July 16, 2014

Behind the Scenes - Dahlia Adler

Behind the Scenes book cover
Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Source/Format: YA Party during BEA 2014 (Thanks!) || ARC
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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. (from Goodreads)

Perfect beach read! That’s what comes to mind when I think about Behind the Scenes. It’s a fun contemporary novel, sprinkled with funny moments and heartfelt revelations. I was pretty entertained from start to finish, I have to say, and I really think many other people will too.

Let’s talk about the situation in Behind the Scenes first. Here are the details:
  • Ally, a perfectly normal gal, is BFFs with Vanessa, who is an actress about to star in a TV show.
  • Ally’s father needs treatments for cancer, so their family is about to struggle to make ends meet – and this means they’ll be dipping into Ally’s college fund for Columbia.
  • Vanessa hires Ally as her personal assistant to help Ally earn money for school, and gets her other opportunities to make some money with her co-stars.
  • One of Vanessa’s co-stars is a hot boy named Liam, who is more than what meets the eye (even though that’s obviously very attractive).
  • Liam and Ally have got a little something-something going on in the romance department. Sparks are definitely flying between them!
  • BUT Vanessa and Liam must pretend to be a couple in order to ramp up the publicity for their TV show. Which Ally is totally okay with since it’s what’s best for them…. Right?

And, cue the drama! There’s clearly a lot going on in Ally’s life. She’s dealing with her feelings about her father having this terminal illness, and the possibility that she could lose him. She’s struggling to make sure that she maintains her grades, all while juggling her part-time job for Vanessa and some other people. She’s also trying to figure out her feelings for Liam, what kind of life she’s willing to lead and doing the best she can by her friend. 

Seriously, Behind the Scenes reads like a teenager soap opera (a la One Tree Hill or Dawson’s Creek) with everything that’s going on. Even though there are a few farfetched things happening here, it’s still just really, really fun. I was willing to be immersed into the crazy (and fickle) world of Hollywood, celebrity and fame-slash-notoriety. I got really swept up in this story!

(Bonus points for an awesome family here, especially Ally’s dynamic with her father. I liked the scenes where she was hanging around her family, as it really made a point of showing the readers that she had a good relationship with them.)

(Even more bonus points for an awesome BFF. Vanessa was a pretty great friend to Ally through everything. She was definitely determined to help Ally out however she could financially, and I really like that she tried to be supportive no matter what was going on. She might not be perfect either, but she tried hard to do right by her friend.)

(Plus, a million bonus points for Liam, who is totally worth crushing on. If all Hollywood hotties were as sweet and down to earth as he happens to be, well, it’d definitely make them even more irresistible.) (This doesn’t excuse some of his actions in the novel though, just saying. But then again, nobody’s perfect.)

The one thing that bothered me about Behind the Scenes? Ally. I have not been so frustrated with a character in a long, long time! She’s definitely smart (book smart, anyway), and I think she’s really dedicated and loyal to her family. Plus, I admired the fact that she never wanted to be famous (and stuck to her guns!) but didn’t judge Vanessa for being the opposite way. 

But she got me really riled up at times because she didn’t seem to be acting in a logical way! She kept secrets from Vanessa, who is supposedly her best friend. She wasn’t honest with Liam either, even though she wanted to be with him. Her lack of honesty and communication put her in situations that riled her up and got her acting offensively and defensively with two people who cared so much about her, and that just didn’t feel right to me. Thing is though, I get it. She’s got so many things on her plate, and she was overwhelmed, and emotional.

Okay, little rant over now. But apart from my own gripes with Ally, I really did like Behind the Scenes! It was the perfect summer contemporary read – fun, dramatic but not over the top, and pretty much written to be pure entertainment. 


  1. I'm curious about this! I don't usually like reading about anything remotely to do with fame or celebrity culture, but it sounds like it is too fun to pass up. Hopefully the drama won't be too much for me, as I could do with a good beach read right now. Lovely review, Alexa! :)

  2. I definitely, definitely want to read this, although I'm pretty sure Ally will frustrate me too. But I'm too curious to read Behind the Scenes to pass on this one.

  3. I love love this cover, and I haven't heard anything about this. I'm always reluctant to middle-grade MCs, but this one looks like one I may really enjoy. I will soon be checking it out!
    Cassie @ Happy Book Lovers

  4. hmm I think I'd be pretty annoyed at the main character if you were because I HATE IT when they are suppose to be smart...and it's like R U SURE. But Vanessa seems really great and yay, she's Asian. This def does seem like a good summer read!


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