PH Blog Tour: It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne [Review + PH Giveaway]

Only happens in the moviesTitle: It Only Happens in the Movies
Author: Holly Bourne
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Release Date: October 1st 2017


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

* Buy Links *

AmazonKobo | iBooks | Book Depository | Waterstones
Local stores National Bookstore and FullyBooked also carry the book at their outlets.


Disclaimer: I partnered with Usborne Publishing in organizing a PH-based blog tour for It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne. Huge thanks to Usborne Publishing for providing a copy for review. This didn’t affect my opinion of the book in any way. 

It Only Happens In The Movies is one of those books that you just can’t simply put down as soon as you start reading it. You can’t help but wonder what happens next, so you just continue reading until you’re done. But what can I say? It’s Holly Bourne!

This is the fourth book by Holly Bourne that I’ve read. And there is absolutely no doubt when it comes to Holly Bourne’s writing. I loved her Spinster Club series, and with It Only Happens In The Movies, she proved her craft even more.

The story picks up when Audrey has to do a paper about romantic films for her Media Studies. During this time, Audrey was just recovering from her previous relationship and at the same time she’s still dealing with her mother who has been in an unresponsive stupor due to her parents’ broken relationship.

Desperate for an escape, she started working on a cinema where she met the wanna-be filmmaker Harry. Harry is described as your typical womanizer in every rom-com movies or novels. Audrey even called him what is commonly known today as fuccboi”.

I have so many feels about this book! When I finished it, the only thing that I was able to write on Goodreads was this… “AAAAAAHHHKHKFJGJAJAGAG@&$&$%@AGDH!!!!” with five-glowing stars. Lol

Romance in real life vs. Romance in fiction

It Only Happens In The Movies is every bit of “realistic”. In Audrey’s studies about romance films, she weighed every clichés in romantic films compared to what we really experience in real life romances. She pointed out how every romantic film only shows the good parts, but never the ugliest parts of a relationship. Well, there are conflicts in romantic films, but if you do a reality check, these conflicts are quite far from what we actually experience in reality.

Most of the times, romantic films are limited and done accordingly to stereotypes. And when it comes to endings, they mostly just end at the best part of the couple’s romantic life. I know, except Nicholas Sparks. But the real question is, what happened next after the movie ended at that good part? Who knows.

This notion always gives us what we view as “perfection”, or what we call today as #relationshipgoals. We are so blinded by what the society wants us to believe that we fail to see what is really upon us in reality. Not only in romances or relationships in general, but also in so many things in life.

Okay, I still like romance movies and novels and all those cheesy and mushy stuff. But there are just so many things that Audrey – or Holly Bourne rather – pointed out in this book which gave me that realization moment. I mean, THIS WOMAN IS JUST SO FREAKING BRILLIANT AND ON POINT!

Audrey, her family and her friends

Holly Bourne explored so many timely topics and issues in just 410 pages. Friendship, family conflicts, relationship, dealing with self and anxiety, and breaking stereotypes. One book seems not enough, but Holly Bourne managed to fit all the pieces in this book, so neatly.

There was a moment when Audrey became so distant from her friends because she was too focused  on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend. After her break-up, her friends comforted her and they welcomed her back to the group. But she was having doubts if what they’re showing is genuine because she’s aware that she’s the one who built a wall between their friendships.

This is really on point, because one of my friends had a very similar case with her girlfriends when she got into a relationship. Reading this from Holly Bourne’s book is like having a deja vu.

What I like about Audrey’s character is how aware she was of herself. That she’s not perfect and she has done things that affected her surroundings resulting to her anxieties. Her character is not convincing the readers to like her, but to understand her. It seems like Holly Bourne wants to give us that person she knows we can all relate to, somehow at some point. And Audrey is that person – a very realistic, normal, and relatable character.

Cliché in a good kind of way

It Only Happens In The Movies is both light and heavy. I know it might sound confusing, but those conflicting feelings are what I really felt while reading the book. The way Holly delivered everything was light, fun, and  fast read – just like your typical rom-com novels. But at the same time, it tackles a lot of heavy issues that are commonly experienced by most teenagers.

It is also very cliché, but everything was told in a CLEVER and UNCONVENTIONAL way. Audrey was criticizing every cliché thing in films on her Media Studies project, only to realize that her life, and what she’s about to do are all very cliché themselves. So, it’s like she’s mocking herself when she’s about to do cliché things. Well, I don’t really have problems with clichés myself. I actually like clichés.

