“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…”
Well what can I say? This was probably my most anticipated book of the year and Holly Bourne is my favourite author so there was definitely a lot to live up to! I was counting down the days until publication day, but managed to grab an early copy from her London Piccadilly book launch last week (which was so fun and I got the chance to meet so many other book bloggers!) and devoured It Only Happens In The Movies in one sitting. It exceeded my expectations (which is impressive in itself because I was fangirling about the book so much!), and it is definitely up there at the top for one of my favourite books this year!
I’m not usually a huge fan of romance novels, so although I was definitely looking forward to the release of this book, I was a little apprehensive about reading it because I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as her other books, especially the Spinster Series. However, although the romance plays a large part in the plot of the book, I found it particularly interesting to read because it explored the relationship between Audrey and Harry, both of whom have separate ‘family issues’ and other ‘problems’ in their lives, so it was fascinating to read the effect this had when they both got together. When 2 people like this decide to get together, it doesn’t always make a perfectly happy and healthy relationship, so to explore this issue which is often not written about, made a nice (though inevitably heartbreaking) read.
Having Audrey’s family as a main aspect of the book also made It Only Happens In The Movies a slightly different read to other YA books. Family is an integral part in our everyday lives, so to see the effect that this had on Audrey and her life, was a powerful thing to read about.
All of Holly’s books always draw on important issues that are often ignored and neglected in the media etc, so it was fantastic to read such an empowering book which addresses the problems and unrealistic expectations that films have. This was carried out throughout the whole novel as Audrey decides to do a media project on it, and it got me thinking (as did what Holly said at the Piccadilly event) how subtly messages of unhealthy and controlling relationships are broadcast and romanticised in the media. This book of course had all the fun and silly aspects of a relationship but it was great to highlight the problems that it can cause too – I’ll never watch romance films in the same way now!
Again, I really loved this book and was hooked on reading it till the very end, and managed to read it all in one sitting. If you’re looking for a YA contemporary novel that’s a little bit different, and includes family, messed up relationships and feminist rants – and surprises that you might not initially expect – this one’s for you!