsome than ever and with a southern drawl), she knows Michael is Mr. Right. It seems, however, Michael still sees Liz as the wacky little girl next door. So Liz enlists the help of her next-door neighbor and general annoyance, Wes, to make her seem more attractive and interesting in Michael’s eyes. Wes is all too happy to give Liz some (scarily accurate) styling advice and talks her up to Michael. But of course, she and Wes start spending so much time together that everyone thinks they're dating. Liz knows Michael is the guy she wants. But why is it that the more time she spends with Wes the more she can’t stop thinking about him? Wes is the bad boy—and all of the rom-coms she watches tell her it never works with the bad boy. Could real life be different? I thought Better Than the Movies was a cute book, and since I’m such a fan of rom-com books and movies, I really enjoyed this. In addition to the romance aspect, the book did a great job exploring grief and how hard it can be to move on. Can you predict what will happen in the book? Sure. But this was a sweet, fun, poignant ride that warmed my sappy heart. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    One of the best Young Adult books I have read since forever! The set up of this book is awesome as we find Liz “Libby” Bauxum, a senior in high school who works part time in a bookstore, still reeling from the death of her mom when she was ten. Prom is on the horizon and her childhood crush since kindergarten, Michael Young moves back to town, and all she can think about is going to prom with him. Next door neighbor Wes whom she has had a lifelong feud with is friends with Michael, and Wes might One of the best Young Adult books I have read since forever! The set up of this book is awesome as we find Liz “Libby” Bauxum, a senior in high school who works part time in a bookstore, still reeling from the death of her mom when she was ten. Prom is on the horizon and her childhood crush since kindergarten, Michael Young moves back to town, and all she can think about is going to prom with him. Next door neighbor Wes whom she has had a lifelong feud with is friends with Michael, and Wes might just be the guy to help her get a date with Michael. I enjoyed all the laugh out loud moments, and the disastrous situations Liz finds herself in as she desperately tries to fit in and be the girl she thinks she should be for Michael. This book was an ode to all the amazing music in the background of our lives, and all the romcom movies we have enjoyed watching growing up. This book is about how we dream of our lives based on movies and somehow lose track of what we have right in front of us. From an enemies to love trope to fake dating, this book had it all. Painter writes a nostalgic filled love story that reads just like the movies but really so much better! I cannot recommend this book enough to romcom fans, YA and coming-of-age readers, and anyone that needs a heartwarming story that will remind you of the bitterness and sweetness of first loves, unforgettable lifelong friendships and love of families.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sofie |

    Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for providing me an eARC for review! ______ "Come on, Liz - at least be honest with yourself. You dress like her, you watch all the shows she watched, and you do everything in your power to behave as if she's writing the screenplay of your life and you're her character." Better Than the Movies is a cute-as-a-button YA novel that follows Liz as she tries to win the heart of her childhood crush ~who just moved back to town~ with the help of her ch Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for providing me an eARC for review! ______ "Come on, Liz - at least be honest with yourself. You dress like her, you watch all the shows she watched, and you do everything in your power to behave as if she's writing the screenplay of your life and you're her character." Better Than the Movies is a cute-as-a-button YA novel that follows Liz as she tries to win the heart of her childhood crush ~who just moved back to town~ with the help of her childhood enemy, Wes. This book is cute, y'all. It gave my the butterflies. It made me tear up. It made me nostalgic for a time in my life that I didn't even really enjoy when living through it, and yet, it made me hopeful that I could have had a cute rom-com like high school experience in another life. That said, if I'm being honest, Better Than the Movies felt like a book I've read before. It follows the same plot and clichés as many YA novels that came before it. Was it still an enjoyable read? Yes. But it didn't add anything new or unexpected to the genre. The strongest part of the story for me was Liz's (view spoiler)[ grief, her aversion to becoming too close with her awesome step-mother, Helena, and her hesitancy to enjoy her senior year without her mom. Those all felt like very real internal conflicts, and the decisions Liz made based on them were all the more emotional for it. I was glad to see her grow in that way throughout the story. (hide spoiler)] Otherwise, I really have to remember what it was like to be a teenager, because Liz's character could be... very frustrating. Look, I understand teen books need conflict too. I get it. Was I woefully uncommunicative and prone to petty misunderstandings and fights when I was that age? I mean, probably. And yet I still felt iffy about some of the books main conflicts and character choices. The miscommunications felt weak and her lying seemed to be added just for the sake of some c-plot conflict with her best friend. And Wes. Of course, as to be expected, he's as charming, witty, and secretly-pining as YA love interests come, though I'm not sure how much I enjoyed the subtle "oh-he's-teasing-you-cause-he-likes-you" narrative we got from their childhood together (that Liz obviously doesn't pick up on). And much as I enjoyed him as a character (I'm a sucker for characters that pine), he felt wholly unremarkable. If you'd hidden his name, I could have thought he was Jackson from Kasie West's Moment of Truth, Asher from Jessica Pennington's Meet Me at Midnight, or Finn from Kate Brian's Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys. I don't want to get too specific, as obviously this book isn't out yet and people have the right to be surprised, but I will say that the ending, for me, was pretty underwhelming. I wanted speaker-above-the-head confessions! Crying in the rain! Grand gestures! There were a few writing things that Painter included that felt a bit try-hard. I'm of the belief that current gen-z slang changes so quickly that it's futile to try and include in. What's in when you're writing will almost certainly not be when the book is published. In Better Than the Movie's case, Painter had Liz say "I am shook" (which, on top of just being a cringe slang in general, just doesn't feel in keeping with her character), and also has Helena, Liz's step-mom, say "bet". It was off-putting. For a book with such a focus on rom-com movies, I would have actually liked to see more rom-com tropes. I thought, in Liz's attempt to woo Michael, her and Wes would have teamed up to manufacture a few cliché moments. I actually thought that would be the entire premise of the book! Overall, this fluffy book will definitely give you the warm-and-fuzzies. It's pretty much everything you can expect from a YA romance set in high school, so as long as you go in with those expectations, you should have no problem flying through this like me!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Leah Waters

