10 Books Like Better Than The Movies

Books Like Better Than The Movies

“Better Than the Movies” by Lynn Painter is a perfect blend of humor, heartfelt moments, and the magic of love stories that feel like they belong on the big screen. 

For those who’ve fallen for its charm and are on the hunt for similar tales of first loves, unexpected romances, and the journey of self-discovery, there are many more options.

This blog post offers a handpicked list of novels that echo the warmth, laughter, and sometimes the bittersweet twists of Better Than The Movies. 

Let’s check them out. 

Books Like Better Than The Movies

1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

This novel follows Lara Jean Song Covey, a high school junior who writes secret love letters to her crushes but never intends to send them. When the letters are accidentally mailed out, her love life goes from imaginary to out of control, as she navigates the fallout with humor, grace, and a fake relationship that might just turn into something real. 

Jenny Han’s storytelling is both sweet and sincere, capturing the complexities of teenage love and family dynamics.

Major Similarities: 

Both “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” and “Better Than the Movies” feature high school protagonists dealing with the chaos of their romantic lives, the power of old crushes, and the unexpected turns that lead to real love.

They share a light-hearted tone, a focus on family dynamics, and the theme of love being more complicated—and rewarding—than it seems in movies or books.

2. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

This novel centers on Simon Spier, a not-so-openly gay sixteen-year-old, who prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. 

Now, Simon must step out of his comfort zone before he’s outed against his will, or worse, the part of himself that he hasn’t come to terms with will be. It’s a heartfelt story about identity, love, and friendship.

Major Similarities: 

“Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” and “Better Than the Movies” both explore themes of love and self-discovery with a charming and humorous tone. 

The protagonists in both stories navigate the complexities of high school relationships, misunderstandings, and the journey to understanding themselves better, all while dealing with the pressures of their imminent futures.

3. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

This story follows Molly Peskin-Suso, who knows all about unrequited love. She’s lived through it twenty-six times. When her twin sister Cassie falls in love at first sight with a girl, Molly starts to feel left behind. 

Enter a cute, hipster boy, a flirtation with her coworker, and Molly must navigate the confusing terrain of new love while balancing the dynamics of her changing family and friendships.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “Better Than the Movies,” “The Upside of Unrequited” deals with the theme of young love and the idea that reality may not always match our expectations, but it can surprise us in the best ways. 

Both novels feature relatable protagonists who embark on journeys of self-discovery and growth, with a significant focus on familial and friendship bonds, humor, and the awkward yet beautiful moments that define teenage years.

4. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Pepper and Jack’s spat over a stolen grilled cheese recipe escalates into a viral Twitter war, while they unknowingly start falling for each other on an anonymous chat app. “Tweet Cute” is a modern rom-com that explores themes of identity, family expectations, and the complexities of online personas versus real-life connections. 

Emma Lord delivers a story that is both timely and timeless, filled with witty banter and heartwarming moments.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Tweet Cute” and “Better Than the Movies” involve protagonists who find themselves in unexpected romantic entanglements that challenge their initial perceptions. The use of technology and social media as a plot device in “Tweet Cute” parallels the modern romantic challenges faced in “Better Than the Movies.” 

Each story captures the essence of contemporary teenage romance, complete with humor, growth, and the realization that love can be found in unexpected places.

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life. As she starts college, she’s struggling to let go of her fandom and start writing her own stories. 

“Fangirl” is about Cath’s journey of self-discovery, her struggles with change, her love for writing, and potentially finding love in real life. It’s a story filled with humor, warmth, and the realities of growing up.

Major Similarities: 

“Fangirl” and “Better Than the Movies” share a deep love for the stories that shape us, whether they be the romantic tales of our favorite movies or the fanfiction worlds we immerse ourselves in. 

Both novels feature protagonists who must navigate the challenges of new chapters in their lives, the pressures of expectations, and the thrilling, sometimes daunting prospect of first love. 

The stories celebrate the messiness of life and love, emphasizing that the path to happiness is often unpredictable and filled with personal growth.

6. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she decides to save face by asking a stranger to be her fill-in boyfriend for the night. 

The plan works perfectly until this fake relationship starts feeling all too real. Kasie West delivers a sweet, light-hearted tale about unexpected love, the pressures of high school reputation, and the importance of being true to oneself.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Better Than the Movies,” “The Fill-In Boyfriend” focuses on a protagonist navigating the complexities of high school relationships and the blurred lines between pretense and reality. 

Both novels play with the theme of unexpected romance blossoming from a contrived situation, highlighting the journey of self-discovery and the realization that true connections are built on honesty and vulnerability.

7. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Samantha Reed has watched the large, chaotic Garrett family from her window for years, envying their loud, loving life so different from her own. When she finally meets one of the sons, Jase Garrett, she is quickly drawn into their whirlwind of a world. 

As she falls for Jase, she confronts truths about her family and has to make tough decisions about loyalty, love, and what really makes a family.

Major Similarities:

“My Life Next Door” and “Better Than the Movies” both explore the theme of first love with a backdrop of family dynamics and the challenges that come with it. 

Both novels tackle the notion that love and family can be messy but ultimately rewarding. The stories are imbued with warmth, humor, and the bittersweet moments that define growing up.

8. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

While doodling in her desk during class, Lily Abbott discovers that someone has continued her lyrics on the desk, kicking off a pen-pal romance with a mysterious student. 

As Lily tries to figure out the identity of her secret admirer, she navigates friendships, family, and the possibility that love might be closer than she thinks. Kasie West crafts a sweet story about finding common ground in unexpected places.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “Better Than the Movies,” “P.S. I Like You” features a protagonist who discovers love in an unexpected manner, emphasizing the theme of hidden connections and the surprise element in romance. 

Both books celebrate the quirky, awkward moments of teenage love and the joy of finding someone who understands you on a deeper level.

9. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Bailey “Mink” Rydell moves to California to live with her dad and happens to live in the same town as her online friend, Alex, whom she has never met but is secretly in love with. 

Opting not to tell Alex she’s moved, Bailey tries to find him through clues in his messages. Meanwhile, she gets off on the wrong foot with Porter Roth, a local boy, not realizing he might just be Alex. 

The novel is a modern nod to “You’ve Got Mail,” filled with humor, love, and the complexities of online and offline relationships.

Major Similarities: 

“Alex, Approximately” and “Better Than the Movies” share the theme of unexpected romance and the complexities of navigating relationships in the digital age. 

Both novels feature protagonists who find themselves in complicated romantic scenarios that challenge their expectations and lead them to discover love in surprising ways.

10. This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

When an email goes to the wrong person, Ellie O’Neill starts an anonymous correspondence with a stranger who turns out to be teen movie star, Graham Larkin. 

As they continue to exchange emails, their connection grows, leading Graham to shoot his next film in Ellie’s small town. What follows is a sweet story of two people from different worlds finding each other and exploring what happiness truly means.

Major Similarities: 

Both “This Is What Happy Looks Like” and “Better Than the Movies” explore the idea of love emerging from unexpected circumstances, with protagonists who must navigate the gap between their public personas and private selves. 

These novels adeptly combine the themes of identity, love, and the search for happiness, all while dealing with the challenges of growing up and the influence of external expectations.

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