Book Review: Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter


Liz Buxbaum has always known that Wes Bennett was not boyfriend material. You would think that her next-door neighbor would be a prince candidate for her romantic comedy fantasies, but Wes has only proven himself to be a pain in the butt, ever since they were little. Wes was the kid who put a frog in her Barbie Dreamhouse, the monster who hid a lawn gnome’s severed head in her little homemade neighbourhood book exchange.

Flash forward ten years from the Great Gnome Decapitation. It’s Liz’s senior year, a time meant to be rife with milestones perfect for any big screen, and she needs Wes’s help. See, Liz’s forever crush, Michael, has just moved back to town, and—horribly, annoyingly—he’s hitting it off with Wes. Meaning that if Liz wants Michael to finally notice her, and hopefully be her prom date, she needs Wes. He’s her in.

But as Liz and Wes scheme to get Liz her magical prom moment, she’s shocked to discover that she actually likes being around Wes. And as they continue to grow closer, she must reexamine everything she thought she knew about love—and rethink her own perception of what Happily Ever After should really look like.


I did not expect to love Better Than the Movies as much as I did. It was genuinely one of my favourite reads of 2022. I always forget just how much I love contemporary romances until I read one and then they are all I want to read for a while. 

There are slight spoilers in this review, but nothing that isn’t very obvious either from the cover or the reader having general romance trope knowledge. 

I raced through Better Than the Movies and it was honestly such a perfect ‘I don’t know what I feel like reading so I want something easy’ type of book. Better Than the Movies has become my go-to romance recommendation. It’s one of the best I’ve ever read, and I’m not exaggerating. 

Liz was such a great character, I feel like she’s very relatable. Who didn’t completely change their personality as a teen to impress the person you fancy? She was definitely flawed, but that’s what made her so interesting. I especially loved that she made mood and event-inspired playlists and had a love for film music – this is pretty much me. 

I also really loved Wes, he was my favourite character. You can tell instantly how much he cares for Liz and the fact that he tries to help her get with Michael is just too much. He’s such a good guy and a massive goofball, which made me love him even more. 

Liz and Wes are now actually one of my favourite ‘ships’ ever. I mean he sat on her porch and listened to her play piano. How freaking cute is that? This was the moment that really sold this book to me. 

It was obvious from the start where this was going and I’m not mad about it. The chemistry between Liz and Wes was off the charts and I just loved them so much.

This is definitely the type of review where I loved the book so much that I don’t actually know what to say about it. Why is it so much easier to write a bad review? 

In a surprising turn of events Better Than the Movies has become one of my favourite books of all time. It was in my top five of 2022 and it’s definitely my favourite contemporary romance. I can see myself re-reading this at some point in the future, I may actually buy a physical copy.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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Like this post? Why not read this one too: Graphic Novel ARC review: Dune by Lilah Sturges


  1. Ahh this book sounds like such a great comfort read! It’s been on my TBR for a little while now – so I might have to read it!

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