Title: Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2)
Author: Dahlia Adler
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents’ wealth, and the occasional modelling 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 on thing she’s always loved…and the person she never imagined she could.
It’s only just recently that I finally read Dahlia Adler’s Behind the Scenes, but as soon as I was finished reading I knew I needed Under the Lights. I was so excited about reading this story and I’m so happy it lived up to everything I built it up to be in my mind.
Josh Chester has a reputation as a Hollywood bad boy and he loves it. But lately, Josh is getting tired of the bad boy lifestyle. Especially when it involves being blackmailed by his own mother to be on a reality TV show. In an effort to get out of it, and to help out his best friend and help his own reputation, Josh takes a guest starring role on Daylight Falls, playing Vanessa Park’s new love interest. But unlike every other female in Hollywood, Vanessa is completely unaffected by Josh, and that only makes him more intent on charming her. For maybe five seconds, Vanessa was interested in Josh. But that was al on time ago. Now, she sees him for who she really is and the last thing she wants is to have to act opposite him on her TV show. She already has enough on her plate with her best friend having moved across the country for college and the feelings she’s been having for Brianna, her publicist’s new intern. There’s never been a single doubt in Vanessa’s mind about wanting to be an actor, but can she still do that while also being with the person she never could have imagined she would want.
When I read Behind the Scenes a couple months ago, I read it in the span of a day. I got sucked into the story and I didn’t want to stop reading. So guess what happened when I started reading Under the Lights? If you guessed that I read it in a day, you would be right. It’s typically what happens when I read one of Dahlia Adler’s books. So Under the Lights. I was so excited to read it. But at the same time, I was curious as to how a story told in alternating perspectives by characters who aren’t love interests for each other would work. I mean, in my experience, when there’s alternating points of view, those two people tend to end up together. But that wasn’t the case with Josh and Vanessa. Instead, this ended up being a story about their friendship, which I pretty much loved. But outside of the unlikely (and at times very amusing) friendship between those two, this was obviously also about the romance. And that wasn’t a “traditional” romance. Dahlia Adler wrote a romance between two girls that felt completely real, and reading about it and the difficulties that came with it at times broke my heart. But what I loved most of all about the romance between Vanessa and Brianna was that Dahlia Adler wasn’t afraid to go places that you don’t necessarily see in other YA novels, even LGBTQ ones. So many of the scenes between Van and Bri were touching and heartwarming and ultimately that had a lot to do with the two girls themselves.
It didn’t take long at all for me to start rooting for Vanessa and Brianna. I already knew Vanessa from Behind the Scenes, but I didn’t know everything that was going on inside her head. How she was questioning every romantic relationship she’d had in her life because none of them had ever felt the way she was told they were supposed to feel. I could tell how much she was struggling and I wanted so much for her to find that thing she was looking for that she had heard so much about. And that’s where Brianna came in. Brianna knew exactly who she was, and who she wanted. But just like Van, Bri also had her own insecurities and struggles. And the two of them together were fantastic. I’ve said it already, but I was rooting for them right away. And then they broke my heart a few times. And then they put it back together. So I loved them. And then there was Josh. I’m not exactly sure how to put Josh into words. But as horrible of a human being as he could be, I liked him right away (don’t know what that says about me, though). And that’s because I knew that he wasn’t the asshole he let people believe he was. In his own way, he was there for the people he cared about, even if he sometimes didn’t know exactly how to show it. So I loved seeing him come into his own over the course of the book. I loved seeing him figure out who he was and who he wanted to be. And as I mentioned earlier, I loved seeing his friendship with Vanessa develop. A friendship between those two didn’t exactly make sense (he calls her K-drama because she’s Korean-American and an actress—and as offensive as it was, he meant lovingly…for the most part). But both of them needed that friendship in their lives, they just didn’t know it. But I loved it all the same.
As you might have guessed by now, I absolutely loved Dahlia Adler’s Under the Lights. This was a beautiful story about a friendship between a boy and a girl, and a romance between two girls. But I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
As part of the tour, I was asked to share some of my favorite quotes from Under the Lights. There were so many quotes that I could share, but here are three of my favorites, one each from Vanessa, Brianna and Josh.
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