Behind the Scenes
Spencer Hill Contemporary
[June 24, 2014]
ARC from BEA/egalley from Edelweiss
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.I had Dahlia on the blog last month and, as you can see, we're kind of friends. And I've been
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.
I spent the first half of this book smiling while my heart hurt because Ally and Liam were so SAD. They were so cute together but it was so hard to be together and it kinda-physically hurt. Then the book continued and I literally made happy and frowny pages at the book as if hoping it would change its mind about what it was doing to Ally and Liam and Van. (Spoiler Alert: This method doesn't seem to work.)
I loved the characters Dahlia wrote. They were all realistic and had fears that haunted them. Ally was another excellent example of a character whose insecurities really ate at her life without her constantly thinking about it. Those concerns were on her mind, but her actions were what really reflected how she felt. It's hard to pull off and I've only seen it one other time I can think of, but it works for me and it's incredibly relatable, no matter what the situation. And Liam and Van were so far from the Hollywood stereotype, but still had demons to face. The realness of those three, and the surrounding cast, created amazing chemistry and interactions between all the characters.
The story never pulled punches. Maybe one problem would get alleviated, but another was running around the corner. There were difficult situations and they never really got easier. It's important for Ally to face all these issues now, but it still hurt a lot as a reader. She really developed and changed and the ending was incredibly reflective of where she was.
Dahlia's an incredible writer, and I say this without bias...mostly. Friends or not, though, it takes a lot for me to read most of a book in one sitting. Especially until 3:30 am. Because generally, if I'm staying up that late, it's doing mindless things on the internet. And not on a day where I have to be up and ready to leave the house by 9 am. It takes some SERIOUS SKILL, guys.
Basically, you should all be picking up this book. It doesn't have to be a summer read, because it definitely has some weight to it, but it does need to be a book in your life. Promise.