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Better Than the Movies

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In BETTER THAN THE MOVIES, Liz Buxbaum is hoping to find romance with her old crush, Michael, during senior year.

For instance, there are many classic tropes at play: enemies-to-lovers, friends-to-lovers, boy-next-door, fake relationship, kissing in the rain, huge misunderstanding, etc. I knew he wanted to hear all the details, like how long it had taken me to remove the tape or the fact that I’d broken two freshly manicured nails, but I wasn’t about to give that aggravator the satisfaction. Liz and Wes were truly the stars of this one, their bickering and their affection for each other moved the story forward and I was always so curious to know where their story would go. Not going to lie, I did a little happy dance in my kitchen when I saw the deputy slide that ticket underneath Wes’s windshield wiper. All the neighborhood kids played kickball in the street for hours that night, and the adults even joined us for a game.Brand names mentioned include Barbie, Burger King, Cheesecake Factory, Chucks (Converse), Diet Coke, Gap, Google, and McDonald's.

The way that Painter builds the tension is excellent, and she knows exactly when to release it so it feels earned.However, she can’t seem to find a way to get to him; that’s why she comes up with a plan to win his heart and get him to ask her out for prom.

Liz also does not let the rumors about Michael having feelings for apparent mean girl Laney discourage her—Liz has despised Laney ever since grade school for Laney’s cruelty. I worked to give him my top-shelf smile, even though I was dying over the fact that Wes had screwed up my meet-cute.

Wrong Number, The Do-Over, Betting on You, and Nothing Like the Movies, as well as being a regular contributor to the Omaha World-Herald. One of the things I liked about Wes was that he saw Liz for exactly who she was and didn’t think she needed to change anything. This is important and I wish the description had mentioned it: Liz's mom died in a car accident when she was in the fifth grade.

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