Review: It Only Happens in the Movies

Audrey is over romance. While dealing with her parents’ contentious divorce, a breakup of her own, and shifting friendship dynamics, she has every reason to feel cynical. But then she meets Harry, her fellow coworker at the local cinema.

He’s brash, impulsive, and a major flirt. And even though Audrey tries to resist, she finds herself falling for his charms. But in this funny, insightful, and ultimately empowering novel, love—and life—isn’t what it’s like in the movies.

First of all, I have to say I’m glad this book ended the way it did. If it had ended the way I thought it was going to, I would have thrown the book out the window. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Audrey was a character I didn’t relate to, but could understand her feelings when it came to the cynicism of romance. I’m not quite as cynical as she is at the start of this book, but I’ve had my moments. She was a character you rooted for, even if you weren’t necessarily rooting for her to get the guy (because he’s kind of a butthead). When she’s given an assignment for a project in her media studies class, she chooses to explore how romance films are unhelpful to love in real life, and I was all about it! 

The exploration of romance movies was one of my favorite aspects of this book, as was the author’s placement of looking at them from a feminist aspect. Audrey ends up making so many good points about what we accept and adore in romance films that would actually be crossing the lines if these things happened in real life. I love this book for that! Don’t get me wrong, I love rom-com movies, but you have to admit that some of them can be problematic. Another aspect I loved of this book was the side-plot of Audrey getting cast in Harry’s zombie-film (not a fan of zombie films, but the filmmaking process). As a former video production student, I loved the movie-making scenes! The fact that Audrey and Harry work in a movie theater is just icing on the cake.

As for the other characters, everyone but LouLou, Leroy, and Audrey’s group of girl-friends had problems. I won’t go into details, but I didn’t like Harry at all, aside from his passion for making films, because he was the typical playboy and all that. However, I didn’t despise him as much as Audrey’s father and step-mother. I’m so disappointed that Audrey didn’t end up hitting either of them when she finally confronted them about her dad leaving her mother for another woman. I was so pent up with anger for her in that moment that I wanted to jump in the book and do it myself – they deserved it.

What I wasn’t a fan of was how many times sex was brought up in the book. I understand it was about Audrey’s insecurities about it and Harry being a playboy, but at the same time I’m not here for that aspect of any book. It wasn’t graphic, at least, so there’s that, but it wasn’t a fully ‘closed-door’ situation either. Oh well, it is what it is and I just tend to skim those parts because I don’t need or want to read that kind of stuff. And at least it wasn’t what the entire book was focused on.


This book brought on a lot of feelings, and not the kind that gives you a cavity. But it’s in a good way (other than the dealings with Audrey’s parental issues). I laughed, got angry, and even scared at one point in the book, so I’d say that really says a lot for the story and writing. I actually didn’t think I’d rate this book more than a 3-star at first, but reflecting on the story and writing this review made me realize I did enjoy it more than I thought.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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