G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Books for Young Readers
April 18, 2023
Ages 10 and up
The Unofficial Lola Bay Fan Club
The intensity of tween fandom collides with the shifting friendship dynamics of middle school as Iris comes to terms with all the ways friendships can be good and bad.
Pop star Lola Bay is everything to Iris and her best friend, Leeza. Her songs speak right to their souls and they can’t wait to start a Lola Bay fan club when middle school starts. But then mean girls take over the fan club and Leeza seems to be interested in other things.
Enter Dana. She’s bold and cool and not afraid to stand up for herself. Plus, she’s a massive Lola Bay fan and knows how to get free merch online. She even has big ideas for getting them to a concert.
When some of Dana’s ideas make Iris a little nervous, she pushes the feelings down—Dana seems to know what she’s doing. Only as Dana’s plans get bigger and bigger, Iris feels worse and worse. And then Dana crosses a line that causes trouble for Iris’s whole family.
How could someone who is supposed to be a friend do that? And, Iris wonders, how did I let things go this far?
- “Cynthia Surrisi interview,” It Was a Dark and Stormy Book Club, podcast, 2 May 2023
- “2023 Summer Reading Guide for Middle School,” Afoma Umesi, Reading Middle Grade, May 2023 “A chilling look at the power of celebrity fandom and toxic friendships.”
“Iris’s vulnerability to Dana’s tactics, her genuine remorse for her actions, and her love for Lola are plainly rendered, making for a distinctly real-life portrait of one middle schooler finding her way in a new and ever-changing environment.” (Publishers Weekly)
“This novel focused on friendship deals with emotional abuse and family ties during the often stressful transition from elementary to middle school. The conversational tone is reader friendly, and many young people will recognize the issues that are explored, from shifting social status to online bullying. Most characters default to White. An accessible relationship-centered novel exploring the perils of tween friendships.” (Kirkus Reviews)
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