Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.
Find out more about Krysten here:
Krysten's latest book, Next Door to a Star, is out now.
Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnLXsu2c43k
I asked Krysten to tell us what inspired her to write the story.
When I started writing Next Door to a Star years ago, I began with writing about a high school girl, Hadley Daniels, who had her best friend she was exclusive with and then one day that friend moves away. Suddenly Hadley has to start all over. I had watched girls have this happen to them and starting over in high school is very different than starting over at a younger age or grade. By the time you get to high school, cliques and groups have formed and there often isn’t any room for “outsiders.” I imagined Hadley feeling ostracized at school and daydreaming about a more exciting life—one that was far more glamourous than her classmates’ lives and involving celebrities. So when the opportunity comes for Hadley to spend her summer in a beautiful beach town on Lake Michigan and live next door to a former teen TV star named Simone Hendrickson, well, she jumps at the chance. But Hadley isn’t just running to something more exciting, she’s running from the label and perceived image people have of her back home and trying to start over somewhere new.
The idea of moving somewhere and having a blank slate was very intriguing to me. Although Hadley was going from her 9th grade year into her 10th, I remember when I made the move from my small private school to the bigger high school with tons of people I didn’t know. Going from a small protective (and what felt like an extremely restrictive environment) into a place where I felt freer to be myself was exhilarating. My small school felt so oppressive and there I did things to go along with the crowd and not makes waves—like Hadley does. But once I was able to be myself and make friends who had my same interests and allowed me to be myself it was like a whole new world opened up. So I wanted Hadley to crave that experience of wanting to get into a new life, but I also wanted to show that sometimes when you’re a teen you’re not one-hundred percent sure who you want to be. It’s not that you don’t know who you are—it’s that you’re not always comfortable with it. Sometimes it seems so much easier to be someone else—someone who fits in and everyone likes and accepts already, like Simone and her friends. It seems like it will always feel more comfortable following the crowd instead of making your own way. However, sometimes you find yourself going along with the group and getting walked on—just liked Hadley does when Simone takes her for granted and soon, to fit in, Hadley finds herself doing that to another girl.
Growing up is all about finding out who you are and where you fit in, but it’s also about appreciating yourself for what is unique about you. It’s easy to want what someone else has or look like another person, but it’s hard to appreciate what makes you special and be comfortable in your own skin. We learn through trial and error and we sometimes do things to fit in, but at the end of the day when we are comfortable with who we are, we show our best selves and at the end of the day that’s really all that matters.
Here's the blurb:
Hadley Daniels is tired of feeling invisible.
After Hadley’s best friend moves away and she gets on the bad side of some girls at school, she goes to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Lake Michigan resort town of Grand Haven. Her next door neighbor is none other than teen TV star Simone Hendrickson, who is everything Hadley longs to be—pretty, popular, and famous—and she’s thrilled when Simone treats her like a friend.
Being popular is a lot harder than it looks.
It’s fun and flattering when Simone includes her in her circle, though Hadley is puzzled about why her new friend refuses to discuss her former Hollywood life. Caught up with Simone, Hadley finds herself ignoring her quiet, steadfast friend, Charlotte.
To make things even more complicated, along comes Nick Jenkins…
He’s sweet, good-looking, and Hadley can be herself around him without all the fake drama. However, the mean girls have other ideas and they fill Nick’s head with lies about Hadley, sending him running back to his ex-girlfriend and leaving Hadley heartbroken.
So when her parents decide to relocate to Grand Haven, Hadley hopes things will change when school starts…only to be disappointed once again.
Cliques. Back-stabbing. Love gone bad.
Is this really what it’s like to live…Next Door To A Star?
And just to whet you appetite, here's an extract:
The school year should end right after spring break, because all anyone can focus on is summer vacation. You can’t learn anything new, because all you can think about is all the fun stuff you’re going to do once you don’t have to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Summer always seems full of possibilities.
Nothing exciting ever happens during the school year, but maybe, during summer vacation, you could run into a hot celebrity and he’d decide to put you in his next music video. Okay, it wasn’t like I knew anybody that happened to, but my grandparents did live next door to a former TV star, Simone Hendrickson, and Simone was discovered in an ice cream parlor one summer. Of course, she lived in L.A. at the time and was already doing plays and commercials, so the guy who discovered her had already seen her perform. But hey, it was summer, she got discovered, and that was all that mattered.
Amazing stuff didn’t happen to me. You know what happened to me last summer? I stepped on a bee and had to go to the emergency room. They’re not going to make an E! True Hollywood Story out of my life. I didn’t go on exotic vacations—like today, I was being dragged along with my parents to my cousin’s graduation party. Most people waited until at least the end of May before having a grad party, but Charisma was having hers early because she was leaving on a trip to Spain. I was dreading this party because I didn’t want to listen to everybody talk about how smart and talented Charisma was—making me feel like a blob in comparison—but my mom RSVP’d even though I said I’d rather die than go. My death threats meant nothing. But still, for some strange reason, I had a feeling this summer was going to be different.
Want to read more? You can buy the book here:
Thanks for dropping by to talk to us, Krysten!