Published by Walker Children's on July 22, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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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.
Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend.
While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much in common; but, after a coincidental meeting at the movie theater, Lily gets an idea – why can’t life be like a movie? 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.
Just Like the Movies is a darling breath of fresh summer air, and it could not have come into my life at a better time! I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, and I spend the months leading up to my birthday and Christmas scouring the Internet for any and all romantical movies that have not been added to my collection. I knew from the get-go that this was a book for me, and it was. As always, my main points are bolded. :)
1. Right off the bat, I loved all the mentions of some of my favorite romantic comedies. Kelly has great taste in swoony movies, and I even got some recommendations for my Christmas list! After reading Kelly’s take on a particularly romantic boombox scene from Say Anything, I know I need to go watch that movie!
2. I SO identify with Lily, to the point where I almost forgot I was reading about someone other than myself! Lily is high school me. She’s a bookish, organized, intellectual wallflower with a long list of things she wants to accomplish and her future all planned out. She wants a love story like the movies, but doesn’t think anyone even notices her. She’s crushing on a guy she thinks is WAY out of her league. On the flip side, she has this snarky sarcasm thing going on that I just loved. She is so me. I was a studious, shy, choir girl who was actually told by one of her best friends that she should be a bank robber because nobody would notice her come and go.I wasn’t weird, I was pretty, and I had a lot to offer. And I always wondered why I was overlooked the popular guys (side note – Now that I am old and wise, I’m actually glad I was overlooked). I wish I’d had a friend like Lily to commiserate with.
3. Marijke is the popular girl that’s actually likeable, and it was so refreshing to read about her. The star athletes in high school are almost never nice (and if you were a nice star athlete in highschool, high five!), but Marijke really proves herself. She’s got her insecurities and her frustrations and her home drama. She’s a normal girl. I liked her a lot, even though I probably would have avoided her in high school.
4. I have a huge crush on Joe Lombardi.
5. I loved the focus on friendship. Lily and Marijke have the most amazing friendship that spans high school social groups in a way that feels so real. And I loved watching them bond over their love of romance and their desires to have it in their own lives.
6. Probably my favorite thing about Just Like the Movies is the focus on growth and coming of age. Kelly and I touched on this in our interview last week. As the story moves on, these girls both get stronger and stronger. They figure out who they are, what they want, and that they deserve more than they are getting. I loved watching them both discover their individuality and their amazingness. And what I loved even more is that things work out for these girls once they discover themselves. There’s a huge message of loving yourself enough to demand a certain kind of respect from others. If only we could all learn to do this.
All in all, Just Like the Movies is a very sweet romance with tons of references to well-loved romantic movies, a beautiful friendship, swoony boys, girl power, and an important message to readers young and old. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves romantic contemporary stories with a little meat on their bones,.