Bestselling Author Delilah Devlin
HomeMeet Delilah
BookshelfBlogExtrasEditorial ServicesContactDelilah's Collections

Archive for 'YA Romance'

  • Page 1 of 2
  • 1
  • 2
  • >

Krysten Lindsay Hager: Second Chance Sports Romance Playlist: Stars in the City (Free in Kindle Unlimited)
Monday, March 11th, 2024

When I was writing my drama-comedy second chance sports romance, Stars in the City, I was both caught between that longing of a soap actress named Valeria Joseph, who wanted her ex back, and the adorable swoony moments when they reconnected. So, I needed a playlist that took me into both mentalities and acted like a soundtrack to dreaming about getting back with the guy who you never got over, the swoony moments where you fall back in love, and everything else that goes on when you have a second chance with the guy you’ve never stopped loving.

I loved writing this sweet romance that reunites a young soap star dealing with her own insecurities who never got over her ex, Davis, who she runs into on the streets of New York City. She finds out he’s now playing basketball at a college in the city, and they start to fall back in love. However, Valeria’s celebrity life brings drama, and it doesn’t help when the gossip sites link her with other stars. Can these two get it together this time around?

First, here’s an excerpt from Stars in the City:

“Valeria, you don’t have to be that girl on the TV screen right now with me. I just want the girl from River Grove back,” Davis said.

Except I hadn’t been that girl since I started the show. I reached over and took another sip of water.

He leaned across the table and put his hand over mine. “I hope you didn’t think I was judging you. Your celebrity life is so foreign to me. That’s all. I just want you to know you don’t have to be on twenty-four seven. You can just be yourself because you’re amazing.”

I met his eyes, and he squeezed my hand.

“It’s not quite the same thing with me playing basketball, but I do know what it’s like to have huge expectations other people have put on you. Not to mention, the high and impossible expectations you put on yourself. You and I have always had that in common.” He winced.

“I guess it’s worse for you now playing at the college level, huh?”

He nodded.

I squeezed his hand back. “I hope I didn’t freak you out with the photo thing.”

“You’re in a whole new world. Not going to lie—I’m not crazy about how that’s impacting you, but I get it.”

“Yeah, but then I dropped a therapy session on you. Ugh. I am a lot.” I shut my eyes and sighed. He was probably eyeballing the exits as we spoke.

He was smiling when I opened my eyes. “I believe I’m the one who started that session. Actually, the fact we’ve always been able to be open and vulnerable with each another is one of the things I loved most about us. That’s why it hit like a truck when you suddenly wanted to split up. I understand it now. Sweetie, I’m just relieved we got it all out in the open.”

My shoulders dropped in relief as I exhaled. “Even though it was a messy therapy session?”

He laughed. “Those are the best conversations to clear the air. Do you know how rare it is to find someone you can do that with? I hope you don’t ever feel you have to hold back from me.”

The waitress came over with the bill. He reached into his pocket and handed her his credit card before I could get my purse open. She placed two to-go boxes on the table for us.

“Ready to go?” He helped me put my coat on, and we walked back to my place.

“I have exactly fourteen minutes until I need to get the bus,” he said as I unlocked the door.

I frowned. Saying goodbye was going to be so hard after we had finally cleared the air. He came in and put his hand over mine.

“Val, I don’t know how to say this, but this is the first time in months I’ve felt relaxed and happy. Like my entire nervous system just regulated itself.”

We both smiled. “Mine, too. I missed you.”

How many times did I think to myself that talking to him felt like sliding into a warm bath? No one could calm my mind down like he could.

“I’m still worried I dropped too much on you tonight.”

He chewed on the inside of his lip. “I’m glad you told me all of that. You have a tendency to hold back, and I know it wasn’t easy for you.” He brushed a strand of hair away from my face. “Not going to lie—I’ve been holding back with you, too. I was afraid of getting hurt again. But I think if we want to make a go of it then we’re going to have to be open about everything. After all, things could have been different if we had talked it all out last summer.”

He looked down at the floor, and I knew there was something he needed to get out. I touched his arm, and he met my eyes.

“After we broke up, I spent a lot of time going over stuff in my head, and I didn’t know if you were afraid to get too close to me because of what happened with your mom and dad or if you wanted someone more exciting.” He sighed. “I guess I always wondered if you loved me … anywhere as much as I loved you.”

My eyes widened as I realized how much my parents’ divorce had closed me off. I told myself I held back from my other ex, Lance, because he seemed like a player, but the truth was I had been doing it for a long time.

“Last year, the idea of losing what we had was terrifying because it was the first time I’d ever felt anything like that in my life. I was scared of getting my heart broken and losing the one person who meant the most to me in the whole world.” My stomach fluttered as I knew I had to expose my true feelings for him if he was going to trust me again. “I was so in love with you.”

He exhaled and put his hands on my waist. “So you left because you were afraid that I’d leave first?”

I nodded.

He brushed my cheek. “I wish you had told me even half of this.”

