Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 22, 2014
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks Bloomsbury!) || e-galley
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]
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. (from Goodreads)
Have you ever wished you could be the star of your very own romantic comedy? Have you ever imagined all these extravagant romantic gestures and winning one liners being a part of your day-to-day life? Have you ever wanted to get swept off your feet by your one true love? I know I have! (And I’m pretty lucky since it’s happened for me!)
Just Like the Movies appealed to my inner romantic who enjoys being swept off my feet. A contemporary about two girls who try to make movie magic happen in their real lives? YES PLEASE. This is yet another novel in the string of contemporaries I’ve been reading that is perfect for this warmer weather we’re currently experiencing. It’s light, it’s fun and it’s entertaining – all a recipe for a good beach read, if you ask me.
There are two narrators in this novel: Marijke & Lily. The girls are extremely different, and their paths would never have crossed save for a fateful incident at an old-time movie theater. I really liked that their differences were so pronounced! It made it easier to distinguish between them, and it felt even more like a movie unfolding in front of my eyes (“two very different girls are about to learn the meaning of friendship”). Their friendship was really great, because they pushed each other to get out of their comfort zones and embrace endless possibilities and because they were extremely supportive of each other.
Marijke is a hurdle track star, who happens to be dating one of the most crush-worthy boys at their high school. While it seems like everything in her life is perfect (lovey dovey parents, being part of a power couple, track star status), there’s actually a lot that’s not quite what it seems. Lily, on the other hand, is an introvert, constantly working on volunteer projects and school stuff as a “behind the scenes” girl. While she’s managed to succeed in her projects and at school, she’s rendered nearly invisible to the student body… which sucks when she has a crush on one of the coolest guys at school.
Of the two girls, I personally connected more with Lily. She was a pretty accurate embodiment of what I was like in high school – willing to work behind the scenes, but also wanting to be noticed at least a little. Her story (especially when it came to her crush Joe) was so fun to read! I liked seeing her ease out of that shell, thanks to some prodding from Marijke, and taking matters into her own hands. Even though she fell down (figuratively) more than once, it was still endearing (and totally movie-worthy) to see her get up again. I was definitely rooting for her to get a happy ending from the get go!
But really, one of the best things about Just Like the Movies is that it focuses more on the friendship between Marijke & Lily. Sure, they’re working towards a common goal of getting the boys they like/love to like/love them back, and that adds a romantic angle to everything! But what matters is that they form a friendship that develops into something neither of them can imagine their lives without – and I really liked that!
I laughed, I grinned, I swooned. Just Like the Movies had me daydreaming of my own romantic-moment-from-a-film come to life (and giggling with glee over the multiple references to some of my favorite films ever!). If you’re in the mood for a fluffy contemporary novel to enjoy, you should definitely give this one a shot!
An Author a (Mon)day is my sporadic feature where I ask authors a few questions about anything - themselves, their books and writing, to name a few. While it doesn't happen on a regular basis, you can be rest assured that it always happens on a Monday!
As part of the blog tour, I get to welcome the lovely Kelly Fiore onto the blog for a brief interview! Without further ado, let's welcome Kelly!
Kelly: Thanks so much for having me!
Alexa: Where did you get the idea for your novel?
Kelly: I was a really dramatic teenager. I'd watch movies like She's All That or Drives Me Crazy and see how the best friends would fall in love or next door neighbors would fall in love and I WANTED THAT. I would look at my guy friends and wonder, "Ooh, are they secretly in love with me?" (They were not, sadly.)
But that girl I was believed whole-heartedly in movie love, and I know I wasn't the only teen out there who thought that the movies had something - that if we had the same strategies and big romantic gestures to fall back on, that we could get that same love story to happen in our worlds.
Alexa: Did you have to do anything fun for research when writing the novel?
Kelly: Watched a LOT of movies - like, a LOT. Some of them were: Something Borrowed, all the Step Up movies, Center Stage, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Clueless, Easy A, French Kiss, The Vow, Dirty Dancing, Mean Girls, Twilight (x4), He's Just Not That Into You, Just Go With It, 50 First Dates, Pretty In Pink and Footloose.
Alexa: How does it feel to be a published author?
Kelly: Good. Exciting - it's always exciting, actually. That's one thing that never changes.
Alexa: Let's talk about how you first got into writing. Did you always write or want to be a writer? Or was it something that you just stumbled across at some point?
Kelly: I've always been a "writer" in the sense that I've always been writing. I wrote stories in elementary school and a play in high school. I've written poetry since I could write at all and I even have a master's degree in it (which, as you can imagine, doesn't have a whole lot of us). That's the thing about writing - if you want to do it and you do it, you're a writer. It's just what you do with that writing that defines you as an author or a poet or an artist.
Alexa: What's up next for you in terms of writing? Reading?
Kelly: I have two books coming out with Harper Teen - The People Vs. Cecelia Price in 2015 and another book in 2016. I plan on continuing to write and publish YA romance as well and I'm really hoping to move into New Adult as well.
As for reading, I can't wait for the new Cora Carmack and Jay Crownover books. I just finished reading a handful of great YA books, too, including Boy Toy by Barry Lyga.
Alexa: Hooray for summer! What's your favorite thing about this season?
Kelly: Peaches. And corn. But mostly peaches :)
Alexa: Mmm, peaches. And yay! Thanks for paying the blog a visit, Kelly. It was a pleasure to interview you, and I'm looking forward to more of your books. As for you, dear readers, go and grab a copy of Kelly's books!