    THIS WAS SO CUTE!!!! Seriously, I couldn't stop smiling and giggling. Imagine To All the Boys I've Loved Before, but WAY better. THIS WAS SO CUTE!!!! Seriously, I couldn't stop smiling and giggling. Imagine To All the Boys I've Loved Before, but WAY better.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ishika

    Better than the movies is a book which tells the story of Liz Buxbaum who loves watching classic romance movies.Since her mother died when she was young, it was the only thing which reminded her of the times she spent with her mother watching those movies.She also has a habit for making playlists for different situations she encounters or might encounter in the future.It felt good to see so many of the songs I loved being mentioned in the book. “You look best when you're you.” Now it's Liz's senio Better than the movies is a book which tells the story of Liz Buxbaum who loves watching classic romance movies.Since her mother died when she was young, it was the only thing which reminded her of the times she spent with her mother watching those movies.She also has a habit for making playlists for different situations she encounters or might encounter in the future.It felt good to see so many of the songs I loved being mentioned in the book. “You look best when you're you.” Now it's Liz's senior year and she wants to experience the typical rom-coms she loves to watch before she passes out of high school.So when Michael, a boy on whom Liz had a huge since she was young crush came back to town,she believes that with Michael she could finally experience the relationship she wants.But like any other romance movies, there were a lot of things stopping her from making Michael fall in love with her- like her best friend who thinks Liz is acting childish or the girl whom Liz hated since she was young being rumoured to be having some sort of relationship with Michael or her biggest pain in her ass-Wes Bennett her neighbor who liked to play pranks with her (actually both liked to prank each other)-being very buddy buddy with Michael. “Enemies-to-lovers—it’s our trope, Buxbaum.” Finally both Liz and Wes makes truce with each other and in return Wes would help Liz to "woo" Michael while Liz would give Wes something they had been fighting for for years.And here begins the story of two enemies helping each other out.How wrong can everything be ;)? "If you ditch me, Wessy, I will stab you with the keg tap.” The things I loved about this book was how Wes's character was portrayed.Liz believed him to be a player but was he so? At the beginning I believed Michael to be someone who does not care about Liz and I was so wrong.The way her feelings for her mother were described made me feel sad and it felt good to see her relationship with Helena improve.And the best thing about this book-the banter and fights between Liz and Wes. If you need to read something refreshing and light this book might be a good choice.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Star Rating: —> 5 Stars Just holy freaking ever-loving CUTENESS! This was not even close to a 'just-your-average-rom-com'... this rom com got a 100% PLUSSS 10 extra points to up your score a letter grade bc it did the optional extra credit assignment ! man this was just SO TROPE-Y ON PURPOSE AND UGH I LOVED IT SO SO SO MUCH. It even pulls some inception type sh*t with tropes—and its SO MUCH FUN! Sigh. This. WAS. THEBEST. If you love enemies-to-lovers, rom-com movies, and just straight up hilariou Star Rating: —> 5 Stars Just holy freaking ever-loving CUTENESS! This was not even close to a 'just-your-average-rom-com'... this rom com got a 100% PLUSSS 10 extra points to up your score a letter grade bc it did the optional extra credit assignment ! man this was just SO TROPE-Y ON PURPOSE AND UGH I LOVED IT SO SO SO MUCH. It even pulls some inception type sh*t with tropes—and its SO MUCH FUN! Sigh. This. WAS. THEBEST. If you love enemies-to-lovers, rom-com movies, and just straight up hilariousness, etc., etc.... you will LOVE THIS ONE! More RTC !!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    aly ☆彡

