Best Friends…Forever? by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Tag line: Good friends have your back, but some go behind it.
Blurb: Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her best friends make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying.
Landry gets her first boyfriend (her crush, Vladi), but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice about dealing with frenemies from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry faces having to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American Ingénue modeling competition. Will she get a second chance with her friends, fame, and Vladi?
More Info: I have always loved reading books that use humor and have realistic (and relatable) characters. I decided to write the book I wanted to read when I was reading YA and I’m overjoyed it’s now a series where people can follow along on Landry’s journey through dealing with friendships, the ups and downs of school, crushes, relationships, and insecurities. Sure, going back to that time in my own life was a little crazy, but lucky for me there weren’t camera phones to capture me dancing in the school talent show…while wearing jean shorts. If you’re not cringing yet, let’s just say I also had a moment of “genius” where I thought my super dark brown hair would look amazing with “Sun-In” highlights that actually turned my hair a lovely shade of copper. Sigh.
The Landry’s True Colors Series is a clean reads young adult series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image. Best Friends…Forever? was ranked at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values & Virtues Fiction and #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. True Colors is an international bestselling book.
Author bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager is a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.
A day when I can sleep in and maybe have my Grandma Dombrowski make me potato pancakes and then spend time with my friends—maybe movie night at Peyton’s or hanging out at the bookstore with an unlimited book gift card.
I have a crystal butterfly necklace that all my friends got together. At first, they bought it without me and it hurt my feelings, but then my friend India bought me one and I got one for two of my friends.
Not speaking up for myself sometimes and for not asking Vladi about what was going on with Yasmin McCarty right away when those rumors started. My mom says I overthink stuff and I guess I do spend a lot of time worrying about things..
Actually, what I’d most like to have is to feel confident all the time. I second guess myself and overthink too much. I wish I could just go out and say and do what I want, but I worry about people judging me all the time. I’m getting better about it, but it’s still hard.
That’s a tough one because I keep thinking it would be amazing to live in New York City, but I miss my family in Chicago a lot and don’t want to be apart from my friends in Michigan. My mom started talking about moving from Grand Rapids (Michigan), and I was really worried because I’d miss all my friends.
Talisa Milan who is a model that is in business school and an inspiring business woman. And don’t tell my mother this, but I really admire her. I never knew what she went through to become successful in business. She had to overcome a lot of self-doubt and people who tried to discourage her along the way, but she did it anyway and that’s pretty cool.
I recently told Devon the truth about her best friend (India) going behind her back with another guy. I guess she didn’t want to believe that India could do that, but she confronted her and India twisted the truth. For some reason it was easier for Devon to believe her than the truth and they all got mad at me. Then there was a misunderstanding with Ashanti and it hurt to not have one of my best friends speaking to me at the same time my boyfriend broke up with me. It made me leery of telling people the ugly truth, but in the end, I still stayed true to myself (and what was right). I guess you just have to have faith that doing the right thing is still the way to go.
I wrote the scene where Landry and Ashanti go to the school book fair because I loved those when I was in school. I remember walking past the long tables and wanting to buy everything and that was where I got my first scented bookmark—it smelled like cotton candy. Book fairs are awesome.
To create the devastated feeling Landry has during the break up, I listened to sad songs like, Boyce Avenue’s, “Change your Mind,” and I was in the grocery store when they started playing Mariah Carey’s “Can’t Let Go.” I went home and put that on repeat. But it helped me channel the right feeling…and I may have reminded myself of the day when I was a teen and found out one of my favorite athletes had gotten married. How could you, Moose? You hadn’t even met me yet! Ahem, I mean, whatever…
I wrote the makeup counter scene where the salesperson makes Landry feel as if she needs lots of makeup because I hated when I was a teen and women behind the counter had attitudes. I have a yellow tone to my skin and they always made me feel bad saying I needed a “color corrector to cancel it out.” I wanted readers to know they look fine they way they are—it’s just a ploy to get you to buy more.
There are a lot of scenes with Landry getting great advice from her dad because my own father was always the one who gave me the best advice. He was a school administrator, but started off in counseling so he was very sensitive to kids’ feelings. You can really “hear” my dad’s voice in some of the scenes.
I used a lot of my own personal experiences when writing the character, Kendall. My mom was the one who pointed out that she saw a lot of me in the character. That just goes to show people never see themselves in a character!
The freshman information night where Landry goes into total panic mode about seeing how much older the students look is based on my reaction when I went to mine. The idea of high school terrified me, but I ended up liking it. I remember walking in with my friend Barbara and seeing all these girls with their Clinique compacts out fixing their makeup and wondering how everyone had the exact same compact.
The butterfly necklace the girls all want is based on one I bought myself on Mackinac Island. I was looking for something to celebrate the release of the first book in the series, True Colors, and I thought the colors of the crystal represented the book cover for the first book. I decided to put it in the second book since a butterfly is very symbolic of change and metamorphosis, which show the changes Landry goes through as she comes into her own.
Landry’s traumatic hair cut is due to the fact I went to get my hair cut last summer and walked out with a short bob—something I was totally not expecting. It took me a while to get used to it and I felt exposed walking out of the salon, so I wrote down all my feelings and I quickly realized it was meant to be a scene for Landry.
Readers always ask about my inspiration for the Peyton and Ashanti characters. Peyton is a character composite of a bunch of friends I’ve had over the years and Ashanti is what I would imagine the perfect best friend to be: loyal, understanding, fun, and someone you can be yourself around.
The sweet guy in the salon who fixes Landry’s hair for her and makes her feel more comfortable is based on a stylist who was nice to my sister when someone turned her hair orange. It was the day before she was going to start high school and she was desperate to get it fixed. The woman at the salon wanted to dye it black. My sister’s hair is light, so she was thrown. A nice guy came from behind the desk and offered to help. She was able to start 9th grade without an extreme hair color thanks to him. The lesson here is don’t dye your hair right before you start high school.