Monday, May 10, 2021

Competing with the Star by Krysten Lindsay Hager - Book Tour

Competing with the Star

The perfect guy, the perfect location. What could go wrong?

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. She and Nick form a deep bond, but insecurity sets in when Hadley discovers her boyfriend once had a huge crush on her friend—who just happens to be the beautiful teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson. Nick claims to be over Simone, but then Hadley is blindsided with the news that Nick and Simone kissed after school. Now Hadley must determine who is telling the truth.

Love, betrayal, friendship…who needs TV drama when you’re busy competing with a star?

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In this scene, Hadley is dealing with relationship ghosts from her boyfriend Nick’s ex who still has feelings for him. This is Hadley’s first boyfriend and she’s insecure about that, so having his amazing ex pop up is really difficult for her. She has to find her voice to speak up about her insecurities.

“It’s super awkward since I have so many classes with Reagan,” he said referring to his ex.

What?” I asked.             

“Yeah, she’s in a bunch of my classes. I thought I told you that.”

Uh, no, I would have remembered that. It would have been seared into my brain right next to the times this jerk from my old school, Brittany Buchanan, humiliated me in front of my ninth grade class by calling me a loser, or the many other times she embarrassed me.


“Oh, well, it’s no big deal, right? We’re together now,” he said as my mind raced.

“Yeah, but yesterday she made me feel…” Gut wrenching pain. Like I wanted to sink through the floor. pukey. Like punching her in the face. “…uncomfortable when she said that stuff.”

“Oh yeah…that,” he said, pretending to straighten the napkins in his cup holder.

“It was as if she was trying to make me feel…” like crap, insecure, like your second choice, “…left out.”

“I think she was just trying to make me look stupid because I broke up with her. I mean, remember we broke up over you,” he said. “She knew I still had feelings for you and I think she was threatened by it the whole time she and I were together.”

It was odd to think that perfect-looking Reagan could be threatened by me in the slightest.

“And you are over her?”

“Is that what you’re worried about?” he asked with a little smile. I looked away, hoping he couldn’t see me flush.

“I don’t know.”

“I thought you were just embarrassed she was bringing up the past, but yes, I’m over her.”

I smiled, but my heart wasn’t completely feeling it. Sure, I was embarrassed and wondering how he felt, but part of me was also threatened by what they had had in the past. Reagan made it pretty clear their relationship had been pretty physical, and even though I didn’t want to know details, the whole idea was making me feel so insecure. I wasn’t ready for anything like that and I had never been in that kind of relationship.

Who was I kidding? Nick was my first serious boyfriend and my first kiss, but he didn’t know that. It was one thing for him to have other girlfriends before me, but now it just felt so strange and awkward knowing he and his last girlfriend had been…well, advanced. On a good day I felt like an immature child next to Morgan, Simone, and their group, and now Reagan’s words just made me feel even more like a little kid. It wasn’t that I wanted to be experienced as much as it was that I didn’t want Nick to have had any experiences with her…or anyone else.

“Honestly, Hadley. She and I weren’t right for each other. You and I have so much more in common than she and I ever did,” he said, and I smiled, feeling more relaxed.

Then he added, “And you and I have been able to talk to each other from the first day we met. She and I hardly ever talked.”

Fabulous. Now I could wonder what they did instead. Ugh! Stop talking, Nick. Just tell me I’m the only one and that she was exaggerating and then let’s forget she exists.

“I’m way more comfortable around you too.”

I wanted to ask, “Like how a worn-out pair of yoga pants are after being in the dryer too many times, or are you saying we’re soulmates and will never be apart?”

Instead, I said, “That’s cool.”

“I better get you home or your grandma will hunt me down. Is it weird I’m more scared of her than your dad?” he asked.

I just smiled as my mind was racing too much to give him feedback.

“But just in case I don’t get the chance later,” he said, and then leaned forward and kissed me. He pulled back and looked into my eyes. “I know a lot of girls would be weirded

out about going to a date at a nursing home, but that was seriously the best date I’ve ever been on.” 

“Yeah, it was.”

“Well, it’s tied for second anyway.”


He smiled. “Our first date on the pier was pretty great as well,” he said. “I don’t want to take anything away from that.”

I shook my head and then kissed him. We were comfortable together and that was an amazing thing to have.

Author Bio – Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. Her work includes YA contemporary, middle grade fiction, and adult and young adult rom-coms. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star, Dating the It Guy, Can Dreams Come True, and In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety.

Krysten's work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on the talk show Living Dayton. She received her BA in English and master's degree in liberal studies from the University of Michigan-Flint.

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