Author: Krysten Lindsay Hager
Literary genre: Contemporary young adult
Available at: Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Books-a-Millions, itunes, Kobo.com
Synopsis of the book: 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. 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.
Why did you write the book?: I wrote the book because I think it’s easy to feel alone and worry that you won’t be accepted if you don’t try to fit in with the crowd. The book shows how we all go through those moments — even the former TV star, Simone, shows how insecure she is, maybe even more so than Hadley. I grew up during the time of the supermodels and I didn’t realize how Photoshopped and fake those images were — and now, with social media sites, it’s only gotten worse. Instead of seeing Cindy Crawford airbrushed, teens are now seeing the girl who sits next to them in algebra using filters to take pictures and trying to gain followers on her Instagram and Facebook page and using her YouTube channel for “insta-fame.” The teen years are already hard enough without adding all these other elements into it. “Next Door to a Star” shows how we all worry about being accepted and have our moments of insecurity, and the book also has moments of humor to keep you laughing.
I set the book in Grand Haven because I went there every summer growing up and always thought it was such a relaxing and beautiful place. I still try to go every year. My dad used to love taking us there on trips and, after he passed away this year, I decided to go to Grand Haven the day after the funeral to try and remember the good memories of those trips with him and my mom. It’s always been a special place to me.
Author's thoughts about the book: I have been in awe of the reaction I’ve gotten from readers from all over the world. People really relate to what Hadley is going through in terms of trying to fit in and find where she truly belongs. What’s interesting is how universal that subject is seeing as I have people emailing me from all corners of the globe to share their feelings with me. It has also shown me how people of all ages deal with insecurity as I have an adult audience who reads my work as well. I love hearing from readers, which is actually how the sequel to the book came about. “Next Door to a Star” wasn’t originally intended to be part of a series, but I had a lot of readers writing to ask what happened to Nick and Hadley. ... The second book, “Competing with the Star” (Star Series: Book 2) will be out March 22.
About the author: Krysten Lindsay Hager is the author of the “Landry’s True Colors Series,” a clean reads young adult series set in Grand Rapids, and the new “Star Series,” set in Grand Haven. She writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, “frenemies,” the celebrity world, values, and self-image in “True Colors” and “Best Friends ... Forever?” as well as in “Next Door to a Star.” “Best Friends ... Forever?” was ranked No. 1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values & Virtues Fiction, and “True Colors” was an international bestseller. Krysten has worked as a journalist and is originally from Michigan. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint. Follow her writing journey at www.krystenlindsay.com.