    "A girl will never forget the first boy she likes" - He's Just Not That into You "But she'll also never forget the first boy she hates" - Liz Buxbaum Would you look at that cover? Do you know why I choose to read this book? Do you read the summary? When I first saw the cover reveal. I thought this was very cute and I need to read the book! I was expecting a cute cheesy romance but what I got in return are unwarranted angst and emotional mess. I expected some of the illustratio "A girl will never forget the first boy she likes" - He's Just Not That into You "But she'll also never forget the first boy she hates" - Liz Buxbaum Would you look at that cover? Do you know why I choose to read this book? Do you read the summary? When I first saw the cover reveal. I thought this was very cute and I need to read the book! I was expecting a cute cheesy romance but what I got in return are unwarranted angst and emotional mess. I expected some of the illustrations on the book cover to be depicted in the book, but I was being too hopeful as I get nothing alike. I was too ambitious on judging the book by its cover. Better Than the Movies is an enemies to lovers trope but I almost feel like it's a best friend to lovers trope because of the two MCs who had been living next to each other and known one another since they were five. Although, they were far from being best friends. Elizabeth or Liz Buxbaum is a perpetual daydreamer who loves rom-com. But deep down, was grieving over her mother's death. And watching them movies, at least helped her feels close to her screenwriter mother. Reading this during Mother's Day almost felt coincidental because this book really showed how Liz love and cherish her memories with her late mothers. And it is emotional to see Liz still getting hung up and mourning over her. She refused to bond with her stepmother because she was afraid she will forget her entirely. She doesn't want to shop for a prom dress because her mother was not there to witness her growing up. This part specifically really wrenched my heart. You can say I cried every time I read about Liz and her mother. But the downside of Liz is that... Okay, at the beginning of the book, I already started to get irked with her. She's kinda immature and delusional when her long time crush, Michael who has moved back to town and believe that it was fate and a sign that Michael will be her happily ever after. I was empathizing with her but seeing the outgrowth of today's Liz. I thought she really needs some help. And I would understand an oblivious character because some people are just THAT dense but Liz is downright stupid. Not really my favourite female lead character truth to be told. Meanwhile Wes despite the bickering he always had with Liz, is actually a nice character who, surprise surprise, is misunderstood. The damn thing with misunderstanding when it comes to enemies to lovers trope in contemporary romance!!!! The time Liz asked him to help her with Michael. He had been nothing but sweet and understanding. However, in all fairness, he can be quite boring and too nice for my liking. You like that girl for years but showed no animosity when you see her getting close to her goals of getting Michael asking her out. Like, he really HELPED her, doing the angel's works. Where's the tiger in you? You supposed to fight for her, not let her be... Also the tiger in Wes: What a disappointment. That itself just made the whole romance in this book to be tragic (def not something I called for), AND FOR WHAT? You boo boo the fools... just admit you people feelings, GOD DAMN IT. (view spoiler)[Especially the part Liz about to go big and admit her feelings only to have Michael doing the promposal or Wes coming back home with Alex. That was 1) such an embarrassment, 2) heartbreaking and 3) tiring. I really thought when they kissed, I could get my cheesy romance from Wes and Liz. And imagine how flabbergasted I am when my heart was broken piece after piece instead. (hide spoiler)] Then, there were parts in the book that got me quite baffled like when Liz went to Wes' house to ask for help about Michael. In the middle of the rain might I add but took no time to bring an umbrella with her and let herself get drenched while negotiating with him outside the house? Motive? The good thing I like about this book is the message of grieving teen’s devotion to romance films itself. As I said, that part is heart-wrenching. Secondly, the quotes from every rom-com movie at the beginning of every chapter. That was cute and fitting. Thirdly, Liz and her love for retro dresses. I relate to that and had no judgment on her fashion sense despite the contrary belief by other characters in the book. Lastly, Wes' consistency in ruffling Liz' hair. They are cute when they're both not stupid. Other than that, my expectation was high but went down the drain. It was not bad bad but definitely not good either. And of course, the ending comes when both the MCs get together which was unsatisfactory. Where all the things they should do like in the illustration. Utter disappointment. 3/5

