Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: October 11th 2016
4 OUT OF 5 STARS
Disclaimer: A copy of this novel was received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amelia and her brother Toby has always wanted to live the most fantastic version of their lives possible – the movie version. Unfortunately, when Amelia comes back from a busy summer with a brand new boyfriend Toby isn’t quite himself. As Amelia struggles to navigate first love and teen life her brother begins to shift into an entirely different person – and definitely not the movie version of himself
Wunsch has masterfully written in an awkward teenage voice. The Movie Version is in some ways a classic coming of age story with a few very unexpected twists. There were moments in this book that genuinely surprised me. While it does focus on school, particularly Driver’s Ed – it was refreshing to see a novel like this that focused heavily on family and friendship. Amelia’s friendship with Ray was well-written, but her relationship with her brother was definitely the heart of the story. That’s not to say there wasn’t any room for romance.
While I would never classify this novel as a romance but Wunsch has included a first love and dealt with it brilliantly. Things – especially the sex scenes – are delightfully awkward. It is not a fairy tale, or rather movie version, love where everything goes right. Epstein is not a sexy, dashing male lead. The love does seem a little quick, but teens often fall fast and hard. It’s uncomfortable to read at parts but unflinchingly realistic.
The depiction of a family being devastated by mental illness is also incredibly poignant. I cannot say whether the depiction of schizophrenia was well done – but Amelia’s struggle with it is well written. It’s easy to hate Amelia and her family for their reactions but people do not handle things the way they should. It’s very believable if painful to see the way the family deals with this struggle.
The Movie Version really ties together a lot of relationships, and life events into a pleasant story. The movie references and focus on film making give it that little extra character that it needed. I loved Amelia’s unique movie lists (ex. Football movies for people who hate football) and they really added some humour to the book.
A breathtaking debut with a bittersweet ending that will leave readers wanting more Wunsch.