Review | It Only Happens in the Movies: The Queen of Contemporary Slays Again

It Only Happens in the Movies is the new book by Holly Bourne, which is one of my favourite contemporary authors and this book did not disappoint at all!

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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.

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There are a few things you can expect from a Holly Bourne book: feminism, realistic and amazing characters, great friendships and a bit of romance. And this book had it all, and on top of that movies, so many movies! Throughout the book many romantic tropes are mentioned and discussed, and if you watch romantic movies sometimes, I am sure you will see them with different eyes next time you watch one.

“The only love affair I needed to invest in right now was one with myself. Spend some time with me. Figuring out myself and why I picked the relationships I did. I was holding out my heart to me. Because I’d realised I was the only person who could give me a happily-ever-after.”

Audrey, the main character, doesn’t want romance anymore and thinks romantic movies are unrealistic and dangerous. I loved reading about a character that for once doesn’t want romance, because that’s quite difficult to find in YA contemporaries. I thought Audrey was so realistic. She is intelligent, values feminism and how women are portrayed in movies, and she doesn’t let her opinions be silenced. She also isn’t perfect: she’s mean at times, she does some questionable things, but all of that just adds to my love for Holly Bourne’s writing: her characters are almost real. And I wish dearly I could be friends with them.

This book is so important! Not just because of the messages in feminism, but also because it doesn’t stay clear of things that are usually omitted in YA fiction: about getting your period, about love, about losing your virginity, about sex, etc. Beside this, all the characters are amazing and realistic, there are plenty of funny moments, and it doesn’t omit the uglier parts of life. And love. Despite Audrey not wanting love, there is a romantic storyline. And it is amazingly written: not too cheesy, not too cliché. Holly Bourne takes a trope and turns it into something entirely new.

“I AM like other girls, Harry. Don’t misinterpret my hatred of romance as some kooky, laid-back, manic pixie NONSENSE. I am DAMAGED. I am not CUTE. I am emotionally-fucking-traumatised right now, okay? I am screaming on the inside. I am too angry and messed up to contain all the stuff girls spend every day containing. That’s why I seem different. That is NOT sexy.”

I am giving this book five stars because once again Holly Bourne has shown what an amazing author she is. I like YA contemporary and I read quite a bit of it, but Holly Bourne is by far my favourite YA contemporary author. This book is realistic, important, fun, feminist and above all relatable. 

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