Final verdict

I think this is by far my most favorite Holly Bourne book. I want to say more things but I don’t want to give away too much about the book. But as what my friend Mommy Sol from Queen Soleil told me – this is the book that she should have read when she was still younger. It contains parts that may trigger anxiety, but I think this is a perfect book for older teenagers.

Oh, and if you like zombies, you’ll get some of it.

Lastly, I loved the ending so freaking much! It had left me in a emotional roller coaster because I didn’t know what to feel after that ending. But after few minutes, it dawned on me that THIS IS THE PERFECT ENDING FOR THIS BOOK.

PS, to my fellow Filipino readers, National Bookstore‘s version of It Only Happens In The Movies comes with an exclusive letter from Holly Bourne for her Filipino readers.

* Overall Rating *

* About The Author *


Holly Bourne writes YA novels and blogs about feminist issues. Her favourite things to complain loudly about are: the stigma of mental health, women’s rights, and the under-appreciation of Keanu Reeves’ acting ability.

Holly’s first two books, Soulmates and The Manifesto on How to be Interesting, have been critically acclaimed and translated into six languages. The first book in the ‘Normal’ series, Am I Normal Yet?, has been chosen as a World Book Night book for 2016 and has inspired the formation of Spinster Clubs around the country.

Before becoming a full-time author, Holly was editor and relationship advisor for a charity website.

Author Links
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook | Instagram

* Giveaway *

Giveaway is open to PHILIPPINE residents ONLY.

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Blog tour schedule

31 thoughts on “PH Blog Tour: It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne [Review + PH Giveaway]”

    1. Thank you, Karina! You really should try Holly Bourne’s works. Just in case you’re planning to get a copy, National Bookstore’s version of It Only Happens In The Movies comes an exclusive letter from Holly Bourne for her Filipino readers.

    1. YES YES! I was actually anticipating to see your name on the sign-ups for this tour, but I understand that life gets busy. Haha. I want to see more opinions from male readers about Holly Bourne’s books, because her works are pretty feminism-centered. And thank you! 🙂

  1. Wow Just reading your review made me super hyped for this novel ~>__<~ I want to see and feel the emotions of Audrey.

    1. Go for it!! And just in case you’re going to get a copy, National Bookstore’s version of It Only Happens In The Movies comes an exclusive letter from Holly Bourne for her Filipino readers. This is super worth it!

  2. Pingback: PH Blog Tour: It Only Happens In The Movies (Review, Playlist + Giveaway) – The Ultimate Fangirl

  3. Allondra Nica Sim

    I finished reading this book already! Everything about this book is realistic and maybe that’s why I cried so much, because some of our expectations are meant to just not happen in real life.

      1. Allondra Nica Sim

        Yes, and as early as I finished reading this book, I can’t help but wish they’ll make a movie adaptation already… haha!

        PS. Holly Bourne is a genius in introducing great movies too, right?

  4. Definitely adding this to my tbr! I actually wanted to join the blog tour but sadly, I’ve got too much on my plate right now but I absolutely hope I could read this soon.

    1. Yes, please! Give Holly Bourne a shot! She’s amazing! And oh, I totally understand because I was busy myself. I was hustling this past few days due to loads of work. But I hope you can join my future tours if I decided to host more. 🙂

  5. I’ve seen the covers for Am I Normal Yet, but I haven’t read any of Holly Bourne’s books yet, so she’s sort of a new to me author. The premise for It Only Happens in the Movies sounds very interesting, though. I like the idea of examining romantic cliches and turning it on its head.

  6. Pingback: Review || It Only Happens in the Movies (+ giveaway!) – That Bookshelf Bitch

  7. Pingback: PH Blog Tour: It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne [Review & PH Giveaway] | PAPERBACKGIRLPH.ONLINE

  8. I see this eye-catching blog name and to find out that this blog is so COOL. Book reviews and giveaways are awesome! Very nice reviews, btw!

  9. Pingback: Holly Bourne's Message For Her Filipino Readers - The Nocturnal Fey

  10. I haven’t read a Holly Bourne book but a friend has recommended them to me. And then I saw this. I this this book would be an awesome to start Thank you for being generous!

  11. Pingback: PH Blog Tour: It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne [Review & PH Giveaway] – The Margarita System

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