Publishing Info: June 24, 2014 by Spencer Hill Press
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 10, 2015
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.
Shame on me for taking so long to read this book! I’ve been talking to the lovely Dahlia Adler for a while but only really got to know her after BEHIND THE SCENES had already come out so somehow this book fell to the wayside (aka: got stuck under my massive TBR pile) for way too long! I’m glad that I finally got to read her debut earlier this year because it was such lovely book and I pretty much inhaled it in two days!
The best thing to come out of BEHIND THE SCENES for me was the wonderful friendship between Ally and Vanessa. I absolutely loved how the two girls were there for each other through thick and thin but also that their friendship is imperfect — which made it even more realistic to me. While I’m definitely not in the same situation (my best friends aren’t the stars of their own TV shows, ya know?), my friends and I each have our differences which really make our friendships unique, and that was something that I really connected with in Ally and Vanessa’s friendship. They connect on so many things and they really love and support each other but they also end up butting heads on some hot button issues because even though they’re best friends, they’re bound to disagree on some important things. It just felt very realistic to me and opened up that line of connection for me to really feel like I knew these characters.
This also really spanned to the family aspect of the book as well. Ally is really tight with her family — especially with her father being sick — so that really sets up a situation where Ally needs to be there for her family, both emotionally and physically. Through Vanessa’s close friendship with Ally, she ends up sort of being part of the family too, which I loved seeing since that’s something I’ve had with a few of my best friend’s families. Vanessa is also there for Ally as she tries to support her family (and herself) throughout this hard time in her life. There’s a giant crossroads with Ally and her decision about college. She doesn’t want to leave her family but she’s always had her dream school in mind so it’s really a constant rotation of support between Ally, her family, and her best friends for everyone to really figure out the best possible situation. I really admired how well all of these relationships work and really how positive everyone seemed to be throughout it all!
What was also really fun about BEHIND THE SCENES was actually the “behind the scenes” look at Hollywood and the acting business. Obviously it’s not something that I know anything about so it’s really fun to get a glimpse at that lifestyle and also see the normality of it all. It’s easy to get caught up in the fame of celebrities but I really loved that the “human side” of each of the TV stars (minus the divas) was portrayed. These actors really are just normal people who have a job that makes them famous. It was just a really fun peek at that side of the business.
And of course, the romance was delightfully swoony. I really loved how it developed and it was really interesting to see each character’s approach and how so many people were actually involved. I loved Ally’s resistance, actually. She tried to think the worst of Liam because in her mind, he really was just a celebrity with a built-up reputation so it was especially exciting to get to know him more as Ally did! I really loved him.
All in all, BEHIND THE SCENES was another hit for me! I’ll admit that I had a few preconceived notions about a book portraying show business but that was something the characters and I learned — things are not always what they seem! It was so great to get to know these characters and I can’t wait to get to know even more in the companion novel, UNDER THE LIGHTS, this year!
“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Ally // Character Obsessions: College, family, friendship.
I liked Ally a lot! I feel like we had a lot in common and even when we weren’t directly in sync, she reminded me a lot of some of my friends. It was a really nice combination! She was a really admirable character. Ally always wanted to stand by her family and I loved how much school and her family and her friends meant to her. I mean, she really did have a LOT going on in her life, but I really appreciated what she chose to be important in her life.
Vanessa // Character Obsessions: Acting, friendship, responsibility, normality.
I loved the friendship between Ally and Vanessa. As I was reading, it actually reminded me of Open Road Summer (Reagan & Dee). Vanessa makes a really big break in this book but I love that she never turns into a diva or lets fame or success go to her head. I can’t stand diva-types so that made me REALLY happy to see. I loved that she remained so down-to-earth and a good friend to Ally!
Kept Me Hooked On: Celebrity Status. I’ve read a few too many with many diva-like attitudes and I can’t handle that. Brattiness — even from the antagonist — is just not appealing. (There was a touch of this from someone else but that actually didn’t bother me.) I was really excited to see a strong and realistic friendship between Ally and Vanessa, regardless of social status/fame.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. It was just a “me” thing but I didn’t TOTALLY 100% connect with everything going on. And that has totally nothing to do with the book. I really enjoyed everything but there was just that “factor” that kept me from falling totally in love and who’s to say what it is. Just happens some time and that’s totally okay! You can’t fall head over heels with every book but this was still one I really enjoyed and would recommend!
I really enjoyed this book! I loved the sort of (oops totally no pun intended) “behind the scenes” look at Hollywood and the acting business. It’s always so much fun to see that kind of stuff since obviously I don’t have access to that kind of knowledge. I LOVED the friendships and whewwww a swoony romance to boot!
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