  13. 5 out of 5

    sahar

    happy 50th book to me! this was such a breath of fresh air. i picked it up on a whim and can't believe how much i actually enjoyed it. wes was such a perfect book boyfriend and i don't think i've had one in a while so he'll add nicely to the list. the writing seemed a little more..middle grade than young adult, even though the characters were seniors in high school. the way they handled certain situations reminded me of middle school 'me' and not in a good way. despite that, i had a lot of fun an happy 50th book to me! this was such a breath of fresh air. i picked it up on a whim and can't believe how much i actually enjoyed it. wes was such a perfect book boyfriend and i don't think i've had one in a while so he'll add nicely to the list. the writing seemed a little more..middle grade than young adult, even though the characters were seniors in high school. the way they handled certain situations reminded me of middle school 'me' and not in a good way. despite that, i had a lot of fun and i highly recommend the read. can't remember the last time i enjoyed YA romance this much. (tw: death) ➳ 4 stars.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachel E. Carter

    Fluffy. Adorable. Perfect mix of old school Meg Cabot and To All The Boys I've Loved Before vibes with the Gilmore Girls sarcasm/banter I adore. Highly rec and I'm super particular about my romcoms. Will definitely be following this author's future works! Fluffy. Adorable. Perfect mix of old school Meg Cabot and To All The Boys I've Loved Before vibes with the Gilmore Girls sarcasm/banter I adore. Highly rec and I'm super particular about my romcoms. Will definitely be following this author's future works!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay (pawsomereads)

    4.5⭐️ This was such a cute book! I felt like I was in fangirl heaven the whole time. The whole story was adorable and entertaining and I had a blast reading it. Liz Buxbaum is a high school senior who loves imagining her life playing out like a movie. She inherited her love of rom-coms and movie soundtracks from her late mother, who had her watching all the classics from a young age. So when Liz’s childhood crush returns to town, she is desperate to get him to notice her and hopefully score him as 4.5⭐️ This was such a cute book! I felt like I was in fangirl heaven the whole time. The whole story was adorable and entertaining and I had a blast reading it. Liz Buxbaum is a high school senior who loves imagining her life playing out like a movie. She inherited her love of rom-coms and movie soundtracks from her late mother, who had her watching all the classics from a young age. So when Liz’s childhood crush returns to town, she is desperate to get him to notice her and hopefully score him as a prom date in the only way she knows how. She sets up an elaborate scheme with the assistance of her next door nemesis, Wes, to help her get Michael’s attention. They go through a series of movie rom-com-esque incidents that definitely grab Michael’s attention, but by prom Liz isn’t so sure which guy’s attention she’s trying to get anymore and she’s feeling more lost than ever without her mom. Better Than the Movies was honestly so relatable just based on its content alone. There were sooo many references to things that I know and love from Taylor Swift to the hot tub scene in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie to Brigerton to all of the classic rom-coms. There was also a lot of discussion around tropes and those typical rom-com themes and it was refreshing to see them actually talked about in a book that was using a lot of those devices itself. As far as tropes go, this had a mix of enemies to lovers with a little bit of fake dating going on which are my two favorite tropes of all time. I liked seeing them combined and they were used in a way that totally made sense with the characters’ backstories. There were definitely predictable parts but it was still so fun and entertaining. The characters were funny and the romance was swoony. There were a lot of touching moments as well, with a lot of talk about grief and opening yourself up to new people and experiences while still holding on to old memories. This was such a well-written story with characters you can’t help but fall for right from the beginning! Thank you so much to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

