Review: Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler (Daylight Falls #2)

Note: This ARC was provided by Spencer Hill Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Josh Chester has had it easy. He's good looking, has a bad boy reputation, lives in the beach house his parents own, throws parties whenever he wants, sleeps with an array of girls, and does it all without having to do more than pose for the camera every now and again. He signs up for a guest starring story arc on Daylight Falls in order to free up his best friend who is slated to do a movie. Well, life is about to change for him, especially if he wants to keep living the lifestyle he's gotten way too used to. He's got cameras following him around for the reality show his mother has blackmailed him into. Josh is going to have make decisions pretty soon, decisions that have been a long time coming.

Vanessa Park is the star of the most popular teen drama on television, but ratings and the number of autographs she gives out isn't the barometer of success as far as her very traditional parents are concerned. They want her to focus on her education and get a degree, but Vanessa would rather flip through scripts than textbooks any day. As if the pressure from her parents wasn't enough, there's also her publicist, who's constantly reminding of the dos and donts of being a teen star. Now, her publicist even has her daughter playing babysitter, but Brianna Harris is affecting Vanessa in ways she never expected, and if her suspicions are right, what she's feeling could very well doom her career.

Under the Lights is the second book in the Dahlia Adler-penned young adult (YA) romance series Daylight Falls. After Ally Duncan and Liam Holloway's love story in the first book, we now have Josh Chester's and Vanessa Park's stories to read for our enjoyment. From the best friends of Ally and Liam, respectively, Josh and Vanessa appear to be caught in life-changing circumstances that will force them to make choices that will affect their immediate futures. While Vanessa has always known that she was meant to be an actress, Josh has been more wishy-washy about what it is he wants to do with the rest of his life. When his mother threatens to kick him out of the beach house he lives in if he doesn't sign on to be part of her reality show, he realizes he has to figure out what his next move is going to be. In Vanessa's case, she needs her parents to accept that acting is what she really wants as her career path and she has to decide what to do regarding her feelings for Brianna Harris and if Brianna and coming out with her newly discovered sexuality are something she seriously wants to risk her blossoming career for.

I've been a fan of Josh's since book one and I'm glad that we finally learn more about him. It's easy to relate to his situation but you can't help but smirk at the fact that the guy has no other choice but to start doing more than look good and throw a rip-roaring party for his posse. He's obviously a good person, as evidenced by what he did for Ally and Liam in book one and what he was willing to do for Liam here in book two, but he's always been rudderless, aimlessly wading along the shores of his so-called life. He's snarky and witty and his interactions with K-Drama, erm, Vanessa were memorable, especially with all the back and forth between these two people who don't back down. I did find myself wanting a bit more for him as far as the ending was concerned but I guess it's understandable why it ended the way it did, because it's Josh Chester, for heaven's sake, and the world is his effing oyster and it's enough that he's enjoying making his one decision at a time and living his life the same way. I'm still going to hope that he'll get, at the very least, a novella, just to prove the guy actually has a plan for the his life.

Vanessa's story, which interweaves quite nicely with Josh's, is a thought-provoking one, because it involves trying to show her parents that she knows what she's doing even if they don't agree with it and realizing that she could very well be attracted to another girl. Those two things hanging over her head and not having her best friend Ally by her side to listen to her woes are difficult enough to deal with, and then she finds herself irritated with Liam because he isn't around either. This leads, of course, to a very unlikely friendship with Josh, and the two seem like a perfect fit. She puts him in his place and he puts things in perspective for her. His reaction to her situation with Brianna was one that I loved and I was happy that what was happening between Vanessa and Brianna wasn't rushed and that Vanessa truly was trying to figure out her feelings for Brianna, seeing as she's never felt that way for any of the guys she's been with before. Whether you're straight or not, it isn't difficult to empathize with Vanessa' situation, especially for readers who've been with someone that they didn't think others would accept.

I've enjoyed the two books in the Daylight Falls series, and I must say that I was glad that we still get a progress report of sorts on Ally and Liam's relationship because those two were just too cute for words in Behind the Scenes. One of the best things about both books was its subtle emphasis on family and how there are families that will accept you wholeheartedly, then there are those that simply need a bit of time, and that there are others who are family in name only. Family can be the one you choose to create for yourself and with the four characters--Josh, Vanessa, Liam, and Ally--that holds true. They started out as two separate sets of best friends and became a foursome that surpassed mere friendship. I'm not sure if there are any other books on the horizon for the series, but I certainly wouldn't mind if there were. Dahlia Adler's charming writing style is irresistible and I look forward to reading more from her, whether Daylight Falls-related or not. I'm giving Under the Lights 4.5 stars out five. ♥

Release Date: 30 June 2015

Date Read: 25 June 2015

Learn more about Dahlia Adler here.

Pre-order Under the Lights on Amazon | B&N | Kobo.


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