Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore
Published Walker Books 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: Kindle ebook
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.
I love when a YA contemporary book incorporates some overall theme into the entire story. For this one, it happened to be romantic comedies. And let’s be honest – most of us contemporary romance lovers also enjoy the rom-coms. This was a perfect blend of the movie world and the contemporary YA world, but this book was so much more than just a movie inspired romance.
Lily and Marijke are from two different worlds in high school, but both of them felt relatable. Lily is the girl that no one seems to notice and it’s not because she doesn’t try or is too shy – she is involved in clubs and gets good grades. She is a bit of a workaholic already. I could relate to her so much. She reminded me of me in high school. Marijke is a track and field runner, she has a popular boyfriend, and plenty of friends especially because of her track successes. However, she still feels like there is something missing. This was also relatable as well. I felt for both of the girls in their struggles. All of their reactions to these events, even their friend relationship forming, were so realistic. It might seem annoying, but I loved it. I could see these girls walking the high school halls with me and nothing felt forced for drama.
The romances are also really cute. Lily is trying to get the attention of Joe, a motocross rider who doesn’t really know that she even exists. They pull a ‘Footloose’-like act in order to have them meet and then work together on a charity project. Marijke is trying to get her boyfriend to see only her, instead of the constant flirting. Her story doesn’t come together exactly like the movies and multiple of their attempts are pulled straight from the great rom-coms. I liked how both of their relationships don’t fall together perfectly, like it would in a rom-com. Instead, they have real ups and downs that lead them to question their friendship and why they even bonded over these movies in the first place.
The main part of this book I loved was the female friendships. This isn’t very popular in YA for some reason, yet it is very strong and present here. Marijke and Lily have some problems in their relationship and get in a few fights. It is just the beginning of their friendship, but you can tell that they will be friends for a while. They both grow through their common interest and it ends up being much more than just getting the guy.
Overall, I loved this book. It is one of my new favorite contemporary romances, especially because it also contains elements of a female friendship, adorable romantic comedy movies, and realistic reactions to at-home problems. Both girls grow so much in this book and it was so fun to follow along for the ride with them.