Author: Krysten Lindsay Hager
Literary genre: Contemporary young adult
Available at: Amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, Books-A-Million, IndieBound
Synopsis of the book: Hadley Daniels and her family move to Grand Haven, Mich., 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. Hadley and Nick form a deep bond when he confides in her about his grandfather’s life-changing diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and dementia. However, insecurity sets in when Hadley discovers her boyfriend was once in love with her friend, who just happens to be the beautiful former teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson. Hadley confronts Nick, who confesses his history with Simone. Although he claims to only have eyes for Hadley now, it’s hard to believe — especially when she’s blindsided with the news that Nick and Simone kissed after school. Now Hadley must determine who is telling the truth as she begins to see a different side of her friends.
Why did you write the book? I wrote the book because I had interviewed an athlete who had a famous ex-girlfriend, and I remember thinking it would be so difficult to date him after that because there would be a constant comparison. I decided to use that idea, but put it in a high school setting where you’re already feeling on display and insecure. Dating is hard in the best situations and it can make you feel unsure of yourself when you’re a teen, but when you add in the pressures of feeling like you have to compete with a celebrity — that takes it to another level. It was important for me to show the male character’s feelings and insecurities, as well, because so many young adult books don’t dive into the guy’s insecurities. I wanted to create a couple you’d root for and feel invested in their lives and relationships.
Author's thoughts about the book: There were no social media sites making people into “instant celebs” when I was a teenager, but now you can be in class with someone who is “Instagram famous” or a YouTube celeb. The pressure of growing up is hard enough, but adding in the whole social media bit, the instant celeb thing, and feeling like you’re in a fishbowl from the constant pictures and posts makes things much more complicated. I feel fortunate my most awkward years weren’t on display. Let’s face it, school picture day was traumatic enough! I feel for teens dealing with that social media culture now.
Book notes: The book is set in Grand Haven because I visit the area at least once a year. I’ve always felt Grand Haven was the perfect setting for a contemporary romance and I set my novel, “Next Door to a Star,” there as well. I’ve been fortunate to have such great readers who contact me to share their feelings about my books and even send pictures of themselves reading the books or places they’ve taken the books via “bookstagram” on Instagram. It’s an amazing feeling to connect with so many people throughout the world due to writing.
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