  16. 5 out of 5

    sam

    rating - 4.5* in four words or less - i loved this book. it has a mix of some of my favourite tropes enemies to lovers + childhood friends to lovers + fake dating so obviously i HAD to read it. plus there’s so many rom com references 🤩 it definitely didn’t disappoint. apart from the fact that the protagonist was a little bit too immature in a few scenes, it’s something i can see myself coming back to read in the future. if you’re looking for a quick and easy read that’ll make you smile and is sup rating - 4.5* in four words or less - i loved this book. it has a mix of some of my favourite tropes enemies to lovers + childhood friends to lovers + fake dating so obviously i HAD to read it. plus there’s so many rom com references 🤩 it definitely didn’t disappoint. apart from the fact that the protagonist was a little bit too immature in a few scenes, it’s something i can see myself coming back to read in the future. if you’re looking for a quick and easy read that’ll make you smile and is super cute then i highly recommend checking this one out. it’s perfect for the summer.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Better Than the Movies in exchange for an honest review. I can definitely see why a lot of people will really enjoy this. You have so called enemies to lovers, a practically perfect love interest, a quirky protagonist everyone ends up liking. I did like a lot of this because of how utterly adorable it is (also the fact that if Liz ended up with the 'enemies to lovers' character and took his last name she'd literally become "Elizabeth Bennet" made Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Better Than the Movies in exchange for an honest review. I can definitely see why a lot of people will really enjoy this. You have so called enemies to lovers, a practically perfect love interest, a quirky protagonist everyone ends up liking. I did like a lot of this because of how utterly adorable it is (also the fact that if Liz ended up with the 'enemies to lovers' character and took his last name she'd literally become "Elizabeth Bennet" made me insanely happy) and while I can see a lot of people not liking this because Liz is really flawed, I think she's definitely flawed in a really real teenage way. On that note, Liz does eventually realize all her flaws but acknowledging them is really rushed at the end of the story and I wish it was a bit more spaced out. I also wish we got a few more moments of Liz doing nice things for Wes because their relationship ended up feeling really imbalanced. This is a romcom though and I think it handled all the romcom tropes wonderfully.

  18. 5 out of 5

    booklover024

    so I usually stick to fantasy when I read but i'm SOO glad I decided to read this. it is just so cute and I love Wes haha. I STRONGLY suggest that you read this book :)) thanks for reading!! I hope u have a SPLENDID day!! 💜💜 so I usually stick to fantasy when I read but i'm SOO glad I decided to read this. it is just so cute and I love Wes haha. I STRONGLY suggest that you read this book :)) thanks for reading!! I hope u have a SPLENDID day!! 💜💜

  19. 4 out of 5

    Noelle

    I started this book at around 11:30 PM yesterday — I was only supposed to read for five minutes, BUT I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN. Five hours later, I found myself finishing what may well be the sweetest and most hilarious book I’ve read so far this year (and being okay with losing sleep over said book). Since Better Than the Movies was a romcom about romcoms, the plot turned out to be fairly predictable, but still fun. It was packed full of pop culture references and clever banter that romcom fans (li I started this book at around 11:30 PM yesterday — I was only supposed to read for five minutes, BUT I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN. Five hours later, I found myself finishing what may well be the sweetest and most hilarious book I’ve read so far this year (and being okay with losing sleep over said book). Since Better Than the Movies was a romcom about romcoms, the plot turned out to be fairly predictable, but still fun. It was packed full of pop culture references and clever banter that romcom fans (like myself!) would go wild over. God, I loved this so much. An easy five stars for me!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laasya Allam ☾

    Oh My FRICKIN Gosh!! How can such a story make me cry?? Im sobbing, goodness! You guys have to read this or I will go literally crazy! **Sobby voice** They were just do freaking adorable!