I swallowed hard. “But that’s a lot to put on a teenage boy. I didn’t want you to be overwhelmed. I was so in love with you, and I was scared I was going to overload you and you’d run.”

Davis sucked in his breath. “I can understand why you’d be afraid to even bring that up to me. But you should know that that was exactly how I felt about you. And it utterly destroyed me when you walked out on us.”

My eyes began to water.

“Hey, not trying to make you cry. I just want you to know how I felt about you.”

I didn’t trust myself to talk for fear a flood of emotions and tears would come out. He cupped my face.

“Is there any chance we could get back together and maybe I could call you my girlfriend again?”

***Pick up the book here. It’s free in Kindle Unlimited:
Amazon US:
Amazon CAN:
Amazon UK:
Amazon AUS:


The One by Amy Swift: It has that late night reminiscing over lost love feeling. I can see Valeria listening to this late at night and thinking about Davis.

Nobody knows me like you do (Made For Me) by Muni Long: This one just fits Davis and Valeria’s relationship. Davis says no one has ever understood him so well and Valeria feels the same way. You see them as each other’s biggest supporter through the good and, more importantly, the bad times.

Back to December by Taylor Swift: The perfect song that embodies what it’s like to reminisce about a relationship you screwed up and want back. This feels like a song that Valeria would play on repeat about regrets with Davis.

Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves: The calming, sweet song that would fit Valeria and Davis as she says talking to him is like sliding into a warm bath.

Maroon by Taylor Swift: This song is set in New York (like the book) and the song deals with a past relationship. It reminded me more of Valeria and her co-star (and ex) Lance.

Back to You by Selena Gomez: The kind of song you sing along to in the car about the ex you’re missing. I picture Valeria singing this with her friends Cecily and Paige.

What Hurts the Most by Rascal Flatts: I played this over and over because I was basically trying to hurt my own feelings to get the emotion right for Valeria’s voice in the story. Also Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts: For the moment where you realize the past will make them appreciate each other more and it’ll be different this time. (I write happily ever afters, so you can relax! It’s a happy ending.)

Almost Over You by Sheena Easton (There’s also a version by Lila McCann I listened to as well): If you’ve ever been sad over your ex this is your national anthem. Note: playing this at 3 am is not in your best interest unless you like crying!

Can’t Let Go by Mariah Carey: If you follow my work then you already know this song is my go-to song to hurt my own feelings to get that heartbreak feeling just right in a story. I put it on repeat and it just brings those feelings to the surface.

You can find the playlist here if you want to listen to any of the songs yourself. Plus, I have the ambiance videos Valeria sends to Davis to calm his anxiety in the book. There’s a few more videos that inspired me on the playlist as well. Happy listening and reading!

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of YA and contemporary romance. She writes romance because she loves bringing people swoony moments and hope-filled happily ever afters. She writes about falling in love, fame, fitting in, frenemies, first loves, and finding your way in the world. She loves reading, watching movies, and lipstick.


Krysten Lindsay Hager: Second Chance Romance, Soap Stars, and Sports Romance—Free in Kindle Unlimited
Monday, March 4th, 2024

When I started writing my latest romance novel, my first thought was to take all the things I loved best about my favorite books and put them into one story. I love stories about couples that find their way back to one another, celebrity romance, swoony moments, and watching sports. These all made their way into my new contemporary romance about a young adult soap star named Valeria Joseph who is trying to navigate the world while dealing with a breakup with her co-star.

Then, on the busy streets of New York City, she runs into her first love, Davis St. James, who she never got over. Davis is a college basketball player who is dealing with high pressure stressors of his own and they find themselves supporting one another and falling back in love. But, just like being on a daytime soap is full of drama—so is the publicity that surrounds Valeria. Throw in a pop star who’s crazy about her, an award show event that trends on social media for all the wrong reasons, and tons of swoony moments. Can Valeria find true love in the big city?

Stars in the City

Here’s an excerpt from Stars in the City to give you a taste:

“I’m scheduled to do an interview with Soap Opera Hotties,” I said.

“Me, too. Can’t wait.” Cecily clapped her hands together.

I raised my eyebrows. This was all fun and new to her. Me, I was already jaded seeing as I had once done an interview where they took a quote out of context making it look like Hayley and I were fighting on set over Lance. Meanwhile, I had gone to great lengths to stuff all my feelings down so I wouldn’t get a bad reputation and get fired. Did I yell and scream on set? No. Did I push my emotions down until I started getting random stomach issues and could no longer tolerate certain foods that I used to be able to eat with reckless abandon? Yes.

Cecily hugged herself. “I can’t believe people care about our lives enough to want to interview us. This has got to be the best job ever.”

Yeah, if strangers reading all the intimate details of your personal life and then coming over to your social media to troll you over those very details was exciting to you, then I couldn’t recommend this enough. But promotion was a part of this business, and the studio was in charge, so I went along with it. I loved acting, and growing up I thought it’d be amazing to have my name and face everywhere … until it wasn’t, and all I wanted to do was hide and turn my socials private.

