This is the second Holly Bourne book I’ve read, and boy, does she know how to write accurate characters.
It Only Happens In The Movies follows Audrey, who doesn’t believe in love at first sight and hates romance movies after the unrealistic expectations they’ve given her for relationships. Her parents marriage has fallen apart – leaving her mum worse for wear and choosing alcohol to cope -, her brother is AWOL at university, and she’s distanced herself from her friends. The only thing getting her through the weeks is her new job at independent cinema chain Flicker. Colleague Harry ticks all the ‘Bad Boy’ boxes, and is every bit the movie cliche. Despite being warned off, Audrey ends up falling for him. But will she get her happily ever after?
Despite her sometimes annoying choices (I rolled my eyes when she got with Harry), Audrey was a brilliant character. She juggled school work, looking after her mum and trying to help them save their house all on her own, and then dealt with it by hiding behind back-to-back shifts at Flicker. Her anger issues were brilliantly written, and you could see her feelings being bottled before exploding into a rage or tears. The book also dealt with the issue of infidelity; Audrey’s father has left the family in a lurch after walking out on them, and now lives with his new girlfriend and their children. It’s sad to see her going between the houses like a messenger, and you understand why she has these anger issues with the way her dad treats her.
The other characters weren’t too bad (although I couldn’t STAND Harry by the end). LouLou was a sweetheart, as were Audrey’s friends. They all looked out for her in their own ways; whether that was giving her a certain shift or just going for coffee, each one only wanted the best for Audrey. Rosie, on the other hand, was a total cow and I wanted to slap her. Condescending, rude, and downright spiteful for no reason, she reminded me of girls in secondary school that I would have avoided like the plague. It’s fair to say that I didn’t like her!
It Only Happens In The Movies was a quick contemporary read for me, and definitely reminded me of all those romantic movie tropes that I hate! Thanks to Audrey’s hatred of them too, it felt more fun to read this book knowing the tropes would be avoided!
Final thought: The movies are fake, it’s what goes on behind-the-scenes that is real. 4/5