  21. 5 out of 5

    michelle (magical reads)

    2.5 stars cw: mentions of death of a parent (mother), emeto (ch. 3-4) this suffered from "oh I'm not like other teenage girls, I'm ~quirky" syndrome that I thought might have gotten better later but if anything, it got worse...tbh this was basically a 2014/2015 ya contemporary with more recent song mentions. readable I guess, but tbh I thought it would be cute but there was very little going for it. 2.5 stars cw: mentions of death of a parent (mother), emeto (ch. 3-4) this suffered from "oh I'm not like other teenage girls, I'm ~quirky" syndrome that I thought might have gotten better later but if anything, it got worse...tbh this was basically a 2014/2015 ya contemporary with more recent song mentions. readable I guess, but tbh I thought it would be cute but there was very little going for it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    A slow burn, childhood friends-to-hate-to-love romance featuring movies references, music, s'mores and countless rom-com movie worthy moments?... of course I loved this. You know when all you need is to snuggle down, grab some snacks and lose yourself in a rom-com you've watching a hundred times over but will never get bored of? Better Than the Movies had that vibe. It was comfortable and fluffy and predictable in the best way. It gave me all the feels whilst not toying with my heart too much. I A slow burn, childhood friends-to-hate-to-love romance featuring movies references, music, s'mores and countless rom-com movie worthy moments?... of course I loved this. You know when all you need is to snuggle down, grab some snacks and lose yourself in a rom-com you've watching a hundred times over but will never get bored of? Better Than the Movies had that vibe. It was comfortable and fluffy and predictable in the best way. It gave me all the feels whilst not toying with my heart too much. It played on countless rom-com tropes in a way that didn't feel cliched or tired and instead felt familiar and warm. The characters were fab, the romance was everything and honestly? This was just a delight to read. I'd also highly recommend the audiobook as the narrator was superb.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    Ok so I feel like I’m a bit too cynical of a person to read this as expressed from my repeated and never-ending eye rolls, but overall this was really cute. So I went into this thinking the characters would be re-enacting scenes in rom-coms. But it turned out to be a mix of tons of tropes, including enemies-to-lovers, friends-to-lovers, fake-dating, and slow-burn-love. Now that I’ve read a handful of rom-coms, I can say that I enjoy fake-dating and slow-burn, meh on friends-to-lovers, and I absol Ok so I feel like I’m a bit too cynical of a person to read this as expressed from my repeated and never-ending eye rolls, but overall this was really cute. So I went into this thinking the characters would be re-enacting scenes in rom-coms. But it turned out to be a mix of tons of tropes, including enemies-to-lovers, friends-to-lovers, fake-dating, and slow-burn-love. Now that I’ve read a handful of rom-coms, I can say that I enjoy fake-dating and slow-burn, meh on friends-to-lovers, and I absolutely loathe enemies-to-lovers. I got into an argument with my sister last night on whether the enemies-to-lovers trope is realistic. Spoiler alert: it’s not :D. I could rant about this for a life time but I’ll savor your time. So, moving on. I wasn’t even gonna read this in the first place, but I went into B&N and it was closing in like less than a minute so I ran to the YA section and bought a few books on the closest display shelf as fast as I could and voila. I saw this on Bookstagram when it was released and the cover is so cute so I thought why not, especially when it was one of the closest books to me. It started off pretty slow, and I could not stand the MC, Liz. I honestly thought this was going to be a two-star read. But luckily, by the end, it improved and the romance was so adorable. I still wasn’t a fan of Liz by the time I finished it. She was just over-the-top and reminded me too much of Elle from The Kissing Booth, one of my least favorite movie and book characters ever. But, the side characters shined through. Wes was so cute, and I loved the other supporting characters, especially Helena, Michael, Joss, and Wes’s friends. The plot wasn’t too busy, but it was fun. This definitely had the typical unrealistic YA romance cliches, that make me want to tear my hair out, but overall it was a quick and sweet read. Recommend to everyone!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katie Prouty

