Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Review ~ Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler

Series: standalone
Genre: YA/NA contemporary
Publication Date: June 30th, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Goodreads Description: 
Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents' wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls...opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he's trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he's in the spotlight—on everyone's terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.

Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents' disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she's painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van's life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she'll have to choose between the one thing she's always loved...and the person she never imagined she could. 
Source: I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I didn't enjoy reading this one quite as much as Behind the Scenes--I preferred the single POV and the couple of that one--but Under the Lights felt like it was a stronger book overall. There were more things to appreciate, including the following:

- Diverse characters
- An unlikable male MC that still had great qualities
- Character growth in both main characters
- A dual POV in which only one had a big romance focus
- Sex positivity including a scene that didn't fade to black
- Fantastic friendships
- Liam and Ally appearances (because who doesn't love seeing a couple they loved return in another book?)

The characters in this book were pretty good! I liked how unlikable Josh was. He sure was a jerk, but he was a loyal jerk. He was a good friend--there ws a glimpse of that in the first book. I liked seeing him grow. It was a nice surprise! As for Vanessa, I was so proud of her. She overcame a lot of fears in her story. It was a tough and confusing experience for her, and I liked seeing how she dealt with it. The love interest, Bri, was a great one! I liked how she stood up for her sexuality and wouldn't accept BS from Vanessa. Bri influenced Vanessa to push herself and overcome some of her fears.

Overall, Under the Lights was a really good read! As with the first book, I really liked the romance, character growth, character flaws, and the setting. I didn't get into the sequel as much as the first book, but there were so many great elements to Josh and Vanessa's stories. If you're looking for a pair of refreshing contemporaries, you should give the Daylight Falls a shot!



2015 challenges this book counts towards:
105 Challenge
Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Dive into Diversity

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