Title: The Movie Version
Author: Emma Wunsch
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: 11 Oct 2016
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
A whip-smart, heart-wrenching debut YA novel about first love, first loss, and filmmaking that will delight fans of Jandy Nelson and Jennifer Niven
In the movie version of Amelia’s life, the roles have always been clear. Her older brother, Toby: definitely the Star. As popular with the stoners as he is with the cheerleaders, Toby is someone you’d pay ten bucks to watch sweep Battle of the Bands and build a “beach party” in the bathroom. As for Amelia? She’s Toby Anderson’s Younger Sister. She’s perfectly happy to watch Toby’s hijinks from the sidelines, when she’s not engrossed in one of her elaborately themed Netflix movie marathons.
But recently Toby’s been acting in a very non-movie-version way. He’s stopped hanging out with his horde of friends and started obsessively journaling and disappearing for days at a time. Amelia doesn’t know what’s happened to her awesome older brother, or who this strange actor is that’s taken his place. And there’s someone else pulling at her attention: a smart, cute new boyfriend who wants to know the real Amelia—not Toby’s Sidekick. Amelia feels adrift without her star, but to best help Toby—and herself—it might be time to cast a new role: Amelia Anderson, leading lady.
REVIEW BY BETH
The Movie Version is a great novel about so many different things, it’s one of those books where the author cleverly uses the passions of the protagonist as a way of telling a more serious tale with a much deeper message.
Amelia is obsessed with movies and so she has always imagined the movie version of her life. She has always been in a happy and content situation which meant she always knew who played what role in her life. Her older brother Toby is the star of her movie and definitely her idol. Amelia is happy to play the little sister role and loves watching Toby as he fits in with absolutely every group there is and stands out as the star he is. Things change however, and Amelia is forced to confront the real world instead of thinking of everything in terms of a movie.
The Movie Version shows how Amelia handles her brother’s sudden change. It is a novel about mental illness and how young adults cope and handle finding out something hard to digest about someone close to them. The Movie Version is Amelia’s story, looking at how she copes with Toby’s diagnosis. It’s an interesting angle to take as Wunsch could have told us a story from Toby’s perspective, but Amelia’s is fascinating in its own way.
The Movie Version follows that classic coming of age style that many YA novels do, as the extent of change and difficulty Amelia goes through, as well as simply having to grow up, changes her profoundly. Of course it has more of a significant effect on Toby but he isn’t our protagonist and so some of his story is missing.
I loved many elements of this novel, I loved how the change in her circumstances allowed Amelia to step into the limelight she had always hidden from as she was happy to just be Toby’s sister. As the title suggests this novel is full of movie quotes and similar, not all of which I got but they allowed Amelia to become a more rounded character. I just wish I’d got a couple more of them.
I really enjoyed the way Wunsch allowed her characters to be honest. Amelia’s reactions to finding out about Toby’s mental illness include embarrassment and frustration and this is much more believable of a teen character (or any character) than immediate empathy and understanding.
The Movie Version is a hopeful novel with plenty going for it and I think Wunsch did a great job managing to cover some deep issues without the novel becoming dark and depressing.