    "Trust me when I tell you that sometimes the person with the most 'magical night possibility' is the last person you'd expect. Sometimes there can be someone you've known forever, yet never really noticed." Better Than the Movies is in my top five FAVE of 2021! I am beside myself...bursting with ahhhh! Wes Bennett is dreamier then any of the other fictional boys. Wes and Liz are full blown enemies, they get off on besting each other. But readers will fall in LOVE with Wes by 9% and be 100% infin "Trust me when I tell you that sometimes the person with the most 'magical night possibility' is the last person you'd expect. Sometimes there can be someone you've known forever, yet never really noticed." Better Than the Movies is in my top five FAVE of 2021! I am beside myself...bursting with ahhhh! Wes Bennett is dreamier then any of the other fictional boys. Wes and Liz are full blown enemies, they get off on besting each other. But readers will fall in LOVE with Wes by 9% and be 100% infinite heart eyes by his sudden cavemannish protectiveness. For someone who is super into love and shtuff, Liz Buxbaum is kind of clueless. Her late mother bequeathed to her, her unwavering belief in happily ever after. She's a little love-lover. And Wessy is her little love fairy godfather. I'm totally SMITTEN over Lynn Painter's debut romcom! Readers will have the warm and fuzzies over BTTM's OTP. A MUST READ to find out if Liz finds her rom-com happy ending that her mother would have loved. "I fell in love with teasing you in the second grade, when I first discovered that I could turn your cheeks pink with just a word. Then I fell in love with you." READ IF YOU LIKE: -YA romcom -enemies to lovers (classic trope) -fake dating -kiss infused happy endings -antagonistic neighbor boy -nerd level fascination with movie soundtracks -ALL the romcom films (TATBILB, YGM, Pretty in Pink, Pretty Woman) -For the love of Nora Ephron...romantic running! -#IsThisAKissingBook: straight from The Notebook kiss in the rain Song: Lovers by Anna of The North The soundtrack of W&L

  25. 4 out of 5

    sirius proserpine

    this was actually so freaking cute i’m fhkjahfgkjhajk also wes is bi convince me otherwise xx

  26. 4 out of 5

    agustina

    reading cheesy romcoms is what keeps me going during finals season

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Is this the most perfect YA rom com ever?! It is you guys, this was adorable, swoony perfection from start to finish. If you like rom coms, or maybe just rom com movies, or maybe you just like books in general you have to read this. I swear you won’t regret it and I even think you’ll finish reading it with a cheesy grin and the warm and fuzzies. As light and funny as this one was there was an emotional component as well as Liz is grieving the loss of her mom snd senior year is really making her r Is this the most perfect YA rom com ever?! It is you guys, this was adorable, swoony perfection from start to finish. If you like rom coms, or maybe just rom com movies, or maybe you just like books in general you have to read this. I swear you won’t regret it and I even think you’ll finish reading it with a cheesy grin and the warm and fuzzies. As light and funny as this one was there was an emotional component as well as Liz is grieving the loss of her mom snd senior year is really making her realize how many big milestones her mom isn’t there for. It’s a great balance though, still many hilarious situations and Liz’s sadness made me want to wrap her up in a hug and keep her safe. I know I would’ve liked this in print, it’s too good not to, but the audio was outstanding and I think it brought the story to a whole new level. There’s lots of sarcasm and banter between Liz and Wes and Jesse Vilinsky nailed the delivery of the wit and humor so perfectly. Highly recommended by me especially if you’re feeling nostalgic for older rom com movies as there’s so many great references here.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Riddhi B.

    Oh. My. God. I absolutely adored this book!!!! It is honestly so sweet, and the fact that it sorta combines two of my favourite tropes- enemies-to-lovers and fake dating- has made it one of my favourite YA contemporaries ever! Plot: This book had a standard YA contemporary plot. I literally predicted every single thing that was gonna happen in the book, but that's just because I have read so many. If you are new to this genre, you might not be able to. Characters: Liz: Liz, to be honest, got on my ne Oh. My. God. I absolutely adored this book!!!! It is honestly so sweet, and the fact that it sorta combines two of my favourite tropes- enemies-to-lovers and fake dating- has made it one of my favourite YA contemporaries ever! Plot: This book had a standard YA contemporary plot. I literally predicted every single thing that was gonna happen in the book, but that's just because I have read so many. If you are new to this genre, you might not be able to. Characters: Liz: Liz, to be honest, got on my nerves a little bit. She was sweet, and everything, but there was just something about her that irritates me, that I cannot really pinpoint. Wes: Oh, good lord, I fell in love with Wes! He is honestly so sweet, and it's really apparent that he loves Liz since the beginning. Others: All the other characters were really well portrayed too. I do have one complaint though, I thought the names could use a little work. I mean, names do a lot for first impressions in books, at least for me. Elizabeth makes me think about some uptight girl, Wesley makes me think about some evil villain etc. But still, yes, names could have used more work. Writing Style: I LOVED THE WRITING STYLE. It was so funny and cute and awesome. Even though I knew what was gonna happen, Lynn Painter's writing style is so good, that I felt compelled to finish the book. My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I recommend it to all YA romance/ contemporary lovers!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marti Leimbach

