Sophomore Emme starts dating Brendon Agretti, the popular and good-looking senior who happens to be a senator’s son. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world, and it doesn’t help that his picture-perfect ex, Lauren wants him back–and every other girl wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti, too. Already conflicted because her last boyfriend cheated, Emme’s whole world is off kilter with family issues.
Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her until she realizes she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.
“Krysten has a way of really getting into their heads and sharing their inner thoughts and feelings. There are a lot of really funny parts, as well as a lot of emotion. You really feel like you’re reading about people you know and you get so invested you can’t put it down.”
“I loved this book! I swooned, I cried, my heart ached. I wanted to shake people so that they would stop being so stupid. I would LOVE a sequel!”
“Such a sweet book about friendships and soulmates I love how it made me fall right back to my teenage years. All the different kind of friends, drama and trying to figure out who you are. Such a great book!!”
CIR: What inspired Dating the It Guy?
HAGER: I was watching a bio on TV of John F. Kennedy Jr. and thought, what would it have been like to date someone like that in high school. I ended up taking an old short story from my first college creative writing class and went from there.
CIR: What was your favorite part of writing this story?
HAGER: I love the scene where the three friends: Margaux, Emme, and Kylie, end up together after the dance in the limo and they go out to get snacks and are having a girls’ night. It is a fun moment for me because it celebrates friendship at these dances more than romantic relationships. I think so often in high school people focus on finding the right boyfriend or girlfriend and don’t appreciate their friendships as much as they should.
CIR: What was the hardest part of writing this story?
HAGER: Emme has to deal with the loss of her grandma and the fact her grandpa develops dementia. I had to dig into my own experiences for that and there’s a scene where her grandpa has a good day where he’s very aware, and Emme says she was going to hold onto that moment–that hit me while writing it.
CIR: Who is your favorite character and why?
HAGER: I love Emme because of her sense of humor and caring about the people in her life–particularly her grandpa. I also love Brendon and how he seems like he has a charmed life as a senator’s son, but he shares the pressures it puts on him and for what he wants to do with his future. He wants to study journalism when he gets to college, but his dad has already said he won’t pay for that and wants him to follow in the family footsteps going to law school and running for office like he did and his grandfather and other family members.
CIR: What other books, movies or shows might you compare to this story?
HAGER: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson and really you can look at a lot of biographies of JFK. Jr. and his life with his wife and see it from a teenage point of view.
CIR: What themes do you address in this story?
HAGER: There’s a sweet romance, but we also see self-worth and self-esteem issues, the loss of a grandparent, dealing with family illness and dementia and learning to stay true to who you are. I hope readers realize a lot of people don’t feel like they measure up or are worthy. I also hope they look at Brendon’s character and see that just because someone looks like they have a charmed life doesn’t mean it really is on the inside. Everyone has their struggles and their own things to deal with on their journey.