Author: Lynn Painter
I heart you Wes.
So, “Better Than the Movies” by Lynn Painter, wasn’t what I expected when I first picked this up. This is a YA contemporary romance, and this is not a genre I tend to pick up. I normally don’t gravitate toward YA romances because teenage drama usually annoys me. But this…this was different. I really enjoyed this one.
You have our main character Liz, our super romantic teenager. Who is, unfortunately, going through her senior year of high school without her mom. Everything is difficult to do because she won’t be there to create those memories with her. Liz cherishes the memories of her mom watching rom-com movies.
Liz hopes that one day, she will get a swoon-worthy romantic moment day like the movies she watched with her mom. That day comes when Michael Young has come back into her life. This is fate.
The only problem is, he still sees her as Little Liz. The little Liz was whimsical and not like the other kids. Little Liz put on plays and wore crazy outfits. Not older and mature Liz.
So, Liz hatched a plan. One that involves her long-time nemesis Wes. Her awful neighbor across the street always steals her parking spot. But she must do what she can for the cause. She barters with him, she will give up the parking spot if he would help her more likable to Michael. Strangely, Wes agrees.
It does seem like fate doesn’t want Michael and her to be together. Strange keeps happening as Liz’s romantic meet cute keeps getting interrupted by strange situations such as projectile vomit on her dress.
As Wes and Liz continue to work together to get with Michael, she realizes that Wes is not what she always labeled him to be. He is actually kind, funny, a good guy and she finds that he is super easy to talk to.
Michael is the object of her goal but finding that she is more and more like Wes. Is Michael still the person she wants to have her romantic ever after with?
I struggled with this one. Liz came across as a rotten emotional teenager. But because I understand where the MC was coming from. Losing a parent is not easy. How do we continue the big moments in life without the person who was the most important to us? So her reactions and struggles were understandable. But you see a lot of growth from her as she learns to heal from her mothers death.
It was hard to see the lies piling up around Liz. As she dug herself deeper into a hole where she was avoiding confrontation, confronting hurt and was scared stiff of judgment from her best friend. You can see in her inner dialogue that she knew what she was doing but because of some insecurities, she continued to lie until she was caught. Liz did own up to it in the end, but you couldn’t help but cringe a little at what she was doing to herself.
I loved the moment when she accepts her step-mom finally. Finally realizing that she is not going to take her mom’s place. But just a person in the family that continues the story and be there for her and for Liz. I thought it was heartwarming and glad to see it in the story.
What I love about this one is that it is raw, funny, and a clean YA contemporary romance. I normally don’t have tolerance for that particular drama. But this one, this was done so well that I enjoyed it the whole way through the story. Surprised I didn’t read this sooner but it all has its own timing.