Every day I walked down the sidewalk to school and wished I were one of the interesting popular girls who ran up with exciting news. Just once I’d like to be one of those girls instead of the being the one who didn’t get invited to things because people “forgot” about me.
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.
Krysten Lindsay Hager is an 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 bestselling 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. She received her master’s in American Culture from the University of MichiganFlint.
-Top 10 Facts About TRUE COLORS-
- The idea for the story came about originally when I was in the sixth grade. I used to read those YA and middle grade novels about those groups of girls who had the perfect close-knit relationships—the whole best friend forever thing personified. I was in grade school and I saw the cover of the Bangles “Everything” cd and they looked like that type of clique and I wondered what they were like at thirteen/fourteen. As an adult I wrote the story to show how Landry thinks everyone else has these tight groups of friends who never get mad at one another and everything is always perfect and she wants that and hopes to find it with Devon, Peyton and India. However, reality sets it…reality is such a bummer sometimes, isn’t it?
- The older actor Devon has a crush on that the other girls make fun of her for is based on my crush on Liam Neeson.
- People ask if I had best friend necklaces/bracelets/earrings/etc. when I was growing up. Yup, with several friends. Some I’m still close with, too. The day I told my writing group about my book contract I noticed I was wearing a silver bracelet with a heart charm and it never occurred to me before how much this was like the bff bracelet in the story—or the bracelet Landry’s dad gives her. I took that as a sign and that’s why you see the broken bff heart on the cover dangling off the, “s,” in “Colors.” BTW, one of my favorite gifts is still a thoughtful bracelet from a friend.
- Landry’s last name, “Albright,” comes from Madeleine Albright. As a kid I was very aware there weren’t a lot of female role models in my social studies books. I distinctly remember being amazed as a kid seeing Benazir Bhutto in my Weekly Reader at school. So I used the name to pay tribute to a woman who broke through the glass ceiling—the first female U.S. Secretary of State.
- The designer, Franciszka T, all the girls are obsessed with got the name because my great-grandmother, two of my great-great-grandmothers, and my great-great-aunt, were all named Franciszka. I picked “T,” because the great-great-aunt used to design and make clothes (she made her sister’s wedding dress and her own bridesmaid’s dress). Her last name started with a, “T.” I also look a little bit like her—we have the same big alien eyes.
- When I first saw the possible cover models, I thought the one who ended up on the cover looked like a couple cousins of mine. I knew she was the perfect choice. Months later, the cover model found out about being on the book and contacted me. Turns out she lives in Poland and is from a town next to the city my great-grandpa was from! Crazy coincidence.
- I’m not from the city the story is set in (Grand Rapids, MI), but my parents were, so I decided to have Landry and her mom live there. I’m actually from the other side of the state—an hour north of Detroit.
- Landry’s name was originally, Sydney, but I changed it because the name was getting overused. My mom suggested the name Landry because she had a little girl in her class years ago with that name. I loved it and what’s funny is she had a student named, “Krysten,” too, and she told me that Landry and Krysten were best friends.
- I named the ice cream parlor everyone hangs out at in the story after my great-grandfather. I picture the ice cream place being in Grand Rapids, MI (where the story is set)right near where he lived when he first moved to this country. In case you’re from the area and curious, I picture it being on Diamond Avenue.
- Like Landry and Ashanti, I was a big soap opera fan. My favorite was, One Life to Live. I pictured two of the characters, Colin and Lanie, as being Landry’s parents. If you look at the cover model, she really resembles them both.
-True Colors Playlist-
These songs could serve as the soundtrack for the book—or for Landry’s life! It’s a mix of new songs, older ones, ones that spoke to me when I needed them most, and ones I feel will speak to you.
- Shake It Off—Taylor Swift
I feel like this song could be an anthem for Landry as she gets ready to do her American Ingénue competition stuff while worried about what people at school will say about her.
- Popular Song—MIKA ft. Ariana Grande.
This song shows how Landry feels about Arianna and Yasmin and fitting in at school.
- Over it—Katharine McPhee
The first time I heard this song was during a reality show where two friends were having a falling out. I think this song sums up Landry thinking about Ericka and Tori and having enough of fake friends.
- Friends—Jody Watley Feat. Eric B. & Rakim
The lyrics say it all. The ultimate “frenemies” song. I blast this one when I’m hurt over something a friend has done.
- Beautiful—Christina Aguilera
Great song about accepting yourself as you are and seeing the beauty within.
- Brave—Sara Bareilles
The ultimate self-confidence song when you’re feeling not so sure of yourself.
