Saturday, 6 January 2018

It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

Title: It Only Happens in the Movies
Author: Holly Bourne
Published by: Usborne
Publication date: 1st October 2017
Pages: 416
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift.

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 clich├ęs. Oh, and zombies... 

It's no secret that I wasn't around much in the latter half of 2017. I took a blogging break, and I failed my Goodreads challenge for the first time ever, reading only 28 books when my goal was 40. It Only Happens in the Movies is a book I've been consistently excited about since its publication was announced, but even though I received it for my birthday at the end of October, it was the end of December by the time I got round to reading it: one of three books I read between then and July... shock horror.

Long-term readers will know that Holly Bourne is one of my favourite writers, though, so if anyone could chisel through my work-induced exhaustion and reading slump, it would be her. I fell in love with Bourne's funny and feminist Spinster Club trilogy, but I was excited to read her first YA standalone since the trilogy's sad end. If you're expecting the same level of British grit and humour neatly wrapped up in feminist discussion and spot-on teenage dialogue as seen in Bourne's other books, you won't be disappointed. Our heroine, Audrey (yes, named after Audrey Hepburn) is doing Media Studies at A Level (ayyy, been there) and focusing her coursework on why love is never like the movies.

The start of most chapters is a short snippet of Audrey's essay. I usually hate additions like this - I want the main plot, not something that's going to slow it down - but it worked well and I found the length was perfect for me. Plus, y'know, her essay was genuinely interesting to me and if it was available in full I would 100% read and love it. The bits we did see made so many brilliant points about romance in film, as well as points about gender, expectation, and society as a whole. Audrey would get along well with Lottie from the Spinster Club.

I also enjoyed Harry and his work-in-progress zombie film, and the fact that his and Audrey's main interests were similar in that they could bounce ideas off each other, but different enough that they had space to do their own thing.

There's a reason she's one of the UK's most popular YA authors... once again, Holly Bourne has smashed it.


  1. I can't believe I still haven't read this! I MUST. I adore Holly's novels!

  2. Hey Amber! I'm ashamed to admit that I still haven't read a Holly Bourne book even though I know I would absolutely devour them whole. I mean realistic, feminist, contemporaries? Those are my absolute favourites and as a hopeless romantic yet complete skeptic, this sounds completely up my ally. Thanks for putting it on my radar. Maybe reading Holly Bourne books will have to be one of my 2018 goals? Great review!

    - Sunny @ A Sunny Spot