Read an Excerpt
Welcome to Laguna Beach. Brace yourself for hookups and heartbreak, cliques and crushes, parties, players, drama queens, hot guys, and mean girls. Gossip spreads like wildfire, and the seniors rule the school.
And don't forget the money outrageous amounts of it. Or the beach if you live in Laguna, you live at the beach. Thank God Louis Vuitton purses look awesome with Roxy board shorts.
Despite all this fabulousness, Laguna Beach still feels like a small town. Sometimes it feels way too small. By senior year, everybody knows all the details of your personal life and your past, no matter how embarrassing and some of it is horribly embarrassing. Even the early years of the guys and girls of Laguna Beach were filled with heartbreak, gossip, and drama....
Copyright © 2005 by MTV Networks. All rights reserved.
Kristin wasn't thrilled with her dad's decision to send her to Catholic school for her freshman year in Laguna Beach. First, her family wasn't even Catholic. Second, the school was forty-five minutes away, which meant she had to get up extra early every morning and she got home so late after school that she missed a ton of prime after-school beach time.
At least it was better than having to stay in frigid, windy Chicago with her stepsiblings, Kristin told herself. Besides, the uniforms weren't bad, some of the kids actually seemed pretty nice, and she could always hang out at the beach on the weekends.
Since Santa Margarita High School didn't offer driver's education, Kristin had to take the class in the evening at the local public high school instead. She was used to being the new girl by now. She knew she might have to sit by herself for the entire course, but so what? She could deal. It's just one class, she reminded herself as she walked down a hallway of the school. She found the room number she was looking for and braced herself to see a room full of unfamiliar and possibly unfriendly faces as she walked into driver's ed on the first night of class.
It wasn't what she expected at all. Almost from the moment she sat down, she was struck by how warm and friendly everybody was. Somehow she just hit it off with the other kids in class. They seemed much more like her than the students at her own school. First she met a guy named Ian. He introduced her to a girl named Alex M.
Alex, who knew how closed the Bubble could seem to outsiders, always made it a point to help newcomers feel welcome, especially newcomers like Kristin. Alex liked her instantly.
"We should hang out sometime," Alex said casually one night as they were walking out of class together. "Gimme a call."
Kristin thought about it after she got home. Girls said things like that all the time and they didn't mean it. They didn't really expect you to call. But, why not? Alex seemed genuine, and Kristin was anxious to make some new friends outside Santa Margarita.
Alex sounded a little surprised to hear Kristin's voice, but she warmed up quickly and invited Kristin to a party a guy named Talan was throwing a few nights later.
"What's his name?" Kristin asked, thinking she might have misunderstood.
"Talan," Alex repeated. "He's nice. A lot of the girls think he's hot. Actually, he's probably hooked up with half of them already," she added with a laugh.
Kristin eagerly agreed to go to Talan's party with Alex M. that Friday night. To her delight, Alex knew everyone, and before long, so did Kristin. Just as in driver's ed, Kristin was impressed by how easily she fit in with the kids from the public high school. She especially liked a girl named Alex H., who she'd met that night.
"Kristin's a lot of fun," Alex H. told Alex M. "How come we've never met her before?"
"She goes to Catholic school," Alex M. told her. "But I'm pretty sure she wants to switch and go to school with us next year."
In no time at all, Kristin and the two Alexes were the best of friends. They went everywhere together to lunch, to the beach, to parties. They were too young to drive, so when they wanted to go anyplace that was too far to walk, they took the bus. It didn't matter where A.K.A. as they called themselves went, they always had fun. Something happened nearly every day to send them into fits of hysterical laughter, whether it was a guy's lame pickup line or Kristin's goofy Brady Bunch dance.
When Kristin finished driver's ed, she was sure she had failed her permit test because she got nine wrong (you were only allowed to miss seven), and her road test because she ran over a curb (an automatic fail). But she didn't care. She was happy in Laguna Beach. She had a new life and new friends. Really good friends. Hopefully they would do better than she did on the road test and once they had driver's licenses they would be able to give her rides. If not, she'd take the bus. Who cared? At least she had parties to go to now.
To her amazement, the guys who administered the driving tests let her slide. They gave her passing grades despite her mistakes. Life was good.
And it was about to get even better. Kristin's dad agreed to let her attend the public high school, with the two Alexes and all her other friends, starting in the fall of her sophomore year.
It might have been a stupid rule, but there was no getting around it. Lauren wasn't allowed to date until she turned sixteen. And if you couldn't date, what was the use of having a boyfriend?
Besides, she didn't want to miss out on all the fun of being with her girlfriends during her sophomore year. They always had such a great time together. And, hey, she figured, there were plenty of cute guys around to hook up with at parties if you just needed someone to kiss. Boyfriends? Serious dating? Definitely not high on the priority list.
So when she and Christina were hanging out at Lo's house one night and Lo asked if they wanted to visit the guy who lived next door, a senior at their high school, Lauren said, "Sure."
It turned out several other senior guys were already at Lo's neighbor's house watching TV with him. Lauren didn't know any of them, though she recognized a boy named Dane because he was the senior class president. Lauren was the sophomore class president, and they had been in a leadership class together at school, despite their age difference. Dane recognized Lauren, too, and before she knew it they had struck up a conversation. By the end of the night, they were holding hands and exchanging phone numbers.
"So," Lo asked, suppressing a giggle, as they walked back to her house. "What's up with you and Dane?"
"I don't know." Lauren shrugged. "He seems nice."
Dane called the next day. And the next. Before long they were together all the time. Things always happen when you're not looking for them, and in spite of her best intentions, Lauren had a boyfriend...a boyfriend who she couldn't date because her sixteenth birthday was still a whole six months away. It might as well have been forever.
She couldn't bring herself to fess up about being under the legal limit for dating in the Conrad house. Not when Dane was a senior with a driver's license, a car, and probably a free pass from his parents to date as much as he wanted. So, instead she started coming up with creative excuses to keep him from catching on to the fact that she wasn't allowed to go anywhere alone with him.
If Dane wanted to drive her to a party, Lauren would tell him Lo or Christina had already begged her to go with them. Why didn't she just meet him there instead? If he showed up at her house to watch movies while her parents were supposedly going out to dinner, she was ready with a story about how one of them wasn't feeling well so they had decided to stay home at the last minute.
Dane accepted her stories without question. Either he genuinely believed them or he didn't want to embarrass her. All the same, Lauren was relieved when at last her sixteenth birthday arrived. She was running out of ideas for cover stories.
Her girlfriends took her out for sushi in honor of the big night. Right in the middle of dinner, the waitress brought over an enormous bouquet of roses from Dane. Attached to it was a note offering to take her out for a special birthday dinner, just the two of them.
A few nights later, Dane picked Lauren up at her front door with no objection from her or her parents and drove her to an elegant restaurant, where they were seated at the best table in the house and treated to a delicious meal topped off with sinfully rich dessert. As they drove home, Lauren thanked her boyfriend for an amazing evening.
"I wanted to do something special to celebrate," he told her. "I wanted to make sure it was a memorable date."
"Don't worry," Lauren assured him. "It was."
Copyright © 2005 MTV Networks