It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne 

 January 28, 2023

By  BookishBearx

The past week I’ve read a lot and I’ve got through quite a few books. The last one that I finished was It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne. If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ll know that I did a little ebook haul at the beginning of lockdown and that included a lot of her books. After reading The Places That I’ve Cried in Public, I was quite interested to read more of her work! So here I am, telling you about another of her books!

It Only Happens in the Movies was first published in October 2017. It spans 410 pages, in paper back format and was published by Usborne Publishing. Like I usually do, I’ll copy the synopsis below from the book’s Goodreads page, so you can get an idea of the plot and see if maybe it is something that interests you!

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 as 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 cliches. Oh, and zombies… YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel.


So, in this book we follow Audrey as she is recovering from her family breaking up and also her boyfriend leaving her. After everything she has seen and experienced with relationships, she has lost faith in them a little and swears off dating. Her brother has gone off to university and she is left to look after her mum, who is devastated by losing her husband. She is struggling mentally, drinking a lot and breaking down. Audrey is struggling to cope, she takes a job at the independent cinema, Flicker to get her out of the house. It is here that she meets Harry. He is everything she swears she never wanted in a guy. But despite everything, she cannot help falling in love with him, and he with her. But it isn’t an easy relationship. They have to deal with insecurities, jealousy and learning how to be honest with themselves and each other.

I’m just going to start off by saying, can we have a loud round of applause for a book that actually portrays relationships and sex realistically? For like the first time ever. We’ve finally got a YA book that doesn’t over exaggerate, setup false hope and unrealistic expectations for what love is, what it’s like to lose your virginity and that it’s not always rainbows, sunshine and cheesy happy endings. I think this is so important. I’ve seen so many books that portray sex as this completely effortless thing that doesn’t take work or mutual understanding to be good for both parties. I’ve read so many books where despite all the bad stuff and the cheating they still manage to have a happy ending with no loss of trust or insecurity and doubt. And let me tell you, that ain’t real. But Holly really did us a service and made a book that is so damn real, and I think the younger teen audience will really benefit from that!

I don’t think I need to say more. I loved this book! It was fun, emotional, sad and funny. It was all that life should be. The character growth that Holly created throughout the book was amazing and so gratifying to read. Not just Audrey the main character, who learns so much and actually takes on board the lessons her life teaches her, but also her mum, her brother, Harry they all grow throughout the books. They realise their mistakes and flaws and change their behaviour. They grow. I love seeing that in books. It brings an amazing purpose to the storyline so that you grow so much more attached to the story and how it pans out for the characters.

I loved the excerpts of Audrey’s film studies essay at the beginning of each chapter as well. I feel like it really gave us a window into Audrey’s head and what she was learning and feeling from everything that was happening in her life. It enabled us to see more clearly, how her emotions leaked from anger, to sadness and to growth and learning. It added a really nice dimension to the book. It complements the plot in such a lovely and effective way.

All in all, as per usual, Holly Bourne has written an amazing tool for young people. It’s a fun and easy to love book. But we can learn so much from it. Especially as a young person, growing up and our first relationships are scary and confusing times and a lot of films and books portray that time as something that it’s not. I think young teens would definitely benefit from reading this and some of us older people too! I couldn’t recommend it enough!

Star Rating /5


Subscribe to our newsletter now!