Audrey is over romance. Since her parents’ relationship imploded her mother’s been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn’t mean things are easy. Because real love isn’t like the movies…
The greatest love story ever told doesn’t feature kissing in the snow or racing to airports. It features pain and confusion and hope and wonder and a ban on cheesy clichés. Oh, and zombies… YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel.
Holly Bourne is the root of all evil. OK, I may be being a tiny bit dramatic, but I started reading It Only Happens In The Movies because I was expecting a wonderful, cinematic romance. It’s my own fault, really. Audrey is the most cynical girl around after her dad leaves her mum for a shiny new family. But when she meets Harry at the cinema, it seems like he could be the answer to all her problems. He’s funny, he’s charming, he flirts with anything that moves, and he helps Audrey put to bed her first disastrous relationship. It’s just like the movies isn’t it? *end scene* Except it isn’t And I now don’t like Holly Bourne because she’s mean and I want a sequel.
I actually don’t dislike Holly Bourne, she is, in fact, an incredible writer who has written one of the best books I’ve read this year. So much contemporary YA is the same and the there’s It Only Happens In The Movies which dares to be different, that doesn’t pander to movie stereotypes and YA stereotypes and I loved it all the more for it. I really hope Holly is planning a sequel to this novel, because never has a book deserves a sequel more and never have I been so desperate to read it.
Audrey is a brilliant MC. She’s funny, she’s cynical, she’s had a shit time recently with her parents breaking up and her mum being on edge and her first boyfriend Milo being a dingbat. She’s pushed all of her friends away without really meaning to and she’s just sick of everything. She’s even dropped her beloved drama studies. So when she starts work at a local cinema, and meets Harry, it’s the last thing she needs because Harry is a player. He flirts like some people breathe. He comes on really, really strongly, but it’s never off putting, because he somehow pulls it off without making himself look terrible. Harry convinces Audrey to star in his zombie b-movie and helps Audrey in her project to find out what people think is the best cinema kiss (Clueless, without a doubt. WITHOUT A DOUBT, OK.) and they become closer and it’s just adorable, okay? They’re adorable. I love how Audrey calls him on his shit and makes him actually work for her time, her attention. This isn’t love (or lust) at first sight. This is a relationship that has to be fought for all the time and I never realised how rewarding that could be to read. It’s all instalove and while I like instalove, this was better, this felt like more.
I wavered on how I felt about Harry. The teen me would have fell all over his feet, I’m sure, but my wise old head was nervous for Audrey. She’s been through so much and her mum is still going through so much and I just wanted to keep Audrey safe. But he was sincere and lovely and I’m just so damn angry at him now. I don’t want to be spoilery but I have sooooooo much to say. So much I want to get out and vent about.
The ending of this book actually broke my heart. It was perfect, but it broke my heart. In fact, a lot of things about this book broke my heart, first and foremost Audrey’s mother who I just felt so sad for. You go through your life thinking your husband is the one, yours forever and then he just ups and leaves and starts a new family and I just can’t imagine what that does to a person, but we saw a lot of it through Audrey’s mother. It wasn’t glossed over, it was real. It was raw. And it was heartbreaking.
I honestly cannot rave about this book enough. The bright yellow cover, filled with popcorn may promise a light-hearted read but believe me when I tell you this book is anything but. It Only Happens In The Movies deals with some difficult topics so, so well and I’m not even kidding when I say Audrey will stay in my heart for so long after this. I came to love her like she was a family member, her mother, too. I wanted to rage on her behalf about all the bad things and be there for her when she needed someone and when I closed this book I really felt like I’d left her behind, somehow. Holly Bourne you are a class act, a brilliant writer and I want to thank you immensely for this outstanding novel.