Publication Date: July 22nd 2014
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
A Young Adult Novel
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson.
Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend.
While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much in common; but, after a coincidental meeting at the movie theater, Lily gets an idea – why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they set up their perfect romantic situations, just in time for their senior prom, using movie techniques?
Once the girls come up with the perfect plans, they commit themselves to being secret cohorts and, just like in the movies, drama ensues.
*An advanced readers copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*
*This review first appeared on Me, My Shelf, and I*
Who has never wished that their live could be just like the movies? I know I have at certain points and time. And Kellie Fiore captured that general feeling of wishing to have a love life that sparks and kindles just like how it does in movies. With two girls from opposite ends of the high school spectrum coming together to recreate scenes from classic 80s movies in order to get the boys they like to notice them and appreciate them, my smile couldn't have gotten any wider while reading. It was cute. It was inventive. And Just Like the Movies practically plays out like a movie, a chick flick of YA novels, with all of its cliches, humor, and blooming friendship & love, and is definitely a summer read if I have ever seen one.
Marijke and Lily, in their senior year of high school, run into some problems of their own. Marijke, the popular track star with the boyfriend in a band, feels under appreciated, like she is fending off vixens after his attention, and lacking an "I love you" after a year of dating. Lily on the other hand, is invisible not only to the student population, but to the boy she has been crushing on for over two years. After meeting in the movie theaters, Marijke and Lily create operation-just-like-the-movies, staging reenactments from scenes of famous movies in order to get the people they like the most to finally notice and love them back.
The two girls had characteristics that I could relate to on a personal level, and I think that both Marijke and Lily has something in them that many girls can relate to whether it be a relationship that seemed one-sided, trying to get closer to that special someone who didn't even know you existed, the jealousy, and just wishing that live was as simple as the movies or even just having relationships work out just like how they do in the movies. But the girls also have moments where they really shine, where they break the boundaries of the words on the page and they just feel so real, and my favorites would have to be when Marijke is running on the track and when Lily is with her little brother.
Personally, I disliked Marijke's boyfriend, Tommy, and failed to see the interesting qualities that she found in him, and what she did like about him failed to really bring his character to life. I understand Marijke's frustration with her boyfriend and the reasons for some of her jealous accusations, but overall I found that her boyfriend was not worth fighting for especially since for more than half the book she is wavering about how trustworthy he is rather than talking about their problems and how to fix their relationship. But, on a happier note, I absolutely loved the boy that Lily was pawning after. Now his character, I felt, was much more developed and just fun to watch Lily learn and put into practice the tidbits that Marijke had given her on how to get the guy to finally notice her. And even Marijke and Lily's relationship was the real shining relationship in this book, and how an unexpected friendship can make all the difference.