I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on 2014-07-22
Genres: Adolescence, Film, Friendship, Love & Romance, Performing Arts, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pretty, popular Marijke Monti and over-achieving nerd-girl Lily Spencer have little in common—except that neither feels successful when it comes to love. Marijke can’t get her boyfriend to say “I love you” and Lily can’t get a boyfriend at all. When the girls end up at a late night showing of Titanic, sniffling along with the sinking ship, they realize that their love lives could—and should—be better. Which sparks an idea: Why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they create perfect romantic situations? Now they have a budding friendship and a plan—to act out grand gestures and get the guys of their dreams. It seems like fun at first, but reality turns out to be much more complicated, and they didn’t take into account that finding true love usually requires finding yourself first.
Have you ever imagined what it would be like if real life was like the movies? Or at least like those romantic comedies or romantic dramas where the girl gets the boy of her dreams every time? I would be lying if I said that I had never imagined what would happen if my life could be like the movies. Especially being a child of the 90’s and having so many good chick flick and young adult movies come out during some of my most influential years. So, when I was browsing Netgalley one day, and I stumbled upon a new release called Just Like The Movies by Kelly Fiore, I knew I had to check it out.
Right from the beginning, I found two main characters of Just Like The Movies, Marijke and Lily, to be enjoyable. Each of them had their own stories and their own journeys which they had to complete throughout the book. They’re both coming from two different perspectives when it comes to romance and love. Of course, I could relate to one character’s story more than the other. Lily is the type of girl that I could see myself as when I was in high school. I was involved with the music program and I loved every second of it but outside of the music wing I know I couldn’t help but wonder if I was just a face in the crowd. Did people actually know who I was? I was very quiet when I was in high school. I didn’t have a date for prom. I wasn’t athletically capable of anything. It sometimes even amazed me that I was able to march and play clarinet at the same time given how uncoordinated I was. I saw myself through the eyes of Lily. Bring the girl who was unnoticed, who did so much but yet no one could see her, and I admittedly smiled because it was so good to see a character like that reflected in a YA book.
Why was it good for me to see a character like Lily? Because girls like her exist all the time. Like I said, I was her. And normally girls like her are pushed to a more secondary character status while girls like Marijke, who is popular and a star athlete are given front page status. It was nice to see the main character status shared between the girls. I felt that there was a pretty equal balance between them. Also, I found myself being able to relate to Marijke in a way that I didn’t expect. Her parents were high school sweethearts and always attached at the hip which was her shining example of what love should be like. Similarly, my parents met in high school, although they went to two different high schools, and fell in love. I’ve actually seen in my mom’s senior year book where my dad signed many of the pages declaring how much he loved her, and how he was going to marry her someday. And he did … on September 28th, 1985. Now my parents’ marriage was not picture perfect by any stretch of the imagination, they had to work hard to get where they were. But to me, they will always be a shining example of what a good relationship was, and they had what I strive to have someday for myself.
Just Like The Movies is a cute story. It takes the aspects of so many different movies that I loved when I was younger and brought them to life in a book. At first I wasn’t exactly sure how this was going to be possible, especially when you’re talking about so many iconic movies scenes but somehow it works. Well, it doesn’t always work exactly like planned because of course, real life is not like film life. There are twists and turns and things that cannot be removed by a special sense of editing. But, having these things in with the book made it even more realistic for me, and also made me enjoy it more in a way. I feel that if everything had gone off completely picture perfect, I wouldn’t have liked the book because I would have felt it to be too cliché driven which of course is also a problem with many Hollywood films. My only real criticism with the movies that were picked is that I wish that there had been a couple movie friendship scenes in included that Marijke and Lily could have related to or reenacted somehow. I think that would have been fun.
Kelly Fiore makes Just Like The Movies just the right amount of fluff and fun for a good summer read. It’s not deep and thought provoking but honestly, it’s not supposed to be. It has characters that you can relate to and root for as you follow them on their individual journeys of discovering exactly what the meaning of love is to them. It has moments that make you smile, a moment or two that might make you cringe, and a moment or two that might actually make you reflect on your younger years as it did with me. And just like one of those movies that you pop in to put yourself in a good mood, it allows you to forget the craziness of your own life for a while.