Tuesday, April 2, 2013

REVIEW: BEHIND THE SCENES BY KATHRYN WHITE

Behind the Scenes is Australian author Kathryn White's fourth novel, and second young adult novel. Inspired in one part by the authors long-forgotten teenage dreams of becoming an actor and in another by the novels of V.C. Andrews, Behind the Scenes tells the story of an eighteen year old aspiring actress who lands a role on her favourite television series and in the process discovers some dark family secrets ...

Catlin Ryan is determined to escape her dreary life in a beach side caravan park. Abandoned by her alcoholic mother, she dreams of a life on the stage and is prepared to work hard to get it. So when she is offered a starring role on her favourite television series, Catlin does not think twice about taking it.

But fame comes with a set of new challenges, long hours, spoiled and demanding colleagues, the paparazzi, some wild parties and Tom, the bitter director who seems to hate her. Then there is the reunion with her father, a brooding retired police officer, who offers her board and lodgings inside a house that is haunted with dark family secrets. Who is Catlin Ryan, really? Why does she keep remembering things that she knows never really happened? Can Catlin reconcile with her past and keep her family secrets out of the tabloids, or is the world destined to know what goes on behind the scenes?

**ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review**Expected to publish in April**Will Update when available!** Checked Kathryn's Blog & Behind the Scenes released today!! Go to her blog to sign up for a giveaway!**


***Shelley*** 3 Stars


This book has so many selling points. Getting a backstage pass to to view an unknown actress turn into the newest starlet? Check. Family drama? Check. Kidnapping? Check. Love interest? Check. Australia? Check. So here's the lowdown on my rating:

1) Catlin. She's a surfer and an actress (heavy on actress, lighter on surfing). She's had a hard life with her mum, Tess, and she's finally getting some good breaks. I like that she has a good head on her shoulders and she stands up for herself. Many of Catlin's interior monologues were refreshingly honest. She doesn't always have the perfect reaction to things or the best response to a situation and that made her very relatable.

2) Catlin's posse. Well that's probably too generous a word for some of them. Tom, Phil, and Sarah offer us brief alternative viewpoints to give us insights into Catlin's behavior and the various bits of intrigue going on. While Tess, Hayden, Adele, Kimmy and Tess offer us the family dynamic (both the love and the drama). I have to say that I love that White made Kimmy into a good sister and not some spiteful, hateful sister. And then there's Catlin's crew from Southcoast--her 'family' that ends up creating a little drama for her. I liked the majority of the cast of characters in this book; they filled in some of the holes for me when I wasn't quite sure what was going on. I even wish there had been more from their perspectives at times.

3) Australia. Recently I've kinda fallen in love with Australia; I attribute that to some of the Australian writers I have been following lately. I love all of the new slang I'm learning and the new landscapes I am being introduced to (I'm a sucker for a good beach with hot surfers on it).

4) Character development and pacing. In case you haven't noticed, I'm a sucker for a well developed character. Catlin had the most potential in this story and while I felt like I knew her best, I didn't always understand her motives. Maybe if we'd had more of her interior thoughts and more interplay with the other characters (I'm so greedy, I ALWAYS want more), I would've identified with her more. I liked that White included viewpoints from the other characters because it helped me see things from their perspectives but at times the story felt jumbled...which leads me to pacing. There were places where the plot and dialogue and characters fit together so naturally but then other times it was rushed (we fast forwarded to another day or week) or we shifted to a perspective and it was sometimes a little disjointed for me. I would willingly read pages and pages about these characters and things they get themselves into if it helped fill in the gaps in the plot and helped the characters to be fully fleshed out.

I liked the premise--a behind the scenes look at unknown actress becoming a starlet, the mystery behind the family dynamic, and the beginnings of a new relationship. So, if you are looking for a light beach read this might just be a good one to take on your spring break vacation.

***Courtney*** 3 stars


I am not constantly copying your rating, I swear! ;) But..Behind the Scenes...I liked it. I will probably say this a thousand more times in my life, but I am kind of obsessed with stories about fame. From bands to actors to pro athletes, I love it all. That might annoy some people, but I think it is fun because it is so far removed from how I live my life. I'm a nurse for crying out loud! I have to get the glitz and glamour somewhere right?! How the other half lives and all that. 

1) Catlin. This poor girl. She hasn't caught a lot of breaks in her life so you can't help but root for her. It made me a little sad that she has these dreams of making herself a star because she enjoys it, but nobody believes in her. The Johnny situation is what I had the most problem with the pacing you mentioned. It went from 0-60 right out of the gate so when something happens to yet another person in Catlin's life, I didn't feel emotionally connected to it. 

2) Posse/People/Backstabbers. We had the almighty gamut of personalities didn't we! This soap opera had more drama off screen than on by far! I am with you 100% on Kimmy! I was really afraid how she was going to be based on how she treated other people, so I was pleasantly surprised with her and how she treats Catlin, and her loyalty to Tom. Sarah and Tess - may they rot in whatever cesspool they end up in. 

3) Australia. Australia. Australia. That pretty much says it all. I really love it too, being all landlocked here! Well, you are too, so you are in my boat!! Anyway, I am also fascinated by accents, so when I can use the dialogue to imagine them talking...eeep, I just love it! (Sorry Australian people if I'm being a typical American here, but you have to admit your country is beautiful!) And Adelaide, I just love that name! 

4) Characters/Pacing. I agree with you that we "knew" Catlin best, then probably Kimmy, but I would've liked to have a little bit more from Tom. He had a lot of issues going for him, and while he really helped Catlin with hers, I felt a little like he got put on the back burner. It seemed like he ended up more put together than I thought, but with all of his angst in the beginning (not in an attractive way, shame on you Tom!) I'd have liked to see more of his transformation detailed. Same with Catlin's relationship with her Dad. I totally got it with him that she would cut off the communication being a typical teenager and running off, but sometimes it switched gears too quick on me. The mistakes and misunderstandings were definitely real life though and definitely relatable. 

Behind the Scenes was a fun, quick read. It didn't weigh me down or wish that it was over, and I really had a lot of fun reading about the train wreck that is Tess and Ken at the end. Karma sucks, doesn't it Tess! 


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