The driver sighed. “Think we’re going to be here for a while. No one’s moving.”

I leaned forward and made a face. “It’s not that far. Might be faster if we walked.”

Cecily nodded, and we thanked the driver and got out of the car. It was windier than either of us expected, and I pulled my winter coat tighter around me. We hurried over to the sidewalk and ducked under the awning of an apartment building to get our bearings.

“Did not expect that wind tunnel and—whoa, there’s a guy who has zeroed in on you walking this way.” Cecily grabbed my arm. “And he is cute. Light brown hair, tall … and he can’t take his eyes off you.”

I glanced around to see who she was talking about when my eyes fixed on him. There, staring at me like there was no one else in the world was my ex-boyfriend. My mouth dropped open as he gave me a hesitant smile. What was Davis doing in New York City?

Cecily nudged me. “Hey, that cute guy is walking over—ooh, incoming.”

“Hey, Valeria. It’s been a long time,” Davis said as he and his friend came over.

I gulped. How to act? Mysterious? Or like my life was going so awesome since our breakup that I couldn’t be happier?

However, my mouth betrayed me, and I blurted out, “What are you doing here?” What were the chances we’d run into each other on the busy streets of Manhattan?

He stepped under the awning as people bustled past us on the sidewalk. A lady’s bag bumped me as she walked past, so I moved closer to the building.

Davis shrugged. “My team’s playing tomorrow, and my parents came into town to watch and decided to stay in the city so they could sightsee.”

“Oh, so you’re all just in town for the game this week?”

He raised his eyebrows. “I’m at Hepburn University now.” As he shared the name of his new school, I tried to mentally calculate the distance.

“It’s about thirty minutes away.”

What? My first love had been living less than an hour from me and I didn’t have a clue?

***Pick up the book here. It’s free in Kindle Unlimited:
Amazon US:
Amazon CAN:
Amazon UK:
Amazon AUS:

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of YA and contemporary romance. She writes romance because she loves bringing people swoony moments and hope-filled happily ever afters. She writes about falling in love, fame, fitting in, frenemies, first loves, and finding your way in the world. She loves reading, watching movies, and lipstick.


Krysten Lindsay Hager: Social Media, YA Fiction, and Celebrity Culture (Excerpt)
Monday, December 18th, 2023

When I started writing my young adult contemporary Cecily Taylor Series, my plan was to take a high school girl and have all of her dreams come true and let her see the reality of it all; that means I’d show what it’s really like to date her favorite singer/songwriter and what it’s like to be a well-known actress/model. Sure, she experiences the euphoria, but there’s also the fact every little thing is scrutinized by strangers on the internet. Dealing with mean and deeply personal remarks in the comments section becomes a reality for Cecily in In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety. However, I wasn’t prepared for the flood of messages I got when I posted an excerpt from the book where Cecily reads the comments about herself after being in Andrew Holiday’s music video.

Here’s the excerpt from In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety:

It felt real, but can you date your teen idol? Is it even smart to? And why hadn’t he messaged me yet? I’m sure the plane had Wi-Fi. Other guys texted nonstop to the point of being annoying, yet my phone was silent.

“Maybe. It was just nice to see someone being authentic,” I said.

“It would have been awful if he was fake—can you imagine?” she asked. “Honestly, when you said he was just like how he comes across in interviews—I did jumpy claps. Not gonna lie, it made me look like a toddler who just saw ice cream.”

“Yeah, he seems like the real deal, don’t you think?”

“Mm-hmm,” she said distractedly as she tried to find a place to park. “Must be nice to have a hot pop star text you. Do you think he will contact you again?”

If he doesn’t, then I’ll die and probably never leave my room again. “I hope he does. I’d be seriously bummed if I—” Get phone dumped, get blocked online, see he’s dating someone else. “Don’t hear from him again.”

“Does anyone else know he was the reason Zach got so mad at you when he walked in on Andrew trying to kiss you at the video premiere?”

“No, Zach didn’t tell anyone. I feel like it’d be weird if I told people that’s what happened. Like they wouldn’t believe me and think I was making it up to get attention,” I said.

“Yeah, I already heard a few people saying stuff.”

My stomach dropped. “Like what?”

“Huh? Oh…nothing major.” She gripped the steering wheel. “It’s impossible to find a spot on the street on a weekend.”

I pressed her again, and she shrugged.

“There’s a couple comments on his social media pages.”

Pulling out my phone, I went to the video’s link online and the first comment that came up was:

NoOneAndrewFan: Why did they pick HER out of all the girls in the world?

CaliGirlTwo: They couldn’t find any better than that chick?

Holidate008: She’s like if the word “plain,” was a person.

MusicIsLife: I think the point is that she’s not supposed to be hot, you guys

Holidate008: I think she’s supposed to be the opposite of that other girl in the video.

CaliGirlTwo: Obviously Andrew has a jealous girlfriend and told him to find blah girls to be in his video.