- Skyscraper— Demi Lovato
This song represents the tough days Landry has when she feels letdown by who she thought were her best friends, Tori and Ericka
- Be With You—The Bangles
The ultimate crush song. The Bangles were a huge influence for me as a tween and I can picture Landry humming this while doing her homework and thinking about her crush, Vladi. It’s the perfect crush song.
- Whole Wide World—A'me Lorain
This song so captures what it feels like when you have that first big crush. It’s so poppy and fun. I imagine Landry singing this in her bedroom (into her hairbrush!) after seeing Vladi at the basketball game.
- The Voice Within –Christina Aguilera
The perfect song when you feel alone and in need of confidence
-Character Interview with Landry Albright from True Colors.-
What's the worst thing that's happened in your life? What did you learn from it?
When my friends all got mad at me—first when Ericka and Tori stopped speaking to me after we all tried out for the American Ingénue reality show modeling competition and I made it to the next round and they didn’t. But I learned who my true friends were after that.
Tell me about your best friend.
I have two or three besties. Tori used to be my best friend, but after she got mad at me over that modeling thing…I just don’t trust her the same way. Ashanti Russell is one of my closest friends. We became closer after getting to know each other better. She always has my back. Peyton Urich is another of my best friends. We met when Tori and Ericka weren’t speaking to me. She’s been such an amazing friend. And Devon and I have best friend bracelets together, but…sometimes she gets a little controlling.
What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?
I was in a dance recital when I was four years old. We were supposed to be little ballerinas and have scarves attached to our tutus, but my mom was still in school at the time and she came home late and forgot to give me my scarves. So all the other little girls pulled out their scarves, and there’s a video of me looking on either side of my tutu for my scarves and then bursting into tears crying “Mommy!” as I ran off the stage. My grandmother said I was adorable, but I don’t think it was any coincidence my grandfather died two weeks later.
What is your greatest regret?
That I messed up my introduction during the American Ingénue competition. All I had to do was say, “Hi, I’m Landry Albright from Grand Rapids, Michigan,” and instead I said, “Chicago, Illinois,” my old state and when I went back to correct it, I totally slammed into the next contestant, made the microphone shriek and embarrassed myself. If I could go back in time, I’d totally choose that moment to change.
Do you ever lie?
Well, I don’t outright lie, but when my dad asks about my math grades, I do point out how awesome I’m doing in English and hope he changes the subject.
What do you like best about yourself? Least?
Best? I think I’m a nice person and a good friend. Least? My hair. I’d much rather have Devon’s dark, curly hair or Peyton’s dark red hair.
What is in your refrigerator right now?
Leftover butterscotch and vanilla pudding from the variety packs my mom and I eat all the chocolate out of.
What’s on your bedroom floor?
Dirty clothes—like my Hillcrest school uniform that makes me look like a dead goldfish, my mom’s favorite sweatshirt that I borrowed and got something blue on (when did I have fruit?), and some magazines.
What’s on your nightstand?
Magazines, YA mystery novels, gum wrappers, and my favorite lip gloss.
Imagine you’re doing intense spring cleaning. What’s easy to throw out? What is difficult to part with?
Did my mom put you up to asking this? I hate cleaning my room, but whatever. I guess the easiest stuff to throw out would be all the candy wrappers and to put my soda cans in the bin to take back for a deposit. What’s difficult to part with would be my magazines. I like to hang onto them and look at them at night before I go to bed. And I would never part with my stuffed animals—especially the blue mouse my dad got me when I was little.
If you could spend the day with someone you admire (living, dead or imaginary), who would you pick?
Talisa Milan, my favorite model who won the American Ingénue competition. She’s so busy that I doubt I could keep up with her, but I’d love to see what it’s like to be her just for one day. She hosts a video show, does makeup and hair care commercials, goes to school, and she’s dating a member of the band, The Puking Baby Dolls.
Are you upset your name is not in the title?
Not really. Krysten almost used it for the title of the sequel, but at the last minute she changed it. She told me she might use that one for the third book though.
Did your story end too soon?
I’m getting a sequel and she’s working on a third book, so I’m okay with it as long as she lets Vladi call me and stuff.
Did you and your author agree on the storyline?
Well, at first she told me I had no say in any of it, but she can’t really control what I say or do. I’m just me and she has to figure out what to do with that. She calls it, “frustrating,” but hey, I told her, “You’re the one who became a writer. What did you expect, genius?” So whatever. She’s got to deal with it.
More posts to come!
I have a few chapter left then my review it coming! Can't wait to tell you all about what I thought of this book!