by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Book 1: Next Door to a Star
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.
But being popular is a lot harder than it looks.
Cliques. Back-stabbing. Love gone bad. Is this really what it’s like to live…Next Door To A Star?
“Reading this book had me going, “Oh I had a friend like that.” Krysten Hager certainly knows how to write a wonderful story with believable characters.”
“Hager totally nails teen drama and angst, complete with cliques, first loves, first kisses, and all the associated gossip with that age group.”
“This book reminds you that everyone has their own insecurities and everyone goes through the same difficult times and that even when you feel alone, you’re not.”
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Book 2: Competing with the Star
Hadley Daniels’s life seems perfect…
Before the beginning of sophomore year of high school, Hadley and her family move to a beautiful beach town, where she makes amazing new friends and lands the boyfriend of her dreams—Nick Jenkins. He’s the kind of guy every girl swoons over, and it isn’t long until Hadley discovers some are still swooning.
A famous ex-girlfriend makes matters more complicated. After some time dating, Hadley and Nick form a deep bond and he is able to confide in her his anguish over his grandfather’s Lewy Body dementia. But insecurity sets in when Hadley discovers her boyfriend once had a huge crush on her friend—who just happens to be the beautiful former teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson.
The past is the past—or so they say… Love, betrayal, friendship…who needs soap opera drama when you’re busy competing with a star?
“I really enjoyed how Hager allowed Nick to show his insecurities. Though they are stereotypically attributed to females, males have them as well, and it was nice to see them incorporated into this story. Hager, through her characters, admirably educates the reader on Lewy body dementia, a little-known disease.”
“Krysten did a great job getting the voice of a 15-year-old girl down. I felt like I was watching a teenage drama unfold, which, technically I was.”
CIR: What inspired this series?
HAGER: I used to spend summers with my grandparents and go to the beach towns near Lake Michigan. I spent a lot of time in Grand Haven, Michigan as a teen and it used to hit me how you could almost start over in a new location. I also used to imagine running into celebrities there. What inspired the themes of the book: fitting in, finding your tribe, being yourself, and dealing with frenemies, came from things I witness and experienced as a teenager. A lot of the Morgan/Pilar interactions are things I witnessed in high school, and I used to wonder why do these girls’ friends let them get away with treating them so badly?
CIR: What is the main character like?
HAGER: Hadley is a typical teen just trying to figure out where she wants to fit in and where she is actually comfortable fitting in. She is intrigued by the former teen celebrity, Simone, who is everything she wants to be. But what Hadley doesn’t realize is that Simone is still trying to feel comfortable with herself even though her friends assume she has it all together. Simone is as insecure, if not more so, than the others and she is trying to figure out who her true friends are as well.
CIR: Are any of the characters based on people you know?
HAGER: When I was writing the book, I used memories from high school where some of the girls would make passive aggressive remarks or make those “just kidding” comments that really pack a sting. I wanted to show how that can happen and why we still go back and stay friends with those people or why we even want to fit in with those kinds of people. This summer I attended my high school reunion and witnessed some of those same situations still happening all these years later.
CIR: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
HAGER: I enjoyed writing the humor in the story and the sweet, innocent romance between Hadley and her crush/love interest, Nick Jenkins, who is part of the popular crowd, but very sweet and down-to-earth. I also enjoyed showing that we all deal with insecurities no matter who we are, what we look like, or where we come from. As I was writing Next Door to a Star, I found myself really rooting for Hadley to “find her tribe,” and stay true to herself at the same time.
CIR: What messages do you hope your readers will get out of this book?
HAGER: I hope readers will see that everyone deals with insecurity and self-doubt—we see that even as successful and famous former teen star, Simone Hendrickson, still struggles with self-esteem issues and how she puts up with Morgan and Pilar’s passive aggressive comments just to fit in. I hope readers will also take away what it means to be a good friend and how to appreciate your friends for who they are.