SleepAllDayz: I bet Andrew’s managers don’t want his fans to be jealous of any of the girls they cast in his videos. Mission accomplished.

Meghynn: Seriously, I’ve seen cuter girls walking down my street and I live out in the sticks.

KellyKellz: I bet the other actress said they couldn’t cast another hot girl.

Meghynn: Andrew obviously didn’t do the casting for this one.

Holidateforever: Wow! Seems like no one has anything nice to say, all you guys want to do is trash people. if you don’t like what Andrew’s doing in his video… then bye!

TeenaRoger: Guys, Andrew would hate all these negative vibes! If you don’t have anything good to say about his work then don’t follow his page, don’t listen to his music, and DON’T bother commenting.

Holidateforever: I think she’s pretty. Jealousy isn’t cute, you guys.

“Oh crap. I didn’t even think to look at the comments before now. I guess it was so surreal to think I was actually in a music video that it didn’t even occur to me to go on and see what people were saying,” I said as my face burned with embarrassment. “Has everyone at school seen these?”

“Don’t worry about it. People suck and if it makes you feel any better, a lot of people at school aren’t even talking about it because they don’t want you to get all stuck up,” she said.

That was supposed to make me feel better?

“I was barely in the video. Why is everyone attacking me for a five second spot?” I asked trying to keep myself from crying.

“It sucks. I wish Andrew was here and he could just wrap you in a blanket and make you a cup of tea,” Lila said.

I laughed despite the fact I was trying not to throw up on myself. “Yup, like the perfect boyfriend.”


Right after that excerpt was posted on a book tour, my messages went crazy with people sharing their own experiences of dealing with mean comments online. Everyone from teens to adults to people in the public eye shared how this scene made them feel. However, I also had people who hadn’t experienced it, but had a family member who was hoping to become well-known or famous (either with singing, acting, modeling, and podcasting or as an influencer, etc.), and this scene made them rethink everything.

The scary thing about this scene for me is the fact it was inspired by a real comment I saw on posted under a singer’s video. It stood out to me as the person didn’t think the actress in the video was attractive enough to be “worthy” of being in the music video of this particular pop star. It struck me that this person was putting this comment out on a very public site for everyone to see and that there was a chance the actress herself could see it. I know some people have thick skin and don’t let things like that bother them, but there’s also something to be said about the old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

It also made me think about other people reading the comment and if they’d look at the actress and compare themselves, and then walk away feeling self-conscious about their own appearances. Social media can be fun and informative, but it can also be toxic and it would help us all if we were more mindful about what we posted and read online.

I would love to know your thoughts on toxic social media comments. Please leave them below. I will leave you with this Bernard Meltzer quote: “Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful. If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.”

Pick up a copy of the book here. It’s free in Kindle Unlimited:

Amazon US:
Amazon CAN:
Amazon UK:

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of young adult, middle grade, and contemporary romance. Krysten writes because she loves bringing people swoony moments & hope-filled happily ever afters. Her books are known for making you feel all the feels.


Krysten Lindsay Hager, YA Author:  Best Cozy Christmas Movies to Relax
Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

I write young adult clean and wholesome romances and love cute movies that give you a cozy feeling. There’s no better way to take the edge off a rough day than escaping into a sweet holiday setting with a feel-good vibe. Some of these have romance and one is laugh out loud funny. Hope you enjoy my picks. Would love to hear your favorites in the comments.

Christmas Flow: If you liked my pop star romance Cecily Taylor Series, you might enjoy this one with a rapper and writer who embark on a fake relationship after a mishap. They’re complete opposites with him getting in trouble for misogynist lyrics and her working for a feminist blog. It’s a unique take on the opposites attract trope. The lead actress in this was great.

Muppet Christmas Carol: I will forever love this one and watch it every single year. I’m also incapable of saying the word, “mittens,” without singing the line from the movie. Every single song in it is a banger and Rizzo is a national treasure. I like the Dickens story, but this version is the best.

All I Want for Christmas: This one is from the 90s and has Lauren Bacall as the grandmother. Ethan Embry is the lead character who is a kid wishing his divorced parents would get back together. If you love Christmas movies set in the city, then you’ll love this one. It’s set in New York City and has a magical feel.

Christmas in the Wild: Kristen Davis is amazing in this sweet romance about a divorced woman going to Africa on what should have been a trip with her husband only to rediscover herself and her love for animals. Davis does a great job of making you root for her happiness and want to adopt an elephant. Seriously, I was afraid of elephants before this movie and now I’d lay down my life for a baby elephant.

A Castle for Christmas: Brooke Shields is a well-known author who winds up in Scotland after a meltdown during a TV interview. She finds a castle her grandfather used to work in and wants to buy it and there’s a cute enemies- to- lovers trope with the castle owner. This one is worth watching for the cute inn she stays in and overall cozy feel. This one appeals to the romance writer in me. It’s the perfect movie to watch with a hot chocolate and blankie.

