Our selected read for today’s blog post is “Better Than the Movies” by Lynn Painter. This young adult novel is a charming blend of classic rom-com nostalgia and the ups and downs of modern high school life. I’ll be covering a detailed summary of the book to set the scene, followed by some engaging book club questions that promise to spark intriguing conversations. And, of course, I’ll highlight memorable quotes that capture the essence of this delightful read.
Better Than the Movies Summary
“Better Than the Movies” by Lynn Painter is such an enthralling read, chock-full of romantic comedy references that keep you hooked from start to finish. Set in a small town where everyone’s business is public knowledge, we meet Liz Buxbaum, a young woman whose head is filled with daydreams and rom-com fantasies. She has had her eyes set on Michael for as long as she can remember, but he’s been largely oblivious to her. Now that Michael has moved back to town, Liz sees this as a sign from the universe that they’re meant to be together, ideally starting with a magical prom date.
Here comes the twist: Wes Bennet, Liz’s annoying yet weirdly charming neighbor, becomes friends with Michael. Liz reluctantly teams up with Wes to scheme her way into Michael’s life, all while attempting to ignore how much she actually enjoys Wes’s company. Long gone are the days of pranks involving frogs and decapitated lawn gnomes; Liz starts seeing Wes in a new light and questions what she’s actually been looking for in love.
What unfolds is a story that doesn’t just tickle your romantic fantasies but also makes you rethink what love and happiness genuinely mean. Personally, I found it refreshing that Liz’s character grows in more ways than just her love life. She starts to understand not just who suits her, but also what she wants out of life, echoing a familiar struggle many of us experience.
It’s true, the book’s heavy reliance on rom-com tropes might not be everyone’s cup of tea, as some could find it somewhat predictable. But in my view, that’s exactly what makes it a heartwarming tribute to the genre. So if you’re in for a roller-coaster of emotions, questionable schemes, and a modern take on teenage love, “Better Than the Movies” should be your next pick.
Better Than the Movies Book Club Questions
Given that “Better Than the Movies” plays with so many interesting themes and character dynamics, there’s a lot to talk about. Here are some thought-provoking questions for your book club:
- How did you feel about Liz’s initial infatuation with Michael? Do you think her perceptions of love were realistic?
- Liz is heavily influenced by romantic comedies. How do you think media and culture shape our expectations of love?
- Wes and Liz have a complicated history. Do you believe childhood impressions or interactions should affect adult relationships? How does their past add depth to their present relationship?
- How do you feel about the portrayal of friendship in the book? Specifically, the friendship between Liz and Michael versus Liz and Wes?
- What did you think of Liz’s character development throughout the book? Did you feel it was solely tied to her romantic life or did you perceive other areas of growth?
- Do you agree with Liz’s final choice? What would you have done if you were in her shoes?
- The book makes several homages to classic romantic comedies. Did you find this endearing or distracting? What’s your stance on using pop culture references in literature?
- How does the setting, a small town where everyone knows everyone else, influence the characters’ actions and decisions?
- What do you think the book is trying to convey about the concept of ‘Happily Ever After’? How does it align or diverge from your own views?
- If you could change one thing about the story, what would it be and why?
Better Than the Movies Quotes
Here are some popular Batter Than the Movies Quotes as rated by users in Goodreads:
“Love is patient, love is kind, love means slowly losing your mind.” ― Lynn Painter, Better Than the Movies
“I did what I had to. All is fair in love and parking.” ― Lynn Painter, Better than the Movies
“When I’m around you, I kind of feel like I’m on drugs. Not that I do drugs. Unless you do drugs, in which case, I do them all the time. All of them.” ― Lynn Painter, Better than the Movies
“My inheritance was the knowledge that love is always in the air, always a possibility, and always worth it.” ― Lynn Painter, Better Than the Movies
“Please don’t ever become a stranger Whose laugh I could recognize anywhere—” ― Lynn Painter, Better Than the Movies
“I fell in love with teasing you in the second grade, when I first discovered that I could turn you cheeks pink with just a word. Then I fell in love with you.” ― Lynn Painter, Better than the Movies
“Music made everything better.” ― Lynn Painter, Better Than the Movies
“Sometimes we get so tied up in our idea of what we think we want that we miss out on the amazingness of what we could actually have.” ― Lynn Painter, Better than the Movies
“You look best when you’re you.” ― Lynn Painter, Better than the Movies
“So you think that two enemies—in the real world—can magically get over their differences and fall madly in love?” ― Lynn Painter, Better Than the Movies
“Charm and intrigue can only get you so far, Libby Loo. Those things always disappear, which is why you never, ever choose the bad boy.” ― Lynn Painter, Better than the Movies
In conclusion, “Better Than the Movies” serves as a delightful jaunt through the complexities of young love, friendship, and self-discovery, all wrapped up in a rom-com inspired package. Whether you’re in it for the homage to iconic romantic comedies or the modern take on teenage love and its many misadventures, this book delivers on multiple fronts. It’s the kind of story that prompts you to reflect on your own perceptions of love and happiness—something I find invaluable both personally and academically. While its reliance on rom-com tropes may not sit well with everyone, it’s this very element that makes it a standout tribute to the genre.