I was one of those fortunate souls who loved high school and thought those were some of the best years of my life. My quirkiness earned me a place among the loners, the objectors, the loud mouths, hilarious, life-loving band of theatre misfits.
However, it did take me awhile to find my tribe and I remember trying to fit in and failing miserably. Junior high school was tough because up until that point, I had a best friend who was always in the same class as me. Unfortunately, she moved in sixth grade. I felt like I was left behind to fend for myself in junior high. In that sense, I could relate to Hadley.
Reading "Next Door to A Star" took me back to those middle and junior high school years (the lets just go from elementary to high school memories). I was unsure of societal ranking; much less what was supposed to be "cool" or not. I remember wanting to stay home with my books and enjoy the rest of my life away from people and their intentions.
I had flashbacks of some of those intentions while reading. We meet the cool, popular girls who everyone had an opinion about, including which one we'd want to be, which one we'd want to be friends with and which one we're still trying to forget to this day. There is the usual cattiness, teenage backstabbing and the are-we-friends-or-aren't-we moments that most (if not all) adolescent girls go through. And oh! The boy crushes of yesteryears. Author Krysten Lindsay Hager nails it.
I loved Hadley. I love her unsure "sureness" and how she proccessed her friendships, her family and the cute boy down the street. I wish I had known someone like her during those years I was "left to fend for myself." I was more like shy, studios book nerd Charlotte who kept her head down and let the world "sort itself out."
And yes, as the Charlotte of the group, I would have seen that Hadley made mistakes. We've all be there and had questionable choices at some point. But she's still such a good character, a great voice and a wonderful FRIEND, overall.
I will definitely keep this book in mind while Christmas shopping for my pre-teen and teenage nieces. Next door to a star took me back to some of those unfortunate, uncomfortable adolescent/teenage period but I was grateful for those moments.
I walked away from those moments and every single unfortunate and uncomfortable moments, then and since, have helped shape me. Granted, I wasn't feeling it at the time.......
I particularly loved the sentiment Hadley states towards the end.........which I won't spoil here. Suffice it to say, enjoy those moments. I want to impart to my nieces to enjoy these crazy incidents that we'll look back on and hopefully laugh at. But enjoy just being in the moment. "Sit back and appreciate it."
SO if you want to revisit some of the best and some of the worst times of your high school experience, I suggest you read this one. Take a trip down memory lane, relive your first crush, your first kiss and get to know Hadley who lives "Next Door to a Star."
Rated: 5 stars