HIIIIIIII, LOVELY BLOG FOLK!
Man, today is the PERFECT day to review BEHIND THE SCENES- partially because it is hot as Hades outside which means there are a lot more shirtless guys walking around than there usually are.
A disclaimer: Dahlia is a darling friend of mine who I love to a million pieces. HOWEVER. This is my super duper honest opinion because I only know how to give those. If I hated it, I would have said so. And still posted ab pictures, because I'm not that terrible.
Let's start with the blurb, shall we?
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.
The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/
I KNOW. HOW INCREDIBLE DOES THIS SOUND?
I'll tell you.
Just about as incredible as it actually *is*.
I really, truly loved BEHIND THE SCENES.
Because the true heart of this story isn't Liam and Ally, even though I will ship those two forever and always. (How many ways do I love Liam? SO MANY.) It's because the heart of the book is Van and Ally's friendship, and that made my heart so ridiculously happy.
I love me a good romance. I really do. Heck, I write them. I read them all the time. But the books of my heart, to write and to read, are friendship books. My YA years would have been hell without my best friend, and so infrequently do you see that portrayed in books. And my friendship with my BFF is similar to Van's and Ally's- our lives were and are very different. Like Ally and Van, we started off in the same high school, but I ended up going to a different one. We didn't have each other in class every day, but the amount of time we spent on the phone and hanging out definitely made up for it :). And even though we don't have as much in common as we did when we were three and sticking beads up our noses at summer camp together, I knew that she had my back and I had hers.
Ally and Van have one of the best friendships I've seen in a YA book- even though a guy 'gets between them', he really doesn't at all. Okay, so he does, but not in the 'both of them have a crush on him and who's he gonna pick?' but in the 'someone comes into your life that makes you reevaluate the choices you've been making' way. And it was GLORIOUS.
It's a Hollywood book done right- right in that it shows that like People magazine likes to say, Stars! They're Just Like Us! Well, except for the glorious good looks and scads of money and *way* too many people fascinated by what's going on in their lives.
BEHIND THE SCENES shows the real side of Los Angeles, and the real side of Hollywood. The side that's not celebrity LaLa Land, but the side that's audition disappointments, it's the reality of how horrible the 'no's are, crazy PR reps and how much of your soul you really need to give to the Devil known as Hollywood. It's the rest of LA- and I promise you, there are actually people who live there who have *nothing* at all to do with the movie industry.
It's FAMILY DYNAMICS, praise the Lord- and it's not super dysfunctional parents/dead parents, either. Ally's family is wonderful and so refreshingly real. Her family, along with Van- actually, maybe even more so than Van, is the epicenter of the book. Her dad's cancer diagnosis is the tipping point that leads her to needing to spend time with the Hollywood part of Los Angeles.
I could honestly go on and on about this book for another one or two thousand words, but I'm going to spare you.
Tl;dr: I love Ally. I love Ally and Van's friendship. I love Ally's family. Liam *IS* swoon-worthy. Josh is my new favorite person. Some seriously wonderful social commentary on the white-washing of Hollywood. Realistic family dynamics, and difficult situations dealt with with wonderful sincerity.
Should you read this book?
And you should read it in a house, and you should read it with a mouse. You should read it on a boat and with a goat. In the rain or on the train! Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!
And because it's Dahlia and I am nothing if not a good friend, here are some GLORIOUS abs for her to use for... research. Right. Research. *Nods*
(KK's note: She is also the Queen of Twitter, where's she better known as @MissDahlELama)
Happy belated book birthday, BEHIND THE SCENES!
GO BUY THE BOOK, PEOPLE.
The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/
And then we'll all talk about how UNDER THE LIGHTS is coming out in a little less than a year and y'all need to push that release date up, Spencer Hill, because I need me some Josh and Van in my life, pronto.
Happy Wednesday y'all!