Sunday, July 5, 2020
Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler
I find that I have a love-hate relationship with Adler's work. Sometimes I love her books, other times... not so much. It's a shame, because I think she really tries to tackle relevant issues teens actually have to deal with-- things like taking care of younger siblings, dealing with sick or dying parents, living paycheck to paycheck, coming out and/or dealing with everything that comes along with that-- and considering how much she champions diverse books, that doesn't really surprise me. Adler seems to really get what teens want to see in their representation.
I just don't always love her characters or stories.
Initially I really liked BEHIND THE SCENES. Ally is an ordinary girl who's watching her BFF become the next famous TV star (picture the lead on the CW). When she falls for her friend's costar who seems totally out of her league (Liam), she can't help but second guess herself. Especially since she's dealing with her younger sis and a father who might be dying of cancer.
I posted a status update praising Adler for taking complex issues and being realistic about them. If you're a reader of new adult fiction, you'll know that the genre is infamous for taking serious issues and being ridiculous about them for drama's sake. And while drama can be fun, if a serious issue is handled badly enough, it starts to feel insensitive rather than... you know, real. That doesn't happen here, though. No, what made this story fall apart for me was just that I wasn't engaged with the characters. I didn't really buy the romance between Ally and Liam, and I didn't really like how it takes the "hating on Hollywood" low-hanging fruit and makes Liam secretly hate his career.
I own the sequel to this, which apparently has an LGBT+ romance in it, so I'm definitely going to check that one out, but sadly BEHIND THE SCENES will have to stay behind the scenes for now.
2 out of 5 stars