A Heavenly Christmas: Kristin Davis again, but this time she’s in limbo (literally) after an accident and she has to work with an angel to bring happiness to a man who is raising his niece after his sister dies. You just want these two to get together so badly and living happily ever after.

Here’s a Christmas party scene from my young adult novel, Cecily in the City, where my main character, Cecily, goes to her pop star boyfriend’s wealthy family’s Christmas party where she feels like a fish out of water and encounters his exes. Cecily in the City won the 2023 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Award for Young Adult Romance:

On the day of the party, I was a nervous wreck. I went downstairs and asked my parents if they’d let me take the car to the party.

“I’ll drive you. Partly because I’m nosy and want to see their house up close.” Dad rubbed his hands together.

We headed over to Andrew’s parents’ house. My dad drove me up the circular driveway and I gasped. Andrew’s parents hadn’t just decorated a few trees in the yard—every single evergreen on their lot was lit up and there was a display of cartoon carolers that looked to be six feet tall standing in front of the house.

“Wow, no inflatable snowmen for these guys.” Dad peered out the window. “Cecily, look! Santa is answering the candy door.”

“They have a doorman?”

“No, I mean over in the life-sized gingerbread house. There’s an actual guy over there opening a candy door. It looked like he’s serving hot chocolate. Should I get a to-go cup?” he asked squinting.

“Please don’t. I’m already afraid that security guard over there will ask if I’m lost.”

Dad laughed and told me to call him when I needed a ride home. “And see if they provide doggie bags with tiny quiches and those weird pointy toast things,” he said as I got out of the car.

I took a deep breath as I walked up to the door and said a prayer before ringing the doorbell. A woman answered the door and offered to take my coat. I handed it to her and immediately wanted to grab it back to cover myself because all the women were dressed identically. They all had long turtleneck sweaters that were made of some material way fancier than mine. Meanwhile I was standing there in a V-neck I bought on the clearance rack and that was after I borrowed cash from my mom. And forget regular pants—there were all in velvet or something with tall boots that looked like something out of a horse-riding movie. Oh crap. They all shopped at the same place. My dad’s car payment wasn’t as much as those boots. Actually, our house payment wasn’t either. How did some people have that kind of money to spend on boots?

“Cecily, love, you’re here,” his grandmother said coming over in a wave of perfume. “Now our party is complete. And you brought a gift for the kids. How thoughtful.”

She took the package from me and I explained it was an art set that would be good for a kid between eight to ten.

“It is so important to support the arts,” she said as she placed the box under the world’s biggest Christmas tree. I followed her into the main room expecting to see another big eight-foot tree. Nope, it was even bigger and it was aqua. Where did they even find an aqua colored tree? I was overwhelmed by the expensive leather couches and larger mahogany armoire placed next to a huge stone fireplace.

“Hey Cecily.” Andrew came up and hugged me. “Sorry I didn’t see you come in. One of the little kids spilled their milk and was crying, so I wanted to make sure she was okay.”

So thoughtful. No wonder those girls online attacked me out of jealousy in comments section for being his soulmate in his video. Well, that and the fact he looked like a cologne ad model.

“I feel a bit underdressed,” I said smoothing my hair back.

“Why? You’re wearing the same thing as everyone else,” he said.

Yes, except my outfit was the bargain-basement version. Sort of like how magazines did those stories where they showed two similar outfits and had you guess which one cost twenty-five dollars, and which cost two-thousand dollars and it was always obvious which was which.

“I just feel a bit…out of place.”

“You look amazing as always,” he said and from the way he was smiling at me, I almost believed it. His mother walked over and he introduced me.

“Cecily, what would you like to drink?” she asked. “We have hot chocolate, spiced cider, and—what on earth is she wearing?”

I jumped, but then realized she was staring at someone walking in. Following her gaze, I saw Jeff’s girlfriend, Isla King, walk in wearing a short white leather miniskirt with a tight sparkly red off the shoulder sweater and a Santa hat. She had matching white leather high heeled boots on and you could see the butterfly tattoo on her stomach.

Mrs. Holiday gave a tight smile and smoothed her hair with her hands. “Forgive me, I’m not used to the way you kids dress today.”

“Andrew, be a love and make sure she doesn’t end up in the center when we take a group photo,” she said. She looked over at me. “Was I offering you punch or something? The last few minutes have been a blur.”

I giggled. “I’d love a hot chocolate.”

“There’s my future granddaughter-in-law,” Rev. Holiday said in his booming voice as he walked over to me with Andrew’s father.

Mr. Holiday shook my hand. “Nice to meet you. So happy you could join us, Cecily. It wouldn’t be the same without you.”

The way he focused on me when he said it made me feel like he meant it.

“And now you get to meet the girl he’s always talking about,” his grandpa said.

“Grandpa, you’re embarrassing her,” Andrew said.

“Well, Andy, I want to get this locked down because think of how adorable she’d look on the family Christmas card.” Rev. Holiday laughed. “Cecily, we all wear matching sweaters on it each year, and you’d fit right into the family photo.”