    BETTER THAN THE MOVIES is a YA contemporary romance complete with it's own its own playlist, boy-of-your-dreams, and five-star wit. Liz Buxbaum's encyclopaedic knowledge of romance novels and romcom films ought to make her an expert at the real thing. But no. The daughter of a romcom writer, Liz is a traditionalist when it comes to matters of the heart. Her notions of love require adherence to certain criteria you will always, but always, find in true love. So when longtime crush, Michael, retur BETTER THAN THE MOVIES is a YA contemporary romance complete with it's own its own playlist, boy-of-your-dreams, and five-star wit. Liz Buxbaum's encyclopaedic knowledge of romance novels and romcom films ought to make her an expert at the real thing. But no. The daughter of a romcom writer, Liz is a traditionalist when it comes to matters of the heart. Her notions of love require adherence to certain criteria you will always, but always, find in true love. So when longtime crush, Michael, returns from years away from the neighbourhood, her goal is to hook him into the love affair they were always destined for…or not, as the case may be. Enter bolshy boy-next-door, Wes, with the obnoxious truck and his own (apparent) reasons for wanting Liz and Michael to hook up. Wes has ridiculed Liz since second grade but, due to wanting her parking space, is willing to help her with track down Michael. Never mind that Wes is handsome, attentive, charming, surprising, sporty and daring, he’s only hanging around to help her scheme to attract Michael…right? Well, not really, and the confusion surrounding who wants whom, proves irresistible. You might say that’s awfully predictable in a romcom…the obnoxious boy-next-door, the frenemy of the heroine, becomes the love interest in the end. But wait…Painter understands this about the novel. In fact, Wes declares outright that Enemies-to-Lovers is Liz and his own personal trope. In Painter’s hands, the old trope is born anew. Surprising twists keep the action aloft all the way to the end. The character portrayals of Wes and Liz have a freshness that keeps you turning the page to see if they will finally get together (and how)...as there are times it looks pretty hopeless. Liz’s depth of feeling in how she misses her late mother with whom she shared a love of romantic comedies, gives the story the added gravitas it needs. A playful, affectionate novel that kept me off Netflix for three nights in a row so, yes, better than the movies!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shay | Books Are Magic Too

    Self professed little love lover here, to gush about an adorable must read YA contemporary romance that you NEED to have on your want to read list - Better Than the Movies. As someone who adores the happily ever afters YA can give me as a reader, this one had everything I needed to be left with all the warm fuzzy feelings even days after reading it. I’ve already gushed about it over and over, and am demanding fan art like the incredible cover art, because I NEED it. Liz Buxbaum is a girl who hea Self professed little love lover here, to gush about an adorable must read YA contemporary romance that you NEED to have on your want to read list - Better Than the Movies. As someone who adores the happily ever afters YA can give me as a reader, this one had everything I needed to be left with all the warm fuzzy feelings even days after reading it. I’ve already gushed about it over and over, and am demanding fan art like the incredible cover art, because I NEED it. Liz Buxbaum is a girl who hears the soundtrack of her life, set to the romcom movies she grew up watching with her mother who died in a tragic car accident. Without her, she has taken on many of those senior year milestones with a hint of sadness, but all she wants is a promo worthy of a big screen romance. Insert the return of her childhood crush, Michael, who she’ll do anything to go to the dance with. With witty banter that was age appropriate and often swoon worthy, I quickly fell for this book next door, enemies to lovers, fake dating masterpiece of nostalgic feels. Painter will make you laugh out loud with the shenanigans that Liz puts herself in, all in the name of love and falling for the “right” guy, even if it means befriending the one person who has been tormenting her since she was little. & while I don’t want you to flip to the back & ruin the ending, I DO want you to know that Lynn has made a playlist of the songs in the book and I am HERE for it, this book is the book debut dreams are made of my friends. A HUGE thank you to Simon + Schuster Children's Publishing and the author herself for providing an advance reader copy of this book, in exchange for a personal review - it was an absolute delight to read, and I am honored to have gotten to read it! For anyone who ever dreamed of an 80’s romcom becoming your modern reality, this book is for you. Cue the music, and pick this one up to read as soon as it releases on 5/4!

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