Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Romance, Fiction
Publication Date: July 22, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsburry USA Children's Books
Page Count: 288
Synopsis: 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.
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.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
***I know I shouldn't have included spoilers in an ARC Review, but guys.... the feels***
By now, I'm sure that everyone knows that I have issues with straight up contemporary romance novels. Eighty percent of the time, I just can't handle them, there isn't enough going on, there is too much focus on the romance itself, etcetera etcetera, the list goes on. Yet, there is that other 20% of the time where I find that one contemporary romance that I fall in love with such as How to Say Goodbye by Amber Lin and The Distance Between Us by Kasie West. I am so happy to say that Just Like the Movies was in that slim 20% because I absolutely fell in love with the adorableness.
If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you will know that I despise things being cliche. There are however exceptions to my acceptance of cliche events/occurrences such as with Just Like the Movies because the story depended on cliche plots and story arcs. You probably just read that and are now extremely confuzzled (that wasn't a typo). As you probably know from reading the synopsis, Lily and Marijke set up romantic situations using movie techniques, and these movie techniques are ones that the majority of movie lovers (primarily rom-com/chick-flick lovers) know and love from the classics.
"All the movies we've watched and studied and copied -- well, they all had happy endings, despite potential outside variables. That's not how real life works, I guess. No director, no writer, no second or third or fourth takes. You get one shot to do it right the first time and, when it doesn't work, you have to live with the outcome." ARC 85%
What I was a bit disappointed with was the narration of the story. It is told in dual points of view, from Lily and Marijke, and even though I was allowed to see into two different people's heads, I didn't really get a feel for who they were. On one hand, Fiore could have tried to give me an in-depth look into their heads, but that might have harshed the light-hearted mood of the story. On the other hand, Fiore could have gone full-blast with the "jock and nerd become unlikely friends" thing, and made their voices sound uber cliche.
Even though I liked the romance in Just Like the Movies, I was not routing for Marijke and Tommy. They may have seemed sweet, but I thought Tommy was a major jerk (and other terms inappropriate for this family-friendly blog). Marijke put so much effort in trying to make the two of them work and the he didn't appreciate her until she was gone *puts hands on hips* "I knew it!" On top of that, she also put off deciding which college she was going to go to because of him. I had this odd fantasy/wish that she would get swept off of her feet by an even better guy, but that didn't happen.
Then it came to Lily's romance which I was behind 110%. It was a typical she was a nerd, he was the bad boy situation (he actually wasn't a bad boy and just rode a motorcycle), and they met in detention thanks to the Marijke's doing. They were the epitany of sweetness and I shipped them so hard during the entire book. Yet, as things have to happen to get in the way of their love, he says that is going with SOMEBODY ELSE to prom which to me is NOT OKAY! She flees from the scene and tries to avoid him, but it was really a misinterpretation of the situation. But don't worry.... their movie ending comes. Yet, the movie ending that I totally thought I saw coming from a mile away didn't happen which was so disappointing, but they were happy in the end anyway and (*gulps* I guess) that's all that matters. If you have read the book, or when you do, tell me if you thought he was going to ask her to prom at the motorcycle charity. It would have been perfect if he won the raffle that he had helped set up.
What I enjoyed in Just Like the Movies were the glimpses we got to see of Marijke's and Lily's home lives which ended up being not so much like the movies. I thought it was such an interest spin that Marijke's parents had met and fell in love in high school, but ended up getting a divorce because they had made the commitment too early. This could have been foreshadowing for Marijke that she shouldn't have held herself back from opportunity because of him. Then there was Lily whose mom kept trying to find love and welcoming
random strangers men into her home, convincing herself she was in love, and then having her heart broken. This aspect of Lily's life made her wary of forging those relationships that every teenage girl deserves, but taught her a lot of dos and don'ts of dating that she could apply if there was a sequel.
Conclusion: Just Like the Movies is the perfect beach read for this summer full of all the feels and two adorkable romances with relatable characters you are sure to love.