“Oh, am I included in that?” Isla asked coming over with her sister, Danielle, who was always trying to Andrew’s attention.

Mr. Holiday’s smile dimmed a few watts. “Hello Isla. Merry Christmas.”

“Cecily’s still around? Wow, good thing I didn’t take bets on that. I would have lost big time,” Danielle said quietly to Isla as if I wasn’t there. Isla’s eyes widened and she mouthed, “Sorry,” at me.

His dad got called away and I was starting to feel more relaxed as Andrew led me into the den. There was a girl sitting in the corner with perfect bouncy brown hair and luminous skin.

Andrew whispered that was his ex, Suki, and I felt my adrenaline spike. She smiled as we walked in, but her eyes didn’t reflect it. The worst part was that she was sitting there like she belonged and I was the outsider. Andrew introduced us and she nodded as she gave me the once-over.

“Andrew, didn’t you get Cecily anything to drink?” Suki asked in a way that implied he didn’t care enough to make sure I didn’t dehydrate and die.

“My mom’s getting her something.”

“Always passing the responsibility—as usual,” she said kicking him lightly with her expensive looking high-heeled boot.

I knew the, “as usual,” part was to show she had known him longer than me. Being around someone’s ex is always an uncomfortable situation, but it was extra cringe-y now that I knew how close they had been. Mrs. Holiday came in with my hot chocolate, and I wanted to ask her how she could expect me to stay in the same room as his ex, but of course, I just thanked her and sipped at it while trying not to get whipped cream all over my face.

“What did Andrew get you for Christmas, Cecily?” Suki asked.

Way to get right to it.

“We haven’t exchanged gifts yet, nosy,” he said.

“Just wanted to see if you recycle gift ideas,” she said smirking. “Last year he got me an initial necklace.”

I gave a disinterested nod and pretended my hot chocolate cup was the most fascinating thing in the room.

“With his initial on it,” she said with big smile.

It took everything in me not to toss my hot chocolate on her blue-gray cashmere sweater that perfectly matched her eyes. She probably put that necklace around a tiny Andrew doll at her house with candles around it and a bunch of photos of him tacked to the wall like a creepy stalker.

Find the book here. It’s free in Kindle Unlimited:
Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon CAN:
Amazon AUS:

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of YA romances that make you laugh, cry, and swoon.


Krysten Lindsay Hager: How Carolyn Bessette Kennedy Became an Inspiration for Me
Monday, November 27th, 2023

I’ve always loved Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s bold minimalism style since I was a teenager, and I love how it’s become popular on TikTok and YouTube. In fact, there’s even a new book out about her style. Back in the day, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy was talked about in every major fashion magazine. Notice I don’t say, “interviewed,” or even, “on the cover.” That’s because she didn’t do interviews, cover shoots, or editorials. She worked in fashion and was also a fashion muse and inspiration, and what’s great about her style is how timeless yet modern it is, even though the photos are from the nineties.

Carolyn wasn’t plastered all over the media due to her seeking attention, but rather the fact people couldn’t help but to pay attention to her. It was refreshing then and even more so now as you see people hiring companies that generate articles about up-and-coming celebrities just to get them more attention.

I liked Carolyn’s modern, streamlined style, but I also admired how she conducted herself in public even more. There was a mystery to her that has become even more intriguing in the last few years as there’s very little mystery left to celebrities in the modern world. So, it makes sense that she inspired me years ago when I wrote a short story for my creative writing class in college. I wrote a story called “True Grit Need Not Apply,” about a teen girl dating the son of a popular senator and how they were opposites. I imagined a girl named Emme Trybus who had a bit more of a boho streak than Carolyn (although in the scene below I do reference the exact lip color she used to wear because I tracked it down back in the day—haha), but is thrust into a high-profile lifestyle due to who she was dating.

I wondered how Carolyn dealt with that high-profile life that came with photographers, gossip, and constant judgment. I found it fascinating how she was able to navigate through such a chaotic life. However, in my story, I made the couple teens and gave them different issues (trying to figure out what they want to do after high school, finding their path, and they both have grandparents dealing with health issues.)

My professor gave me great feedback and said it had vibes of Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger, which I hadn’t read at the time but was thrilled to hear. After the semester ended, one of my critique group members, David, told me it was his favorite story of mine, and I should develop it into a novel. I began working on it, but it sat for quite some time due to the fact that I ended up working as a freelance journalist while going to grad school, then getting married, moving overseas, etc. When I came back to it years later, I felt like no time had passes as I was instantly drawn back into Emme and Brendon’s world where they’re falling in love despite being from different backgrounds. I titled it, Dating the It Guy. and was fortunate to get a publishing contract for it.

Last year, I rereleased Dating the It Guy with updates and a new epilogue to show you what happened to the two high schoolers after they graduate from college. I guess I wanted to give them the happily ever after I only wish Carolyn and John could have had.

