Review: Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Behind the Scenes by Dahlia AdlerBehind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler
Series: Daylight Falls #1
Published by Spencer Hill on June 24, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 328
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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three-stars

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.

Before I get started, I need to be up front with you all: I consider Dahlia Adler to be a good friend of mine. There’s even photo evidence that we’ve spent time together. If you follow her on Twitter, you know that she’s fabulous, spirited, hilarious and opinionated. Behind the Scenes hadn’t really caught my attention until I befriended Dahlia. Reading the book of an author friend is always dangerous, because it really ups the expectations and there’s not really any more guarantee the book will be a favorite, even though logic might seem to suggest it would turn out that way. In this case, my expectations were a bit high, but I do believe Behind the Scenes to be a good choice for a light, summer read when you want to turn your mind off and read something fluffy and fun.

If I’d had to guess, I probably would have said my favorite part of Behind the Scenes would be the romance. While I do think Liam and Ally are shippable, that’s not actually my favorite aspect of the novel. Ally’s family wins that. Ally has a really close relationship with her father, who has been diagnosed with cancer. Her stress level throughout all of the romantic drama one might expect and some of her questionable decisions are fueled by the fact that she’s pushing herself so hard to be an adult before she’s ready, in an attempt to handle his impending death. That sounds heavy, but I think it’s handled in such a way to leave the overall book light on the whole. Ally’s dad was one of my two favorite characters and I loved the way that his plot sort of overshadowed everything, even if it wasn’t what the most time was spent on. His condition is never something she forgets about; it’s always in the back of her mind…or the front.

As is traditional in a romance, at some point, a major SNAFU ensues. Watching your best friend pretend to date your boyfriend is never going to be easy, and Ally definitely does not have the self-confidence to handle that. She thought she did, but she really doesn’t. When things go bad like whoa, a secondary character steps in and turns out to be my other favorite. His name is Josh and he drops a whole bunch of truth bombs. It’s very cathartic, because Behind the Scenes is one of those books where you can see Ally making bad choices but she can’t get enough out of her own head and insecurities to trust anyone.

The other big plus and the main thing that Adler brings to a very familiar story is its inclusiveness. There’s commentary on the whitewashing in Hollywood in the context of Van, Ally’s Asian best friend struggling to find roles in Hollywood. There are gay characters just because. There’s also sex without any sense of shame or judgment (off-screen, but I will take it). Though none of this is the central plot, I love seeing all of these things included.

What saddens me is that I didn’t feel like much of the humor and snarkiness of Dahlia really comes through in Behind the Scenes. There are a couple of scenes where I saw it, but, by and large, Ally is a very different sort of person. Again, this is an expectation I brought to the table and perhaps unfair, but I was hoping for the book to be more humorous than it actually was. It’s cute and sweet, but not really putting the comedy in romantic comedy.

Do I recommend Behind the Scenes? Depends on your mood. If you’re looking for a predictable comfort read with some hot boys and some kissing, then for sure. If you’re looking for a real look at LA and Hollywood, I’d be more inclined to push you at Everything Leads to You.

Favorite Quote:

“Congrats on mastering the ukelele.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif cinderella story prince

2 responses to “Review: Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler”

  1. Oh my gosh, it’s a Cinderella Story gif!

    I’m definitely interested in Behind the Scenes. I love lighter romances, especially in the summer.

    I’m sure it is really hard to review a book written by a friend. I have a friend who is an author, and I ended up deciding before I read the book that I wouldn’t review it on the blog.

    But I think you reviewed this very well.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Top Nine Book Cover Elements I Like/DislikeMy Profile

  2. Mia Hayson says:

    Great balanced review. Behind the Scenes sounds like a lovely summer read. I really like books with special relationships like those between a father and a daughter or with extenuating circumstances that give characters extra depth. 🙂

    <3
    Mia Hayson recently posted…What kind of Writer are you?My Profile

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