June 11, 2014

Review + Giveaway: Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler

Title: Behind the Scenes
Author: Dahlia Adler
Release Date: June 24th 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Page Count: 328
Source: ARC from work
First Reaction: So. Much. Love. For. This. Book.
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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Dahlia Adler is a friend of mine. I don't know if or how this affects this review. But the best thing to do is believe in the awesomeness and read this review and the book it's about, mmmkay?


Ally Duncan's life isn't easy. Her dad has cancer, which means her parents have to drain her college fund, so her big Columbia dreams are over if she can't make enough money - which she really can't. Or, well, she can't until her best friend and Hollywood starlet, Vanessa Park, hires Ally as her assistant. And while Ally's goals are to make money and spend time with her best friend, that's definitely only a small portion of all of the things she gets from this deal. (Especially since Liam, the hot TV star hunk, isn't mentioned. But he's there and he's important.)

Let's break this down:

This book screams beach read. Yeah, I may have teared up a little, which is not perfect for public, but you guys wear sunglasses on the beach, right? But anyway, this book screams beach read because it's so totally devourable. I had to go do other things in between chapters of this book (like sleep and eat and work and whatever) and I just didn't want to.

The compelling parts are as follows:

  • The Friendships: I love Ally and Vanessa's friendship so much. They love each other and they talk and they're all up in each other's business but they're still flawed. They still have the gap between them placed their by the different lives they lead. And, despite the drama between them, they still manage to make it work and remain best friends. 
  • The Family: Ally basically gives up everything for her family and she's okay with it. I think that's mostly because what she wants to go to Columbia and travel, but she needs her family to be okay. And it's kind of nice to see a YA character think that way. Also, Ally's family is so fantastic and supporting and understanding but her parents are still very parental. Basically: I love both sides of this situation a lot
  • The Drama: This book is wrought with drama. But not frustrating, circular drama. It's misunderstanding drama (which is my favorite) and personal growth drama (which is my other favorite). And there are also characters in the book that diffuse the drama with their no-nonsense, I do what I want attitudes and they make this story even better. The balance of it all really is fantastic. 
  • The Steamy Swoons: Liam is a hunk of hotness. Ally's reluctance to blindly fall for a hunk of hotness is even better. The rocky start of this ship is fantastic and then the rocky continuance of this ship is even more fantastic. But what's the best is that Liam and Ally have problems and, while they do let some of the problems get in the way of their happiness, it's realistic. Also, the kissing and romance and swoons are super realistic, too. (But even if they weren't the kissing scenes are hot like Liam, so it's all good.)
  • The Story: At first I was like: this feels like a cheating lite book. Which I don't love. But then I read it and I realized I was so very wrong. This book isn't cheating lite. It's teenage confusion. It's friends trying to do what's best for friends. It's a girl sacrificing what she wants for what's really important. It's personal growth when faced with things much bigger than you are. And there are major swoons. I can't tell you how much I love all of that. 
  • The Cake: I call this book the piece of delicious, fluffy chocolate cake you buy yourself on your way home from an uncomfortable meal at a stuffy restaurant. It's also the pint of ice cream at the end of a bad day. And the your favorite ratty sweatshirt you've never ever pretend you don't love because it's absolutely perfect in every way. 

The long and short of it?

Plot: Cake. Delicious cake. Or ice cream. Or awesome sweatshirt status. The good stuff, really.
World Building: I don't know anything about celebrity or cancer so I kind of just went with it. Is that wrong? Well, I don't want to be right. And I also just want to love the drama, okay?
Character Development: I may have mentioned the awesome character development in the bullet point labeled "The Story" and I did it pretty well so go re-read that, okay?
Prose: It's like I was sitting right there and Dahlia was telling me a story. It felt totally real and very honest how a teenager would act and think.
Would I Recommend This Book?: This book has a lot of swear words and some steamy scenes, so if you're not into that, I'd skip this book. Otherwise, if you're looking for a delicious summer contemporary romance with the perfect amount of drama, sads, swoons, and pure joy, you should probably get to this one.

Now, since I love this book and Dahlia, I'm hosting a Giveaway for an ARC of BEHIND THE SCENES! And since I'm going to Dahlia'a launch party (*cough* I'm HOSTING it *cough*) I'll be able to get it signed for whoever wins! So get entering, my pretties!

Giveaway Rules:

~To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. DO NOT enter using the comments.
~ You must be 18 years or older or have a guardian's permission to enter.
~ The winners will be chosen randomly. Once chosen, the winners will be emailed. They will then have 48 HOURS to respond, otherwise another winner will be chosen.
~ The giveaway is US ONLY.
~ I reserve the right to disqualify anyone who tries to cheat the system. I WILL be checking the winning entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway