ARC Review: Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter

Posted May 3, 2021 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 12 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review:  Better Than the Movies by Lynn PainterBetter Than the Movies by Lynn Painter
on May 4, 2021
Genres: YA Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & Noble


In this rom-com about rom-coms, in the spirit of Kasie West and Jenn Bennett, a hopeless romantic teen attempts to secure a happily-ever-after moment with her forever crush, but finds herself reluctantly drawn to the boy next door.

Perpetual daydreamer Liz Buxbaum gave her heart to Michael a long time ago. But her cool, aloof forever crush never really saw her before he moved away. Now that he’s back in town, Liz will do whatever it takes to get on his radar—and maybe snag him as a prom date—even befriend Wes Bennet.

The annoyingly attractive next-door neighbor might seem like a prime candidate for romantic comedy fantasies, but Wes has only been a pain in Liz’s butt since they were kids. Pranks involving frogs and decapitated lawn gnomes do not a potential boyfriend make. Yet, somehow, Wes and Michael are hitting it off, which means Wes is Liz’s in.

But as Liz and Wes scheme to get Liz noticed by Michael so she can have her magical prom moment, she’s shocked to discover that she likes being around Wes. And as they continue to grow closer, she must reexamine everything she thought she knew about love—and rethink her own ideas of what Happily Ever After should look like.

My Review:

Oh my gosh, I adored this book so much! I am a huge rom-com lover myself, although maybe not some of the classics that others like, I tend to like the ones that are really more funny maybe than those. Could be how I prefer my romance books that I read these days! But so much in this story was just like a rom-com. Obviously, duh, that’s the whole premise, right? Liz was a little clueless of course, but seemed to catch on quicker than the heroines in this type of story usually do about the enemies/fake dating trope she was in. Even if things kind of went south and didn’t end up like she’d wanted at first.

With all of that though, there was a lot more to the story. Her mother being dead was a really big storyline. Now, I feel like she was a little overdramatic in a way, I mean she had a great stepmom, and it had been quite a while since her mother had died. But I get it, teenagers, right? And who knows how something like that affects a person. Since I’ve not been in that situation, I can’t really say fairly. And I didn’t quite understand why she kept the secret from her best friend Joss for so long. That seemed a little weird to me as well.

But there were good things about both of the boys she was dealing with. I mean, the book that Michael came in looking for? And how Wes was just her perfect foil and bantering partner. Not to mention how he’d watched a lot of the movies that were Liz’s favorites! All in all, this was such a sweet, fun, cute, clean romance. In the end, while I was rooting for the one she did end up with, it was kind of hard to not think the other boy would have been a great second best.

One last detail I have to mention is I love how she was coming up with soundtracks for her life. Personally, when I hear a song in a movie I love and watch over and over, I can never hear that song again without thinking of that exact scene in that movie. Like “Come Fly with Me” by Frank Sinatra, or even the Michael Buble version, I immediately think of the movie Catch Me If You Can with Leonardo DiCaprio. I’ve never actually come up with my own movie soundtrack, and now I kind of want to.

About the Author:

Find Lynn on Instagram @LynnPainterKirkle and Twitter @LAPainter!

And you can read the interview I did with her last month on my Lisa’s Looking Forward To post HERE.

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12 responses to “ARC Review: Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter

  1. I also adored this book, but I did understand Liz’s emotions. I felt it was valid to really miss her mom while she was experiencing such big milestones in her life. I am such a tragi-mom and cried whenever I missed something major with my kid, so maybe kids feel it too

    • Lisa Mandina

      Yeah, I totally get that it was valid. I just had trouble with some of the ways she handled it. But I know I’ve been lucky in a way that I still have my mom, so I’ve never understood that feeling I guess. And I have no kids myself, so I guess I missed out on that feeling like you have. lol. I still adored the book though. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Danielle Hammelef

    I love reading rom-coms too and this one is high on my TBR. I have a friend from high school that now works in the movie industry writing and creating movie sound tracks. He’s even won awards for his work. I consider him very lucky to have turned his passion for music into a career like this one.

    • Lisa Mandina

      What a cool job! It is great when you can do something you want as a career. Thanks for stopping by!

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