I received this book for free from Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler
Series: Daylight Falls #1
Published by Spencer Hill Contemporary on June 24th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Source: Book Expo America
High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally's ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.
Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors' publicist arranges for Van and Liam to "date" for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.
First off, I need to be upfront with you guys and say that I’ve met Dahlia, and we’ve talked quite a bit, and she personally gave me a review copy of her book at BEA. Sooo, that might affect my opinion in some small way, but as always, I’m striving to be as honest as possible in my review. But let it also be known that Dahlia is wicked awesome, and even if you don’t pick up her book, you should definitely follow her on Twitter. Now. With that out of the way.
In case you’re new here, one of the things you’ll quickly learn about me is that I love my fluff. I also particularly enjoy stories based around celebrities or the film industry. It is my comfort zone – it is the one place I can always go to just sit back, relax, and enjoy – and that is exactly what Behind the Scenes delivered for me. Sometimes the heart just needs lightness and swoons, and this book is perfect for that. Indeed from the first mention of Liam (and his abs – as he was SHIRTLESS), I was smitten. The boy is seriously hot, and Dahlia sure knows how to get a reader’s attention. He and Ally have such a great chemistry right from the start – practically two pages into his appearance I was screaming, “I SHIP IT!” I mean, we all had that dream as a teenager to fall in love with a hot celebrity right?
But I really liked how that relationship developed. It really wasn’t too obvious at the start. Ally has some trust issues and she tries to keep her distance. In fact, they start off being friends more than anything – although there is that mutual attraction drawing them together. It was like I was watching a movie, guys. I was so absorbed and enjoying it.
In fact, I felt like I could relate quite a bit to Ally, the main character. She faces quite a tough time at home, with her dad having cancer, but more than anything it’s her attitude towards the future that I really connected with. She’s one of those people who is so forward thinking and busy planning the future, that she may sometimes forget to live in the present. I really sympathized with her family situation as well, and I thought it was portrayed very well and realistically, without being overwhelmingly depressing. Cancer is a tough subject, and my mom had cancer when I was little, so… yeah. The way that Ally handles the drama along with everything else that was going on in her life makes her an impressive character to me. The relationship between her and her father makes my heart go a bit mushy.
I also particularly loved the friendship between Ally and Vanessa. Vanessa was a great character all around – especially due to her diversity and the dialogue this creates about whitewashing in Hollywood. I was impressed that that element was in here, and I seriously loved it. (Incidentally, there is also a great sex positive attitude in here. Go Dahlia!) But the two girls are great supporters of each other. It was a very healthy relationship, although there was also a fair share of drama thrown in the mix. I mean, your best friend has to pretend to be dating your boyfriend? You know there’s going to be some jealousy going on. And I so wished that Ally would have been upfront about it – told Vanessa the truth (and Liam as well for that matter). But, I suppose what actually happened was more or less to be expected from this young adult novel.
And that’s what keeps me from rating this higher. Though entertaining, Behind the Scenes does fall to painful clichés, much like a Disney Channel movie would. The drama, though depicted in a more or less realistic and certainly understandable way, could have been avoided. I liked the first half of the book a great deal more than the second. The build up between Ally and Liam was just adorable – oh and hell yes did I swoon for it. And I definitely liked seeing the Hollywood setting. But sadly, the second half was bogged down with the drama and the plot kind of trailed off. I almost wanted to yell at the book – at Ally – to just be honest and cut the crap – but luckily, a side character, Josh, helps her see the light. He was a wonderful, snarky addition to what could otherwise have been a way too sappy sweet novel.
Summing Up:Overall, I definitely enjoyed Behind the Scenes. Its light tone and swoony romance is pretty ideal for a summer read. However, sadly the second half got a bit too dramatic for my taste – especially when much of it could have been avoided. A bit more humor and banter would have been appreciated too. It’s not my all time favorite fluffy read, but when you need some happiness in your life, this can definitely do the job.
GIF it to me straight!
This GIF has been dedicated to Liam’s abs.