Best Friends…Forever? Reading Guide: Session One
This week we’re starting book two in the Landry's True Colors Series: Best Friends…Forever? If you missed the first book in the series, you can find all the info on the books and the reading guide here: www.krystenlindsay.com/reading-guide.html
However, you can also read this book as a standalone if you’d like. This week we’re going to read chapters 1-3. Below are questions and activities you can do by yourself by writing and journaling, or talk about it online with a friend, or discuss with a parent or guardian at home. Maybe you'll find out your friends and family have had similar experiences!
In chapter one, Landry and her mom are back with her dad at their old apartment in Chicago for winter break. Landry’s enjoying seeing the city decorated and going shopping for Christmas gifts, but when she goes online and sees her friends having fun together without her. She does from having fun to she feeling left out. Have you ever felt that way? Write or share a time when you felt left out.
In chapter two, Landry gets an email from Vladi—the boy she has a crush on and she has no idea what to write back to him. She gets her friend Ashanti to help her compose an email. She’s excited with the email, but again, she sees her friends back home posting pics together online and she feels lonely. Read this section again and write about (or discuss) how it makes you feel.
I got ready for bed and then stopped to check my social media page one more time and that’s when I saw it — another picture of Peyton, India, and Devon hanging out. They were sitting on the couch with their heads scrunched close together and laughing. It was a cute picture, but then I saw the caption: So glad we could all be together for the holidays. Love these guys soooo much! Best friends forever. #Alltogether #Threemusketeers #BestFriendsForever #ThreeBestFriends #ThreesCompany.
My heart sank. It was India’s caption and anyone who read it would think what a close‑knit group of friends and not realize anyone was missing from that photo. Sure, I was in another state, so naturally I couldn’t be there for it, but the way India wrote that made me feel so left out. I mean, what did she mean by the ʺThree’s Companyʺ hashtag? And sometimes people tagged friends who weren’t there in pictures and added, ʺWish you were here,” but there was no mention of a fourth member of the group.
“Ready for bed, hon?” Mom asked coming into my room.
“Yeah, just signing off.”
“Okay, sleep well.”
I got into bed and hoped I was reading into things, but the knot in my stomach wouldn’t go away.
In chapter 3, Landry goes to her grandmother’s and you see she deals with being compared to her super smart amazing cousin, Lucy. Landry should be feeling confident because she placed in a writing contest, did well in a modeling competition and has begun doing some small jobs, and school is going well for her, but she let’s herself feel small compared to Lucy’s accomplishments. Have you ever been in that situation where what you’ve done feels less important than someone else’s accomplishments? Has it ever been in your own family? How does that make you feel?
Share some experiences or write about times you’ve gotten conflicting messages about the way you’re supposed to act.
Behind the scenes: Comparison. It’s never fun and it can hurt your feelings when you’re made to feel less than someone else. One of the things I try to do with the Landry’s True Colors Series is focus on the things that make someone unique that they don’t always realize are special. We spend so much time looking at what other people have going for them that sometimes it can feel like what we do well doesn’t measure up. It’s also very easy for people to label you.
I remember my mom was talking to someone about the high school I’d be going to the following year. I overheard the other moms tell her, “Freshman get labeled on their first day and it’s impossible to get out from under that.” I remember being terrified of that and wondering, what would my label be? It never occurred to me that I had any control over that whatsoever.
When Landry sees Lucy being considered the smart, pretty one in the family who has it all together, she puts herself in the category of, “not good enough.” She immediately starts to focus on how her math grade isn’t good enough and even though she does think about how she likes to write and is good in English and history, she slides back into thinking about what other people have going for them.
Is that something you do? Make a list of all the things you’re good at as well as the things you like. Take a look at the things you’re interested in and good at and see if there are talents that go along with those. Maybe you like art and don’t consider the fact drawing comes easily to you or that you always know how to decorate your room in an amazing way. Creativity isn’t always counted as being important when you’re growing up.
I remember I went to the art museum to take a class with a friend. I was around Landry’s age and we were making kites and my friend was one of those people who was instantly good at whatever she did whether it was academic, artistic, athletic or whatever—she excelled in everything. Then there was me who would avoid running unless something was chasing me. We always wore school uniforms, but that day we could wear our regular clothes and I put on a fun sweater and a stack of my favorite colorful bracelets.
When it came time to paint our kites, the art instructor went over to me and took my paints away. She said, “you’re obviously a very creative type and your project should match that, so I’m going to get you some special paints for your project.” I had never been singled out like that before—especially not in an art class. I was usually told I wasn’t staying in the lines, was getting too messy, and the number one thing I heard was that mine didn’t look like the other students. ALWAYS. But this time I was being told that was a good thing.
However, being as this was my first time being singled out like this, I was uncomfortable with this kind of attention. She brought me some bright colored paints and at first, I cringed slightly because I often got teased for wearing bright colored accessories at school and this was just making a bigger deal of it. (Not so fun fact: once a nun stopped me in the hall at school and told me my socks were too colorful! A classmate overheard and made fun of me until another boy shut him up by saying he thought my colorful socks were, “cool.” Thank you, Matt! And yes, I DO remember who defended my socks in the 7th grade.)
Anyway, I went to work on painting my project. When we were finished, she made a big deal out of mine and for the first time I wasn’t hearing, “Look at (insert other person’s name here)—it should look like their project does—try again.” Or the very common experience I had of looking up from my art project only to see I went a different way…from my entire class. Because I was always the only one doing things slightly different, I took that to mean I was doing it wrong. It never once occurred to me that I was just seeing the world (or art) in a slightly different way.
However, looking back all these years later, I realize that I did have a different way of seeing things and that’s probably why I’m a writer today. What I thought was a negative thing back then actually turned out to be the path I was supposed to be on. That art teacher gave me a spot of confidence that day that I’ve held with me all these years. Now I look back and see how I used to line myself up to other people and compare myself like Landry does. However, that day I was encouraged to show my creativity and it brought out the real me.
Take some time to write about the things that make you different that maybe make you a little uncomfortable. Then take some time to express yourself today whether it’s drawing a picture, making a meme, creating something else, or wearing some fun socks! Feel free to share it online and hashtag it: #LandrysTrueColorsProject
Read chapters 4-6 for next time where I’ll have a new session up on Wednesday. The previous sessions can be found here: www.krystenlindsay.com/reading-guide.html
Author of the Landry's True Colors Series, the Cecily Taylor Series, the Star Series, and Dating the It Guy.