BOOK REVIEW: Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter

"My favorite thing about music—when you played it loud enough through good headphones (and I had the best) — was that it softened the edges of the world."

Ever since I joined the world of Bookstagram, I've been introduced to titles that are out of my genre comfort zone; but since I was in a bit of a reading slump for 2023, I figure...why not? Which is precisely how Lynn Painter's Better Than the Movies entered my orbit. You guys, after reading this cutie I think I'm officially a fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope!

Seventeen-year-old Liz 'Libby' Buxbaum has been a daydreaming lovergirl since the ripe old age of seven, when her mother introduced her to Bridget Jones's Diary. On that day, after falling for the charming playboy, she was also taught a ginormous lesson: never choose the bad boy. Though her rom-com loving mother has since passed, Libby has never forgotten that very, very important bit of advice - and is always on the lookout for Mr. Right. The sweet, nice, dependable Mr. Right, that is. All of the things that Liz's neighbor, Wes 'Wessy' Bennet is most certainly not.

Frenemies since childhood, Liz and Wes have never been in each other's Top 5. Though infantile pranks {read: decapitated lawn gnomes} are no longer part of the equation; Wes still manages to be a huge pain in Liz's butt - mainly due to the continual battle for The Spot. Prime parking situated right in front of both of their houses - but only enough room for one vehicle. Liz, unfortunately, rarely wins {though she has figured out ways to execute revenge}; and Wes manages to almost always come out victorious given his penchant for depositing strange objects as a space saver {iron picnic tables, monster truck wheels...the usual}. Now that Michael is back in town, however, Wes may just become Liz's knight in shining armor.

Enter Michael Young - Liz's childhood crush and all-around good boy. Michael moved away years ago, but he's back...and hotter. than. ever. Liz knows that Michael is undoubtedly the guy who will fulfill all of her romantic comedy fantasies - if only they would make it to their first date. Sure, they've chatted about the past, but Liz wants Michael to ask her to prom; which is where Wes comes in to, admittedly, save the day. Wes and Michael have quickly reignited their childhood bromance, so Liz enlists Wes to help her get the guy by pretending they're a thing to nudge Michael into her arms. But the more time Liz spends with Wes, the more she realizes that she underestimated his potential. He's actually a really good guy; and, dare she say it, she likes spending time with him. A lot. Now she's forced to question everything she has ever learned about love in order to find her happily ever after.

Can someone please tell me where to find Wes IRL because I'm literally in love with him, and I want him to be more than my book boyfriend. I'm being totally serious right now btw. Lynn Painter did such a phenomenal job with Better Than the Movies. This is not the typical book that I go for; but the combination of playlists and movie quotes and song lyrics and brilliant characters was a literal chef's kiss. Never in my life did I think I would fall in love with a romantic comedy-esque frenemies-to-lovers tale; yet here we are. Ngl, it was glaringly obvious how this was going to end; but the best part of the ride was watching the love story develop, and being there for all of the sweet moments that we wish we could experience ourselves (you know it’s true, so don’t even!). If you're searching for a sweet love story sans smut, you absolutely must take this one home - and read it while listening to the official playlist of Wessy and Libby. Obsessed! And on my way to check out more by Ms. Painter.

Star Rating: ****1/2



ellie said...

Looks like the perfect time to read this one. I have seen it around, but as of yet, haven't read it. Maybe I will now.

Ivy's Closet said...

I have always liked the cover. Yes, I think it's my kind of book!

Caitlin'nMegan said...

Awesome review. Great to see it!

R's Rue said...

So good. Hugs my friend. I miss you.

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