This week we read chapters 24-26. The previous sessions can be found here:
In chapter 24 we see Landry and some of the girls are nervous about starting high school next year. What are some of the reasons that they are anxious about? Can you relate to their worries?
Peyton is also anxious, so they decide to have a night at her house watching movies. They’re on the couch with snacks feeling safe and secure when India and Devon come over with India’s high school cousin and her friends. What do you notice about the differences between the girls in this scene? Have you ever felt uncomfortable in a new group?
In chapter 25 Landry starts reassessing everything from the way her bedroom looks to her hairstyle. She worries she seems so much younger than the other girls. What does she do to her bedroom that shows this?
In chapter 26 the high school girl, Kendall, asks Landry if she wants to hang out. While they’re out, Kendall begins to confide in Landry about the pressures she feels from her high school friends especially when they want her to blow off spending time with her grandma even though Kendall’s grandmother isn’t well. Landry and Kendall are able to share some experiences they’ve had dealing with “frenemies,” which are people you think are your friends, but sometimes act a bit too much like enemies. What are some of the examples they talk about in this chapter?
There are a couple of scenes in this chapter that I’d like you to think about and write your feelings on:
1)What happened to Kendall with the dance she thought she was going to be asked to and spent all her money on a dress only to find out a friend ruined her chances of being invited
2)The incident in the cafeteria where Kendall had an accident with soup and everyone (including her friends) laughed at her, but one person came to help her out
At the end of the chapter, Landry tells Kendall how worried she is about starting high school next year saying, “I am a nervous wreck over the whole thing."
Kendall laughed. "It's so nice to hear, because I was my first year, and I thought I was the only one."
"It seems like everyone else has like, an in at the school or knows someone."
"Yes! Like they have a high school fairy godmother that takes them by the hand and teaches them how to be cool or at least not make a fool of themselves," she said.
"That's exactly how I feel."
Landry is surprised to learn even Kendall (who she thinks has it all together) was terrified to start
high school and still gets anxious sometimes.
Have you ever had anyone who you thought had it all together admit that they were scared or unsure of something too? How did you feel when you learned that?
Behind the Scenes: I got a lot of messages from teachers and parents after students read this part of the book when Landry says to Kendall:
“I'm just so anxious about next year and trying to fit in and make new friends in such a big school."
"I'm surprised you're worried about fitting in, Landry. I assumed a model wouldn't have any anxiety about that stuff."
"Why?" I asked, shocked.
"I dunno. You're pretty, blonde, and tiny. I just assumed you had it made."
"I thought the same thing about you."
This part jumped out at them because they could relate to how Landry was feeling in this moment. I felt the same way when it came to starting high school. I was ready to leave middle school because I was over the drama and in-fighting and felt like I couldn’t really be myself there. So I was eager to move on in some ways, but still terrified of the great unknown. I write about the high school girls looking so much older because that was how I felt around them when I was in 8th grade.
I also write how the other girls (Tori, Ericka, Thalia) are thrown by how unconventional some of the high school students (male and female) are in wearing different clothes, makeup, etc. I put this in to show that while it scared the younger students, it also shows the older ones are beginning to experiment with their appearances and figure out where they fit in. Yet the idea of that seems scary to the younger ones and their parents.
Taking a step out of your comfort zone is never easy and often teens and preteens begin to do that with their appearance whether it’s with makeup, their hair, or a new style of clothes. I can remember coming to school and finding a blonde friend had dyed her hair jet black or shaved part of it off or was suddenly wearing a totally different style of clothes. It seemed like people were trying on new personalities a lot.
Figuring out who you are and where you fit in is never easy and sometimes people show this through how they dress. Like the time I used a spray-in hair lightener on my super dark hair which gave me orange-y streaks! Or the purple eyeliner I put on that made me look thirty instead of thirteen. Sometimes I’d use my allowance to buy clothes that I saw in magazines or in a movie to try and look older. I used to pour over magazines to try and find the latest trends.
It can be scary when a close friend makes a huge change physically that leaves you feeling left behind. I remember coming to high school after a summer and finding all the girls had cut their hair short and now were blonder and there I was feeling self-conscious with my very long dark hair. I finally decided to cut it and what’s interesting is my parents didn’t buy any of those photos a photographer took because they said, “It didn’t look like me.” Instead, they framed the previous pictures I had taken and I realized years later that what they meant was that I looked more comfortable in those photos than in the ones where I was trying to fit in with my shorter hair.
Sometimes just being aware of why people are switching up their looks or trying to look or act older can help you understand it. They’re just trying to find where they fit in best. And just like Landry feels better knowing that Kendall was scared to start school again, it helped my readers to know that Landry had the same worries they did. Most people are scared to try something new, so don’t feel bad if you are as well. Instead, maybe you can reach out and find someone else who is also anxious and talk out your fears together.
Read chapters 27-30 (they’re shorter chapters!) for next week.
Author of the Landry's True Colors Series, the Cecily Taylor Series, the Star Series, and Dating the It Guy.