UNDER THE LIGHTS, cover reveal!

Today, we have a first for DiversifYA: a (partial) cover reveal! More specifically, the cover for UNDER THE LIGHTS, the fantastic sophomore novel by long-time DivYA supporter and all around Queen of YA Dahlia Adler. UNDER THE LIGHTS is probably one of my favorite things Dahlia has written, not in the least because of Josh 😉 More than that though, I adore UNDER THE LIGHTS for the fantastic queer characters. It’s not often I find characters that resonate so strongly with me, and oh, I can’t wait for you all to meet these two!

Dahlia: Hey, all, and thanks for checking out part 2 of the UNDER THE LIGHTS cover reveal, and to DiversifYA for hosting! I’m so excited to be here, because DivYA interviews were such an instrumental part in my writing this book. I have to give thanks to everyone who shared their experiences of being either Korean-American or QUILTBAG, which were wonderful to read while crafting a character who is both. In case you missed part 1 of the reveal, which contains a clip of the cover, some facts about the books, and an excerpt from Josh’s POV, you can find it now on my own personal blog. Now, here’s a little more of my new cover…


…and an excerpt from Vanessa’s POV, in which you can see just how much the two of them love working together…and who’s fast becoming Van’s source of artistic inspiration.

“Well, somebody’s in a sunshine-y mood,” Josh says when I return to set to try the scene again.

Trust Josh to observe my crankiness the second I drop the fake smile I’d pasted on for Brianna’s sake. “Somebody wishes she didn’t have Hollywood’s biggest sociopath trying to move in on her show,” I correct him. “And if you think I’m okay with the fact that I have to subject myself to your diseased mouth for this next scene, you’re out of your freaking mind. I hope you at least had the courtesy to gargle mouthwash during this break.”

“Funny, I didn’t see you gargling anything but your drool over me,” Josh says casually, “so, let’s call it even.”

Have I mentioned I loathe Josh Chester?

“All right, everyone, places!” I force myself to re-inhabit Bailey’s body and let her inhabit mine as we get into places for the next scene, an infuriating one in which Josh’s natural smugness will be quite the asset. In fact, he’s pretty spot on with his character, Luke—an egomaniacal jackass who gets everything he wants. The difference is, Luke and Bailey are totally into each other.

Josh and I would rather die.

I practiced these lines a thousand times on my treadmill at home last night, and they come back to me with ease now. “You need to stop chasing me, Luke. Accept that I’m not yours and I’m never gonna be yours.”

“Accept that?” Josh-as-Luke spits, his amber eyes flashing. “Why should I accept that when deep down, you haven’t?”

For some reason, Brianna pops in my head just then. I quickly replace the image with Zander, and realize that’s no better. I just need to clear my mind, and stop letting Josh get to me.

“You have no idea what I think,” I return, letting my voice quiver a little. Bailey’s a bit of a drama queen—nothing like me in real life. “You have no idea how I feel.”

“Oh, I know how you feel,” Josh-as-Luke says, stepping closer, close enough that I can smell the cinnamon gum on Josh’s breath that proves he did prepare for this scene, at least a little bit. He reaches out and strokes my cheek, his fingertips caressing my jaw. “I know exactly how you feel.”

And then he pulls me close and kisses me, just as the script demands. I tell myself to imagine it’s Zander’s mouth on mine, but that’s not helping me muster up the enthusiasm I need. Especially since I’m all too aware of Brianna’s laser-green eyes on me, imagining those lips in their naturally smug curve—

I don’t even realize I’ve opened my mouth until I get the strong, sharp taste of cinnamon on my tongue, and I shove him away. I’m grateful we’re still in mid-scene, because I know Josh would be grinning at me like a wolf if we weren’t, sure I’d succumbed to his charms, ignorant of the fact that I’d forgotten I was kissing him at all. But he’s Luke now, not Josh, and his face flashes with hurt and confusion and heat instead.

“You want me,” he says determinedly. “I know you do. And you may think you want Monroe, but he’ll never kiss you like I do. So before you decide to toss me aside for that surf bum, you better be sure you’re okay with losing what you’re giving up.” One more hard kiss, and then he walks out.


Everyone seems pretty pleased with the scene, but of course, we have to film it again. We get back into place, and as we do, I catch a glimpse of Brianna standing next to an empty chair, thumbs tucked in to the belt loops of her denim miniskirt, jaw clenched tight until she notices me noticing her.

If I don’t know better, I’d say she wasn’t all that thrilled with that scene.

And for some reason, that gets me excited to do it all over again.

One Response to UNDER THE LIGHTS, cover reveal!

  1. […] the reveal! For part II, which will have an excerpt from Vanessa’s POV, drop by the fabulous DiversifYA at 10 a.m., […]