Book 83 of 2015: Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler

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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.

I received an ARC from an employee of the publisher for an honest review. No compensation was given.

When I saw Under the Lights on a Goodreads giveaway, I got excited. There aren’t many LGBTQ books out there. At least from my experience. I love reading something that isn’t frequent, whether it is the story or characters. Under the Lights had those two qualities.

For instance, I’m not much of a Hollywood Contemporary reader. I’ve read more contemporary lately, but the genre is still rare enough for me. Under the Lights center on the lives of young adults who live under the limelight. They are celebrities, actors, and some are spoiled.

The first main character, Vanessa, actually lives with her parents despite years of TV success. Her parents value education over acting. Even though Vanessa is rich and is successful, none of it seems to go to her head. She seems fairly level-headed. The only celebrity thing that gets into her head is making her publicist happy (which in turn makes her image that much better and more sellable for future roles).

The second main character, Josh, is the spoiled rich guy. He mostly does modeling with the occasional spot on film. He drinks, parties, but is loyal to his friends.

The book is written in their separate point of views. Each of their storylines deal with their own personal issues and conjoin together at times. For the most part, I felt Vanessa took over the book. In a good way. She had a more emotional impact with me. Josh’s story wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as filled with emotion as Vanessa (for me).

Overall the book was good. I liked Vanessa’s story and did have an interest in her. The Hollywood element was new for me and I can’t imagine that life, but I realize that the book may not be that far off from reality. The writing is simple and easy to get into. In all, it was a nice break from other books I’ve read.

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