Landry gets pushed into trying out for the American Ingénue reality show modeling competition with her two best friends. She doesn’t think she stands a chance, but she advances to the next level in the competition and her friends ignore her when they get cut.
Enter the gorgeous Devon, who also makes the first cut and includes Landry in her clique. Devon becomes the perfect best friend, but can their friendship survive the competition?
Landry hopes her big break could come at any moment, but soon sees there’s much more to modeling. She begins missing out on being with friends and has the chance to have a boyfriend when she meets a boy named Vladi from another school.
Part of Landry wants to be famous (and have her hair look good for once), but part of her just wants to be accepted. She learns about friendships, being true to yourself, and that a good hair conditioner doesn’t hurt.
Targeted Age Group:: 9 and up
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wrote the book I would have wanted to read at that age. I was a huge middle grade and YA fan when I was growing up. I always thought it would be amazing if I could write something that made someone feel the way my favorite authors made me feel. I wanted readers to see that everyone feels insecure at some point in their life. We always assume everyone else around them has life figured out and it’s just us that are floundering, but we all have our moments of self-doubt. I think the theme of friendship, loyalty, and fair weather friends reaches all ages groups. Basically, we’ve all been there and can all relate to what Landry faces with her friends.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Landry, the main character, thinks everyone else has life sorted out and she’s the only one who feels insecure, but then we see how Ericka and Tori react out of jealousy and how Devon gets possessive when she feels that way. Thalia was an interesting character to write because she is much more self-assured at that age than I ever was—I’m still not as self-assured. She isn’t the most popular of the girls in school, but there’s a strength to her in that she doesn’t care what people think. I wish I had felt that way at that age. Actually, I wish I felt that way now.
The competition was for girls between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, but it felt like Ericka, Tori, and I were the youngest ones there. I only saw a couple of girls from school, and the lineup looked more like something you’d see on a music video set. All the girls were gorgeous, and they had these curvy womanly bodies. I looked like a skinny little kid next to them. The first girl walked out, and I heard the judges say she “owned the runway,” and, “walked like a gazelle.” I was starting to feel ill. I wasn’t sure which way it was going to come, but I knew I had to find a bathroom — fast. I started to get out of line when Ericka grabbed my wrist.
“It’s almost time,” she said. A tiny bit of spit flew out of her mouth and hit my cheek.
I wasn’t sure why she was so intent on me going through with it, but she had a death grip on my arm, so I didn’t have much of a choice. Her number was called and she walked out to the stage. One of the other girls said she walked like a kid with sand bucket stilts on her feet, but she came back with a smirk on her face like she knew she’d get chosen.
“They said they had never seen such long legs,” she said.
Tori was next.
“She walks like a gorilla at feeding time,” said the girl behind me. I went next, and I tried to focus on not tripping over my feet. My mom’s pumps had a rubber sole on the bottom, which probably wasn’t the brightest idea seeing as my shoes were making squeaking noises as I walked. I was so nervous I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked. I looked like the plastic clown who blows up balloons with its mouth at the Pizza Palace. When I got to the end of the runway, I tried to cross my feet to turn like the other girls had, but I over rotated and ended up doing a full spin which made my kilt fan out and gave the mall walkers a view of my blue underpants. I tried to act like it was intentional and did an extra turn. One of the judges put her hand up to stop me, and I held my breath as she started to speak.
Krysten Lindsay Hager is an Amazon bestselling author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. TRUE COLORS is her debut novel from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows.