Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2)
by Dahlia Adler
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Release Date: June 30, 2015
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 review originally appeared on Such a Novel Idea.
I received a copy of this book via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect the outcome of my opinion in any way.
I have followed Dahlia Adler for a few years now on Twitter, even before she was an author. She is funny, witty, and smart; three things I value greatly in people. So of course, when I read she was going to be a published author, I KNEW I had to pick up her books.
That may have been my reason behind wanting to read Under the Lights, but I absolutely made the right decision. And even more so, this was the absolute perfect weekend to read a book about learning to love and learning to be who you are versus who people want you to be.
First of all, Adler has a way with words. As a copy editor, she knows what needs to go where. As a blogger, she understands what we readers are looking for in a good book, and as an author she knows how to entertain. She took a story about actors in Hollywood, something I probably never would have picked up on my own accord, and turned it into something I couldn’t put down.
While this book is categorized as YA, I felt it had more of a new adult appeal. In fact, this is what New Adult should be. I’ve read so many NA books that just all felt the same. This one was refreshingly new.
This book is a part of a series, but it is done in a way that you don’t have to read the first book to read this one. The characters overlap, but the books are focusing on different main characters. In this book, we are following Josh and Vanessa. The best part is Josh and Vanessa aren’t going to fall in love… with each other. This is practically unheard of in the book world! But don’t let that scare you romantics away… there’s plenty of that to go around.
I know Josh was supposed to be the perpetual bad boy, but I really actually liked him. Sure, he was a jerk sometimes, and incredibly self-centered, but Adler gave him a vulnerability. I liked that we got to see him realize things about himself he had never before considered. And Adler also made me care about a ‘poor little rich boy’ who had everything. Seriously, I’m sitting here praying my internet bill goes through and this kid is spending thousands on a party at the drop of the hat. And yet, I felt bad for him. Seriously, that takes talent.
Even more than Josh, I LOVED Vanessa. She was Korean and respected her family, but she was also an American girl who loved her life as an actress. She wasn’t too put out with the game of showbiz, but she didn’t see herself as someone who could get away with anything like Josh and other actors/actresses like him. She still had a good solid moral compass and a want (or need) to please those around her.
I loved Vanessa’s journey to finding herself. To learning that sometimes being who you are and upsetting some is wholly fulfilling, because you are passionate about the things you love. I do think she was a great role model and would be someone I’d like to hang out with sometime. She didn’t see herself as strong and kick ass in the beginning, but it is clear by the end of the book she is just that. I do think the epilogue was a *bit* cheesy, but I was ok with it because Vanessa deserved that bit of happiness.
Under the Lights managed to be a light read with heavy topics. I think this is a hard thing to accomplish, but I liked that I was never too bogged down in the issues. They were something our characters went through and dealt with, but they weren’t so heavy that you couldn’t read this poolside. Overall, this is a great read for a wide variety of teens, young adults, and adults alike.