There are no spoilers in this review.
I have read my share of contemporary romances and I thought I could not be surprised by them anymore. I was wrong.
It only happens in the movies was my first Holly Bourne book and, let me tell you right now, it won’t be my last. Realistic, raw, unique, It only happens in the movies tackled relationships and love in such a REAL way, I couldn’t help but fall in love.
A REALISTIC CONTEMPORARY ABOUT ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
“What was the point? What is the point in love, and promises of it, when it can just jump from one person to another like that?”
It only happens in the movies takes all of the romance movies you’ve ever watched, all the sweet contemporary books you have ever read and throw them all out the window. Literally. You know, when you read a book or see a movie and just swoon all over, because the love interest is way too adorable, dreamy and everything you want him to be? When somehow, the happy ending will always be waiting, everything will resolve itself and… well, just ALL.THE.SWOON.HAPPENS? This is not this kind of book. It only happens in the movies takes relationships, teenagers, expectations, false ideas, everything we think of romance and every vision we have and get of romantic relationships and, somehow, makes a story way more realistic than I have ever, ever read.
FIERCE, AMAZING AND RELATABLE CHARACTERS
Like in every contemporary, the characters are the shining stars here. Audrey, our main character, is an average teenager trying to mend her broken heart after her boyfriend broke up with her. She’s passionate, fierce, feminist, yet she made her mistakes as well. Pushing away her friends. Closing herself to the outside world a little bit. She’s flawed. She is one character you will end up falling in love with as the story goes on, as she opens herself up again, as she just grows wonderfully.
“The only love affair I needed to invest in right now was one with myself. Spend some time with me. Figuring out myself and why I picked the relationships I did. I was holding out my heart to me. Because I’d realised I was the only person who could give me a happily-ever-after.”
We also get an interesting cast of side characters with their own issues, even if the real shining star here is Audrey, obviously. Harry, the love interest, was pretty well-shaped, with his own insecurities we slowly discover, well-hidden behind his carapace.
ALL THE AWKWARDNESS NEEDED FOR IT TO FEEL REAL
“Love isn’t just a feeling. Love is a choice too.”
Relationships are not easy. Crushes come and go, feelings build up slowly, surely, there are really awkward moments, everything just does not resolve itself in such a perfect way, sometimes pieces of the puzzle are crooked and can’t quite fit. In It only happens in the movies, Audrey’s relationship with Harry slowly builds up, from meeting each other, first impressions, to growing closer, friends, developing feelings and so on. Audrey just got her heart broken by her ex-boyfriend and is not ready for a relationship. Slowly, her hearts mends itself, slowly, she realizes that she can get back up on her feet, explore a new relationship. NOTHING goes smoothly in this book. There are issues, awkward moments, there is tons of sex positivity and one of the most realistic sex representations I have ever read as well. To be honest, this book just has one of the most realistic teenage relationships I have ever read about and, just for that, you should read it.
Yet, this book wasn’t, somehow, just about a romance. Holly Bourne incorporated family issues in this book, with Audrey’s mother trying to get over her divorce; but she also managed to fit in some great friendships. We get to explore what it is like to grow apart from friends, because of a new relationship, how it’s like to try and gain their trust again, awkwardness and just bonding, sharing and everything else. It’s adorable.
It only happens in the movies is a book I would heavily recommend, to everyone, whether you love contemporaries or not. With a fresh, super-realistic take on teenage relationships, amazing characters you will root for and heart-wrenching moments between Audrey and her mother… It was overall a brilliant book tackling clichés in romances and delivering instead the realistic romance we all need to read.
Final rating: It’s a hurricane!
Trigger warnings: there is one scene of self-harm that is kind of graphic.
Holly Bourne, It only happens in the movies, Published by Usborne Publishing, October 1st, 2017.
Audrey is over romance. Since her parents’ relationship imploded her mother’s been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn’t mean things are easy. Because real love isn’t like the movies…
The greatest love story ever told doesn’t feature kissing in the snow or racing to airports. It features pain and confusion and hope and wonder and a ban on cheesy clichés. Oh, and zombies… YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel.
Did you read It Only Happens In The Movies? Do you want to?
Did you read any other books by Holly Bourne? Which one would you recommend?
Do you also feel like romances are sometimes filled with clichés and unrealistic? Let me know in comments!