Excerpt from Dating the It Guy

The next day, I woke with this weird feeling my laptop was going to act up. In fact, when I checked my e-mail in the morning, I was kind of surprised it switched on at all. I figured I was just being paranoid about not getting my rough draft done, or maybe it was because the planet Mercury was in retrograde, but I tried to ignore my feelings. We had the day off from class, so I didn’t start working on my paper until later in the evening. I had just started typing when my screen froze. Feeling panicked, I hit Control-Alt-Delete and restarted the laptop, but the screen went blue and started flickering. What was it doing, and why was there a little gray box on my computer telling me I had sixty seconds until it shut down? Fifty-nine…fifty-eight…fifty-seven… This was just like the episode of As My Children Wept where Samson had to stop the bomb hidden in Sierra and Aristotle’s wedding cake. Did it mean the laptop was going to blow? On the show, the cake blew up, and everybody thought Aristotle was dead…well, until he showed up at Sierra’s next wedding, and was Sierra’s new husband mad…probably just as mad as Mrs. Rae would be when I didn’t turn in my assignment.

“Mo-om! My laptop’s possessed. Fix it!”

“Why don’t you just ask me to get out my fairy princess wand and throw pixie dust on it,” she shot back. “I’d have better luck with that.”

Sarcasm was not cute when you were having a crisis. I tried calling Zach, but his mom said he was working late. I was desperate, so I asked his mom if she knew anything about computers.

“There’s a guy at Mary’s Little RAMs who works on mine. I could give you his number, but they closed at five tonight.”

I hung up defeated. I didn’t know anybody who knew a thing about computers. Oh crap. I did know somebody who knew about computers. Brendon. He had mentioned he took a computer class last semester, but could I call him? Usually, I’d have no problem calling a guy for something, but this wasn’t a normal guy. He was what Margaux would call a “Hottie McHotHot.” Okay, what was wrong with me? He was just a regular person like everybody else. He put his pants on one leg at a time and went to the toilet like everybody else…but I bet his bathroom was super clean and everything in it matched. I pictured the whole room done in some manly, rich-person color like “hunter green” or “maroon.” And there would be lots of dark mahogany—

“Emme? Do you want to use my laptop to work on your paper?” Mom yelled up the stairs.

“It won’t help,” I replied. “I saved it on the hard drive because I’m a loser.”

Freaking Mercury retrograde. I should have known better than to expect a computer to work right. I should have backed up my work or e-mailed it to myself, but no, I was too worried about ordering new lip gloss from Lickity Lips. Now I had no paper, no gloss, and probably after I called Brendon begging him for help, no pride. I called and left a message on Brendon’s phone saying I had a computer questions. He was probably out with some amazing prelaw, premed student who donated blood to anemic puppies and did puppet shows for the elderly while knitting booties for—

My phone buzzed, and Brendon’s name popped up on the screen.

Brendon: Hey, what’s up?

I wrote back and explained about my computer, and he started giving me suggestions, which would have been helpful if I had known what he was talking about. It was like he was typing in Aramaic. He offered to come over, and I went to fix my hair the second I put down the phone. Normally I didn’t do much with my hair. It was long and always seemed messy no matter what I did with it. Kylie always said it was tousled like something out of a magazine, and yeah, sometimes I agreed with her and even loved my hair…and other times I feel like strangers on the street were going to walk up and hand me a hairbrush. My hair had been in a ponytail all night, so I couldn’t wear it down because it had a ponytail holder crease. I wound it into a loose bun and put on my ruby lip stain. I was digging through my hamper for my cutest top when the doorbell rang. I threw it on and ran down the stairs.

“Hey, thanks for coming over,” I said as I answered the door. I told him my laptop was upstairs, and I felt weird, like I was trying to lure him into my bedroom or something. He followed me, and I realized I should have made sure my dirty underpants weren’t half hanging out of my hamper when I shut it. Of course, it wasn’t a cute pair, but the big momma pants. Why didn’t I just wear Little Bo Peep pantaloons?

“See, it does this weird countdown thing when I turn it on,” I said. He sat at my desk and started messing with my laptop while I sat on the bed. I wondered if he washed his hands or used some hand sanitizer because I had this strict “clean hands” policy about my keyboard. I mean, I heard on the news those keyboards were playgrounds for bacteria.

“It’s probably because Mercury is in retrograde,” I said. He stared at me as if I had said, “I was sacrificing a goat in here before you came in, please excuse the stains on my ceremonial robe.” I tried to explain. “It’s the planet that rules communication—never mind. Do you think you can fix it?”

“Not sure yet,” he said. “I think I can retrieve your paper though. Do you have someplace else to finish it if I can’t get this computer to work?”

I started to answer when he said he had brought his laptop over for me to use while he worked on my computer. So I could either go downstairs and type on my mother’s boring laptop and leave Mr. Hotness alone in my bedroom, or I could stay here and work on it while we were in my room. Together. Alone. In my room. I loved the planet Mercury.

