NA Review: Behind the Scenes by Kathryn White

17704180Catlin Ryan is determined to escape her dreary life in a beachside 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?

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You know that feeling when you read a book and it’s like deja vu? I just had that feeling. BEHIND THE SCENES is a fascinating story of life as an rising actor in a soap opera, with a plot line that follows Every Other Book Ever.

Writing? The writing is quick-moving and engaging. It only falls into the trap of Must Explain Everything, which (as a reader) drives me crazy. We get told something happens, then the action is explained, and then the characters tell each other what just happened. I got it the first time. But the overall flow is easy going. I gobbled it in a few hours.

Characters? Our narrator is Catlin Ryan, who’s 18 and just finished school. She wants to be an actor. CUE SONG: There’s noooo business like shooooow business, there’s noooo business I knoooow! (Okay! Don’t cue song!) But still! Catlin was really naive, and honestly, a bit immature. After a childhood of her mother on alcohol and drugs, living in a caravan park, and being dirt poor…I thought she’d be more life-savvy. But nope. She was quite happy to be bossed around and directed and…frankly I just wanted her to stand up for herself. She acted capable in the first section of the book — but when she moved in with her father, she turned into a totally dependant teenager. Who cried a lot. A

Also: Why did she move back in with her father? She’d been living alone for nearly 3 years! Why didn’t she rent an apartment? She moved to Melbourne for a job, so she had money coming in. The friction between her and her father and step-mother was sparky. It made for an interesting plot, I suppose, but why move in?! She was an adult!

Plot? It’s very average. Rise to fame. Gets in with the catty rich girls. Makes naive mistakes in front of paparazzi. Wears expensive sunglasses. Eats. Pukes. Drinks. Repeat last three multiple times. Hates a guy, fall in love with a guy… The only difference to the “norm” was Catlin’s backstory. Which she remembers nothing about.

I would have just liked a little communication in this book. After Catlin goes to live with her estranged father, he never talks to her about her past. He never explains anything. He never tries to repair the damage she OBVIOUSLY feels because she’s been abandoned as a child! Multiple times! He just expects her to do everything he says and be a “big happy family”.

If you’re looking for a New Adult book with more plot than romance, this is it! (Yay!) It keeps the action moving about the ins and outs of rising fame, while it lulls you to sleep with its Plain Jane characters and severe under-use of chocolate pudding. I’m glad pudding sneaked in, because it sounded delicious.

Cait has been waiting a long time for the chance to use Easy A GIFs. That’s a seriously funny movie. But anyway! You can catch more Cait-ish-reviews at her blog, or see her fangirl about books on twitter.

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