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.
Review by Katy Haye:
I loved Under the Lights. My key requirement of a work of fiction is to make me care, and I did.
It’s deliciously genre-subverting, which I loved, being a bit of a book nerd. It plays on romance expectations (Josh, starting the book as a bit of an arse – I think even he’d accept that – will redeem himself and they’ll fall in love), then takes the book in delightfully different directions. I don’t want to give any spoilers (although there’s a hefty hint in the blurb), but it’s all very satisfying. Josh clearly had a heck of a character arc to travel in order to be worthy of a woman like Vanessa – and you’ll have to read the book to see how his arc ends up.
Vanessa herself was simply wonderful. The book’s so well-written that I got right inside her skin. I wanted her to get the life she wanted – even when she wasn’t sure what that was. And when she had to choose I agonised along with her. The dialogue between her and Brianna was a particular pleasure – snappy and entertaining, then building in intensity and truthfulness as the relationship did.
Under the Lights is an easy read, but there’s also real, beautiful depth to it.
An emphatic 5 Piranhas – I’m going straight out to read Dahlia’s other Daylight Falls novel, Behind the Scenes.
Dahlia Adler is interviewed in the next edition of Book Bites (out in March). Sign up if you’d like to receive a copy.