Book Title: Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2)
Author: Dahlia Adler
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Release Date: June 30th 2015
Genre: GLBT, Young Adult/New Adult, Contemporary
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 have a slight confession: I’m not a huge movie person. I know that’s odd coming from someone who writes Hollywood YA, and it’s even odder if you know how frequently I saw movies during high school and seminary. But as an adult, my attention span somehow just won’t stay in place for a movie like it will for a book, which means every year I see maybe one or two, and then I’m one of those jerks livetweeting the Oscars with occasional mentions of how I have no idea what’s going on.
But I digress! I was asked to write about my favorite movies, and dammit, I will deliver. So what if they all came out prior to 2010? These are the best of the best, and as such, they’re truly timeless.
Legally Blonde: I actually just rewatched this with my critique partner, This is Where it Ends author Marieke Nijkamp, and I still absolutely love it. It’s just the most phenomenally feminist movie, with scene after scene of women supporting each other, working on advancing themselves career-wise, screwing up and owning it…and then you have this romantic storyline where the good, supportive, non-judgmental guy wins. It’s basically my favorite things, all rolled in to one.
The Usual Suspects: If you’ve read the Daylight Falls books, you might notice something they have in common—Josh watches this movie in both of them. It’s his favorite, and for good reason: it’s also mine! I could say more about why I love it so much, both personally and for Josh, but I have a no-spoiler policy on this one. Yes, even 20 years later.
Bring it On: I have seen this movie so many times, but while I have a lot of favorite parts involving cheers, romance, and the dearly departed Natina Reed, there’s a single dialogue exchange from this movie that blew my mind hwne I first heard it, and that I still think is so important, and actually really relevant to Vanessa in Under the Lights. When Torrance and Missy are in the car, Missy says, “Look on the bright side—it’s only cheerleading!” to which Torrance responds, “I am only cheerleading!” And I thought that was fantastic. Some people live and breathe their passions in a way that’s incredible to me, even when other people dismiss them as insignificant. They stand tall and proud for what they love, what’s in their bones. They’re obsessed. And I think that is so cool. To me, that’s exactly Van trying to explain to her parents why her acting is so important and how much she believes in what she’s doing. They don’t get it, and she can’t make them, but she also can’t stop, won’t stop.
Empire Records: I don’t even know how many times my friends and I watched this in our teens, but it was a lot. If there’s a movie more gloriously quotable on the planet, I don’t know it. I think Ally and Van would’ve loved watching it together if it wasn’t before their time. Damn kids—get off my lawn.
LA Confidential: I may write about thoroughly modern Hollywood, but this James Ellroy-novel based film Noir looking back on more glamorous times (though a veil of darkness and corruption, of course) was my first great intro into life “behind the scenes.” Of course, the bribery, masquerading, and deceit are a little more hardcore and high-stakes in the movie that really introduced Guy Pearce to America and reunited me with my Usual Suspectslove, Kevin Spacey, but I think Josh, Liam, and Van would be more than happy to participating in a reenactment!
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I’m an Associate Editor of Mathematics by day, a Copy Editor by night, and I blog at The Daily Dahlia, YA Misfits, and the Barnes & Noble book blog. I also write contemporary YA (The Daylight Falls duology) and NA (The Radleigh University series). Rec-ing books is approximately my favorite thing in the universe, with macarons being a close second. Come say hi on Twitter, where I’m @MissDahlELama!