Book Review: Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler

gr under the lightsUnder the Lights by Dahlia Adler

Genres: New Adult; Contemporary; Romance; LGBTQ
Pages: 312
Published: June 30th, 2015

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

Full disclosure before I dive into this review: I received an ARC from NetGalley to review. I’m horribly behind on reviewing this because my contemporary mood disappeared around the time I was approved.

This is a companion novel to Behind the Scenes (I didn’t know that when I requested it, oops) but it can be read as a stand alone. Because I’m terrible at summarizing books without potentially spoiling them, here’s the 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.

This book is kind of predictable, but it isn’t bad. It kind of reminded me of Gossip Girl (the show, I never read the books) if it had been set in L.A. There was so much drama, and Josh reminded me a lot of Chuck. Despite being a bit predictable, I actually really enjoyed this book. It surprised me with how often I was laughing, or cheering for the characters (or fighting tears, but let’s just blame that on hormones this one time). The pace was nice, so I got through it in about a day without ever getting bored. I didn’t even realize how much I was into the story until I had to put it down to go to bed and didn’t want to.

dean thumbs up

Josh was a total ass, but he was entertaining at times. I didn’t really like him, but by the end of the book I was kind of cheering him on, too. I think he showed the most character growth, and I’m just a bit proud of him. Just a bit, because he was a total ass. (How many times can I say that before it stops sounding like a word?)

Vanessa…I’m not sure how I feel about her, honestly. The things she went through were so real, but I still felt like she could have been a better character. I can’t put my finger on what it is that’s missing, though. I did like her, but I didn’t love her. My heart broke a bit for her, and I was totally rooting for her, I just can’t figure out what was “off.”

Brianna was possibly my favorite character. Bi girl, out and proud? Finally! I loved her, and I literally teared up when she was talking about coming out because I could relate. And, she (briefly) brought up the subject of bi erasure, which is something I haven’t encountered in a book before, and I was so happy to finally see it.

fist pump

I liked the relationship between Bri and Van, and I want a companion novel just about them like right now. They were adorable and I want to know what things are like for them after the end of this book. And, I really want to know more about Bri and her backstory. I need to know more! I wouldn’t mind seeing how Josh turns out as well. And let’s not forget #LiamProblems, an inside joke that got me to snort-laugh at least once.

Overall, yep, I recommend this one. Well, I recommend it if you can get over Josh being an ass heh.


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