By: Kaylen Fuentez
‘Better Than the Movies’ is a book written by Lynn Painter that was published in 2021. This book is about a teenage girl Liz and her neighbor and childhood friend, Wes. They don’t get along very well but when their old childhood friend, Michael, moves back into town, Liz asks Wes to set them up.
I think this book had a good concept but it was definitely predictable and wasn’t something that was unheard of. But I do think the characters were written really well and with a lot of substance.
I think it was easy to get attached to the characters since they all had such engaging personalities. I think my favorite character is Wes, throughout the book he was very thoughtful of Liz and you can tell he truly cares about her. He helped her to start talking to Michael even when he knew he’d had feelings for her. He continued to be there for her when she was upset over her relationship with Michael, her friendship that was falling apart, and as well as grieving her mom and accepting her step mom.
The subplot of ‘Better Than the Movies’ was Liz trying to cope with the death of her mother who passed 2 years prior to when the story takes place. One of the ways she copes with her mom’s death is watching rom coms which she grew up watching with her mom. Throughout the book Liz’s mom is constantly mentioned and everyone always says how much she reminds them of her mother. Liz always takes her resemblance to her mother as a compliment but in a part of the book her and Wes have a fight and he says she’s trying to be her mom because that’s one way she copes. I thought that it was a really interesting concept and I’m glad that though her mom passed she’s still such a big part of the book and Liz’s thought process.
Another thing I really enjoyed about the book was all of the references to films and music. Liz has an obsession with films as well as creating playlists for every moment. At the beginning of each chapter there was a quote from a rom com which described how the chapter was going to go, and after finishing the chapter the quote would make a lot of sense and I thought it was a clever way to add substance and hobbies to Liz’s character.
The songs mentioned throughout were also a nice touch because it gave you more of a sense of what was going on and how Liz was feeling in that moment, and how the song could correspond to what was going on. At the end of the book, there was even a page dedicated to Wes and Liz and it’s called “Wes and Liz’s Playlist” that included about 20 songs that showed how they feel about each other and the journey of their relationship throughout the book.
Overall, I think this book was a nice easy read, but I definitely wouldn’t say it’s the best book I’ve ever read. I rate this book 3/5 stars and it’s a great book to read in a short span of time.