Book Review: Not Like The Movies by Kerry Winfrey

If you are looking for a book to escape into, Kerry Winfrey’s fun, frustrating, and delightful novel Not Like The Movies is exactly what you need right now.

I received an advance copy of the book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.  All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.

The Book

Book Review: Not Like The Movies by Kerry WinfreyNot Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on July 7, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Romantic Comedy, Women
Pages: 320
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What happens when your life is a rom-com . . . but you don't even believe in true love?

Chloe Sanderson is an optimist, and not because her life is easy. As the sole caregiver for her father, who has early-onset Alzheimer's, she's pretty much responsible for everything. She has no time--or interest--in getting swept up in some dazzling romance. Not like her best friend, Annie, who literally wrote a rom-com that's about to premiere in theaters across America . . . and happens to be inspired by Chloe and her cute but no-nonsense boss, Nick Velez.

As the buzz for the movie grows, Chloe reads one too many listicles about why Nick is the perfect man, and now she can't see him as anything but Reason #4: The scruffy-bearded hunk who's always there when you need him. But unlike the romance Annie has written for them, Chloe isn't so sure her own story will end in a happily-ever-after.

four-stars

My Take

I absolutely love rom-com movies, and Not Like The Movies totally feeds my need, only in book form!

It’s funny, quirky, has moments that are both heartwarming and delightfully cringeworthy. Chloe is the perfect protagonist – sunny, colorful, constantly positive, drowns her emotions in baking pies. She also absolutely doesn’t believe that life is like the romantic comedies her best friend Annie adores. Even though, when you look at it, and when she admits it, her life kind of is. As my teen would say, this book is meta.

Of course, like any great rom-com, she also self sabotages the relationship constantly. There is an obvious attraction between Chloe and Nick. But Nick is her boss, and she can’t risk their work relationship (or friendship). She sees her first priority as taking care of her dad, and that includes paying for his nursing home.

With all the tension dripping from them both, I wanted to shake Chloe and have her pull it together. (But that would make for a short book!)

Also worth mentioning: while this IS a romance book, and Chloe has definite ideas about keeping things easy and on a physical level, this is actually a pretty clean book – no steamy love scenes here.

All the relationship self-sabotage and the taking on to much/never asking for help bit could become annoying. Fortunately, we get enough backstory to learn that Chloe was put in a position of responsibility at an early age. Between that and her mother’s abandonment, it’s easier to understand where she is coming from and her unwillingness to lean on others. Her sunny, colorful persona is armor against disappointment and any possible hurt.

Like any great rom-com, there is a supporting cast of quirky and fun characters. Her flaky brother Milo provides frustration. Her unreliable co-worker Tyler and the ever-present coffee shop client, Gary offer more levity. As for Mikey Danger – I think we all know a guy like him, and what he is is the polar opposite of Nick.

Honestly, if anything annoyed me about the book, it was Annie, her movie, and her obliviousness to how it was affecting Chloe AND Nick.

I have not read Winfrey’s first book Waiting For Tom Hanks. While Not Like The Movies is a sequel, it works well as a stand-alone. There aren’t any heavy hints or massive downloads of backstory. Winfrey deftly offers passing references of how friend Annie’s relationship with her now-fiance developed, but they don’t detract from or slow down the story. All in all, NOT LIKE THE MOVIES was a fun book and the perfect escape.

four-stars

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