We all love a good romantic comedy – Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping, You’ve Got Mail. But what happens if your real life becomes inspiration for the next big romcom, and your IRL happily ever after turns into a thing of fiction? If the fictional you got everything the real you wanted, but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards?
Welcome to Chloe Sanderson’s world in Kerry Winfrey’s Not Like the Movies.
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.
As the sequel to Waiting for Tom Hanks, Not Like the Movies unabashedly gives readers the romantic tropes we all wish real life offered: opposite attraction, a road trip that ends in a hotel with only bed, an illness that can only be cured by your hot boss coming over and caring for you, a relationship where everyone knows you two are perfect together except for you.
However, the book goes beyond the tropes. It tackles emotionally charged issues such as parental – specifically maternal – abandonment and the trauma that it leaves behind, especially on relationships. We find that Chloe’s reluctance to have a healthy, successful relationship goes beyond not wanting to be “tied down;” it’s a fear of being rejected and heartbroken, a fear that she is all too familiar with. Kerry Winfrey doesn’t just neatly wrap up Chloe’s problems in one chapter; she allows the character to work through her issues and fears as the novel develops, and when Chloe finally gets her own ever after, it is one that is well-earned and feasible.
Fans of Waiting for Tom Hanks will be happy to see how Annie and Drew’s happily ever after played out, but the true star is Chloe and Nick’s love story. It’s filled with playful and hot banter, sizzling kisses, and a gentleness that never once borders on sap. Although I loved Tom Hanks’s Drew, I have to admit that I’m cheating on him with Nick. Nick Velez is the book boyfriend that all romance novels need: quiet but quick witted, reserved but open to those he trusts, and just the perfect amount of face scruff that makes you want beard burn in all the right places.
Plus, the man listens to Bon Iver and makes his own rhubarb jam. Marry me, Nick. Marry me NOW.
Not Like the Movies releases Tuesday, July 7th. Pre-order here!
Julie believes great books should be read more than once and prides herself on finding the "dirty part" in any romance novel under a minute. Loves red wine but loves it more when shared with friends. Has an (embarrassingly) extensive knowledge about all things Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl. Is currently curating the perfect playlists that ALWAYS include a song from one of the Twilight soundtracks.