This was me when I saw this book randomly popping out of timeline on Twitter. “A Holly Bourne book? WHERE? DUDE, GIVE ME THE BOOK ALREADY! WHAT DO I DO TO GET IT?” A mistake that my past self has made is to not prioritize Holly’s book. When she released her Normal series, there was probably something wrong with me. But when this one came out, there was a rush to it. You know, like that bit from It where Georgie hesitates first but then grabs the freakin boat anyway?
There was a bit of a drought between reading It Only Happens In The Movies and The Manifesto On How to Be Interesting, the latter I read back in 2015. Got sidetracked in 2016, because there was this monster in my head that felt that I was getting too old to relate to Holly’s books. Well, ladies and gents, that is all about to change. In a good world, romance is like the movies. *snorts* HAHAHAHA SURE. Whatever you say, buddy. Like that’s true. Like I can read 3 books a day. Sure.
Author: Holly Bourne
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Date Published: 1st of October 2017
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
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.
HOLD MY BEER. THIS BOOK IS LEGIT. Holly, I don’t know if you read reviews but just so you know, I love you. You broke my heart but thank you. I needed this book because it matched what I felt. Not physically, but emotionally. I may not be good at acting, involved with the drama club, or already had a love life for that matter. But Audrey speaks to my bitter soul. Girl has spunk, and she imperfectly gets me. Brb, crying like an idiot for a book that spoke to my soul.
Great. Now I have to use coherent sentences. I will do my best. Wish me luck.
So dear reader, do you know what only happens in the movies? Actually, if I really think about it hard enough, it also happens in those super cheesy romance novels. I know you’re thinking of an example right now, and don’t worry because I am not judging you. I have my fair share of those. But back to the main point. The only thing that happens in the movies is the exaggeration of action, emotion, and impact to make it look human, when it’s actually not. So where does this book fit in the context, then? And where the heck am I going with this?
In hindsight, those qualities are also contained within the pages of It Only Happens In The Movies. You might be thinking that this will be your typical contemporary romance read. In a way, because it does give you the feels. But at the same time, it hits you right in the face with the reality. That is the reason why I love this book. It is blunt, it describes the proper emotions in the right tone, and I grew to love it as the story progressed. It suddenly clings to you, like an accidental perfume spray. (I don’t know why I went with this comparison but I hope it made sense.) And you get why things are like this and that, similar to romance movies and dramas where you just love the direction it went into. Add in a writing style that figuratively glues your eyes on each and every page, and you got yourself in for a ride. But is it the same thing as your regular contemporary romance? Of course not. And if you’re a film buff like me, all of the movie references can make you die and fly to geek heaven. A joke, but still, it’s just a delight.
It’s the same for Audrey, our main character. In every flip of the page, she grows and grows comfortable in her own train of thought. *For one, I didn’t hate Audrey when the book started and that already guarantees A++ points. She blossoms (literally) into a character that one can learn from. Personally speaking, I love how her character was handled. There were a lot of moments where I just want to scream “Girl, how am I relating to you so much? You get me! I wish you were real!” She’s imperfect. She makes the tough decisions. She loves, but she realizes what’s important. She challenged the norm of misogynistic standpoints. And she also has a thing for the media. I honestly was not expecting to find myself in the story, but I did. Honestly, you go, girl. Just… high praise for you and what you believe in. Make your voice loud because you deserve to be heard. PREACH TO THE HIGH HEAVENS.
*Bianca’s note: I have a history with reading dialogue lead by a female MC that makes me want to rip their heads off. I am only taking precautions. If I like how they talk, then I know it’s good. Sorry not sorry, but it’s true in some cases. Like I know, yeah you go girl. But sometimes, “No girl. You don’t go. Sit down because you need be lectured.” Carry on, child.
I love that the focus was on Audrey and Audrey alone, but it dabbled with situations that need to be challenged, such as consent, and literally everything that the movies have sugarcoated for us. Why can’t guys just love girls for what they are? Not the “you’re not like other girls” crap. And when picking top kisses, why are there no LGBTQIA+ kisses besides Brokeback Mountain? Plus, do why does the movie end after the kissy stuff?
So to sum it all up: Yes, I love this book. Yes, you should read it as well. Yes, of course I recommend it. It is a must-read, and the contemporary rage on this one is off the flipping charts. Just pick it up and thank me later. Oh, and Holly Bourne too because she is just the best. She also deserves a “You go, girl!” shout out more than anyone else for conjuring books that speak loud and clear, powerful to bend the constructed wall of ridiculousness that is sexism.
Oh, and zombies…
(Know more about my rating system here.)
Surprise! I made a playlist in the spur of the moment. These songs honestly just remind me of Audrey. I hope you guys like it. It only has 10 tracks at the moment, so feel free to add more empowering songs that remind you of It Only Happens In The Movies.
Holly Bourne writes YA novels and blogs about feminist issues. Her favourite things to complain loudly about are: the stigma of mental health, women’s rights, and the under-appreciation of Keanu Reeves’ acting ability.
Holly’s first two books, Soulmates and The Manifesto on How to be Interesting, have been critically acclaimed and translated into six languages. The first book in the ‘Normal’ series, Am I Normal Yet?, has been chosen as a World Book Night book for 2016 and has inspired the formation of Spinster Clubs around the country.
Before becoming a full-time author, Holly was editor and relationship advisor for a charity website.
Connect with Holly!
Up for grabs! Win a copy of It Only Happens In The Movies + Holly Bourne badges. PH only giveway though so sorry international peeps.
Huge thanks to Erika from The Nocturnal Fey for letting me join this tour and for Usborne Publishing in sponsoring the tour.
My review is an honest opinion, and I reviewed this book wholeheartedly and unbiased.
Question Time: What other books by Holly Bourne have you read? What books that tackle cinematic tropes have you read? Does your love story resemble a movie? Pray, do tell.