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?



I have always had a soft spot in my heart for young female singers whose mas­sive tal­ent has thrust them into the vor­tex of ear­ly matu­ri­ty. I have sighed at their fail­ings and rejoiced in their tri­umph. As I wrote the char­ac­ter of the pop star Lola Bay for my nov­el, her ear­ly child­hood is a bit of a mash-up of what can be pub­licly gleaned from study­ing sev­er­al real-life pop­u­lar singers. But Lola Bay’s pure-gold, shin­ing scene at the end of the nov­el, where she meets her young fan at a trag­ic moment (in my mind as I wrote it), is pure Tay­lor Swift as I per­ceive her. 

When it came to the piv­otal scene at the end of The Unof­fi­cial Lola Bay Fan Club, I drew from my sense of Tay­lor Swift and her abil­i­ty to retain her human­i­ty, express empa­thy, and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly show kind­ness and prag­ma­tism to a frag­ile young fan. 

Now that the book is new­ly out in paperback—and find­ing a whole new group of young read­ers — I want­ed to give a shout out to Lola Bay and the female pop stars who inspired her, par­tic­u­lar­ly Tay­lor Swift.


“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)

C.M. Surrisi

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