Thursday, July 17, 2014

Behind The Scenes by Dahlia Adler

Behind The Scenes by Dahlia Adler
Release Date - June 24, 2014
Publisher Website - Spencer Hill Press
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 328 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Anyone with a Hollywood fixation has wondered 'what if'. What if your best friend was famous? What if they became the star of a CW type show? Behind The Scenes plays with this daydream with plenty of swoon worthy, and drama filled moments.

A pleasant mix of romance, humour, drama, and seriousness the novel read and felt like a teen show on the CW. It capture the 'entertainment' world version of behind the scenes Hollywood, and wove in some easily believable scenarios that could be lifted from the pages of gossip magazines. This light and fun element will certainly please any Hollywood gossip obsessed reader.

Ally's flaws and mistakes are front and center in this novel. She often assumes things, and puts her own feelings onto others. She is stubborn, makes mistakes, and that's embraced by the author. She felt honest, and well developed. I feel like I got to know her character and could see the whys behind her actions (even if I didn't agree with them).  It's because of this that I wanted more from Liam, Vanessa and the other characters. I feel we got to know Ally so well, but the others are little more than surface characters. Ally needed the other characters to be her equals in terms of development but instead it felt like the entire focus was on her.

The romance alluded me because I didn't feel the connection with Liam. I understood Ally and her quirks perfectly. The why behind her and Liam getting together didn't feel developed enough for me. There are a few moments of shared grief that could have blossomed into something deeper, but it didn't happen. There is plenty of sexual chemistry, and lots of cute moments, but the magical element of what draws them together remains illusive. It wasn't enough that they were attracted to each other, I wanted more.

The friendship between Vanessa and Ally was portrayed much the same. I had a hard time with the relationships because the character developement outside of Ally felt thin, and I didn't feel the connection. Vanessa and Ally have been friends for practically ever, and it didn't come across the way I expected it to. It's a novel that has a rather enjoyable plot, but as a character driven reader it didn't quite captivate me.

There are plenty of more serious elements and themes peppered in with the Hollywood fun. Ally struggles to fit into Liam's world, and to find her own footing, all while dealing with a family member's illness. The less fun side to dating a Hollywood heartthrob are glaringly obvious in this novel, and allow for some juicy plot points. It allowed me to see different sides to the main character, which ultimately ended up saving the novel for me.

A glitzy, drama filled behind the scenes look at Hollywood. There is plenty of fun, but I didn't quite connect to the story, or it's characters, the way I wanted to. It's tone compliments summer reading though, and would be solid choice for your beach bag.

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