April 10, 2021

Review: It Only Happens in the Movies

It Only Happens in the Movies

By Holly Bourne
Available now from HMH Books for Young Readers
Review copy

It Only Happens in the Movies looks like a romcom. But really, it is the bildungsroman of protagonist Audrey, who hates romcoms. Her parents perfect romance fell apart and now she lives with her mother (who is in the throes of a breakdown), her brother is at college and no help, and her father lives with his new family. Her recent breakup caused her to quit drama to avoid her ex. Yet just as she starts a school essay on the terrible fantasy of romcoms, she finds herself living in one with her new coworker.

When Audrey starts working at a movie theater, she knows Harry is bad news, even before everyone warns her not to get invested in his flirting. Then he casts her in his zombie movie and Audrey starts regaining confidence in her talent as well as falling for the parts of him that aren't a suave ladies' man.

I enjoyed how UK author Holly Bourne used and subverted common YA romance tropes (from both books and movies). Audrey's issues are very realistic and often painful. I truly sympathized with her when the full truth of her first relationship came out. I also really enjoyed that Audrey not only made personal growth, but found the support she needed from friends and family over the course of the novel. I particularly loved that her friends didn't begrudge her being distant while she went through a difficult time.

It Only Happens in the Movies is a fun YA novel that seems like it is going to veer into cliche at times, but makes up for it by completely sticking the landing. It is a great choice for contemporary fans.

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