Find Dating the It Guy here. It’s free in Kindle Unlimited:

About ​Krysten Lindsay Hager

Who knew all those embarrassing, cringe-y moments in middle school and high school could turn into a career? And who would have thought that daydreaming in math class would pay off down the road?

​Krysten Lindsay Hager writes for teens and tweens about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of Cecily Taylor Series, the Star Series, and the Landry’s True Colors Series.


Krysten Lindsay Hager: Favorite Shows for Pre-teens & Young Teens
Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023

I write for teens and preteens and parents of girls who are fans of my middle school Landry’s True Colors Series often ask me for recommendations of shows and movies. Here are a few of the preteen/younger teen shows and movies I find very sweet.

Holly Hobbie: This series showcases a lot of the friendship themes you can also find in my Landry’s True Colors Series as well as in my book, Next Door to a Star. For instance, in the show, Holly finds herself feeling left out when her best friend who’s made a new friend. We also see her deal with that in between time of being not a kid, but approaching the teen years. And if you’re nostalgic about the old Holly Hobbie, the show honors that with the cute prints you know from the original Holly’s dress (check out her backpack and the designs in her room), the café being the former general store from the playsets, and Holly even wears the traditional outfit with bonnet in one episode.

Austin and Ally: Austin is a singer who becomes famous on the internet and Ally is the songwriter who jumpstarted his career. I watched a lot of this show for research and fans of my clean and wholesome young adult Cecily Taylor Series (where Cecily dates a pop star) also like this one. I was picturing Vladi in my Landry’s True Colors Series as looking like Austin.

Girl Meets World: Fans of my Star Series and Landry’s True Colors Series tend to enjoy this one with its themes of friendship and first loves. I was picturing Nick in my Star Series as looking like Lucas. I once shared that with a class and the entire room erupted—haha!

Teen Beach 1 and 2: Cute teen musicals that deals with first love and finding yourself with really catchy songs. It’s an opposites attract story with a twist where characters from their favorite beach movie (think Grease set at the beach) end up in our world. The sequel has songs that will stick in your head in the best way.

Ballet Shoes: Three girls are raised in a home with two caregivers and an eccentric bunch of boarders as they get an unorthodox education and ballet training. The girls each have their own dreams of being a dancer, pilot, and actress and you watch their trials as they pursue them. Perfect for a rainy (or snowy) weekend.

American Girl: Girl of the Year: Meet Kira Bailey: This is for my younger readers. This short series actually has the doll acting out the scenes and the themes are done so well. We see Kira dealing with grief over losing her dad and dealing with a bestie who has found other interests and begun to pull away from her. The Courtney doll episode (which separate from Kira as Courtney is the 1980s doll) is also well done and deals with subjects like divorce, blended families, and dealing with social and cultural issues as Courtney is in class when the Challenger space shuttle disaster happens.

You can find my preteen series on friendship, staying true to yourself, and self-esteem called the Landry’s True Series here. It’s free in Kindle Unlimited and there’s currently a price drop on the ebook and paperback on book one, True Colors:

Whole series here:

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of the award winning middle grade Landry’s True Colors Series as well as writing clean and wholesome young adult novels.


Krysten Lindsay Hager: Stars in the City Cover Reveal and Pre-Order
Thursday, October 12th, 2023

I have a new young adult contemporary book series called Stars in the City, coming out about teen celebrities looking to find both their path in the world and true love while in the big city. This is a spinoff of my funny and romantic young adult contemporary pop star/soap star Cecily Taylor Series. In this book we see Cecily’s TV co-star, Valeria Joseph, navigate the world of teen stardom and trying to find real love in a celebrity world in the city. Valeria has dated a popular heartthrob character on the show who broke her heart and her hometown ex winds up in the city and they find they still have feelings for each other. Cecily and pop star, Andrew Holiday, are also featured in this book as well, so you get to see a continuation of the relationship. Check out the blurb to learn more!

Stars in the City

These actresses seem to have it all…

Valeria Joseph and Cecily Taylor seem to have it all: careers as actresses on the soap opera, Charmed Lives, and everyone wants to be them. Then Cecily fixes Valeria up with a rising pop star named Dex Doyle and sparks start to fly. Suddenly Valeria has a bigger spotlight on her and she’s overwhelmed by the drama that follows Dex. It’s one thing being on a daytime drama, but another thing to live in one. Then Valeria’s hometown ex-boyfriend reaches out to her as he’s overwhelmed by his college basketball career. He’s always wanted a quieter life than her, but she soon she realizes she still has feelings for him even though she thought she left that life behind her. Can Valeria find true love in the big city?

Pre-order the book here on Amazon:
Universal link:
Read the Cecily Taylor Series here (Free in Kindle Unlimited):

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of young adult, middle grade, and contemporary romance. Krysten writes because she loves bringing people swoony moments & hope-filled happily ever afters. Her books are known for making you feel all the feels.


  • Page 1 of 2
  • 1
  • 2
  • >