Reviews tagging Death

Better Than the Movies, by Lynn Painter

9 reviews

imstephtacular's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional hopeful lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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megcarrick's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5


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brielleborgia's review against another edition

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funny lighthearted sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟5 stars
(Possible spoiler ?)

If you love RomCom movies and grew up in the 90s/00s…. This is such a fun read! One of the best regular fiction YA novels I have read in a long time. It was the right amount of swoony and cheesy for me. 

•enemies to lovers
•touches base on grief 
•He falls first
•touches base death of a parent and New (super sweet) stepmom
•HEA
•Protagonist is a quirky outsider 


There were several parts where it could be seen as “meh” because 1) the author hadn’t really mentioned any diversity and left it all up to your interpretation (which is okay to me, but could bother some) 2) the antagonist , Wes, was not truly a “bad boy” as Liz painted him out to be until the very end. This is not a spoiler per se, but it’s something you learn super early on. 

Totally recommended for a light read with some tug on your emotions☺️❤️

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azqkaban's review

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emotional funny lighthearted sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

i only have one regret after reading this. i wish i read this sooner. this book has such loveable characters, and is one of the rare books where i can remember the names of every single one that appeared, even charlie with his denim tuxedo. the writing was so well and even though i dont watch romcoms that much i adored this book. thanks to my friend lara that made me read this masterpiece. this was an easy 5 star for me.

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calamitywindpetal's review against another edition

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funny lighthearted reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5


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rosesbelair's review against another edition

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emotional funny lighthearted slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5


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totallynotanerd's review against another edition

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funny lighthearted reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5

Love a good enemies-to-lovers book

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chloeabrego's review against another edition

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emotional funny lighthearted fast-paced
  • Loveable characters? Yes

4.25


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spearly's review against another edition

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lighthearted reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25

Thank you NetGalley for providing me an e-arc 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
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.


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 book's 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 rivalry (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!

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