Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore
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. (Goodreads)
Marijke (I looked it up and I think it’s pronounced Ma-RYE-Kuh), track star and all-around popular girl, is in love with romance. She’s like Annie in Sleepless in Seattle. She doesn’t just want to fall in love. She wants to fall in love in a movie (see how I did that? I used a movie reference to talk about a girl who loves movies). Girl after my own heart. She’s been raised with parents living out the ideal love story and all she wants is a little lovey dovey perfection. And she wants her boyfriend–the guy every girl in school wants–to say those three little words to her.
Lily is the opposite of Marijke. She’s a wallflower. She’s the smart girl who’s invisible to virtually everyone, including the one guy she’s crushing on. It doesn’t really matter though. She wants nothing to do with love. She’s watched the endless parade of losers her mother brings home break her mom’s heart and shatter her romantic dreams. Lily has no desire to follow in her footsteps.
One night, Lily and Marijke, unlikely friends, stumble upon each other at a showing of Titanic at the local theater. Marijke is in tears over a fight with her boyfriend, Tommy, and she confides in Lily. In response to this, Lily shares her secret crush on Joe, the school’s reigning motocross stud. Together, in a moment of trust and pure craziness, they form a plan to stage romantic scenarios with Tommy and Joe, with scenes straight from the movies, and they hope to turn the tide of the current love lives.
What an adorable premise. Fiore is constantly referencing and quoting movies I love. And I liked the fact that Lily and Marijke develop a relationship based on this common goal. I struggled with Marijke’s boyfriend, Tommy, though. While he turns out to be a nice guy in the end, I thought he was a terrible boyfriend and I couldn’t understand how a girl with everything she had going for her would be so interested in him. In fact, I kept waiting to find out some deep, dark secret about him because I just didn’t trust that guy. But I still liked Marijke. She learns from the experiment, and she finds a balance between what she has and what she thinks she wants. As fas as Lily is concerned, I felt sad for her and for the life she has with a mother who constantly brought different men in and out of their lives. While their relationship is addressed, I felt it was too easily resolved because it seemed to me to be a much deeper problem than “hey, I shouldn’t pay more attention to guys than my kids.” The budding romance between Lily and Joe is cute, but the best relationship is the one between Marijke and Lily.
In the end, I had high hopes for this one and felt a little bit let down. It had some very cute moments, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The end was very sweet though and it felt like Fiore put her whole heart into it.
Crush Intensity: 3.75/5
Thank you to Net Galley and Walker Books for Young Readers for giving me an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.