The Lo-Down: Life and Love in the Hollywood Hills

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
The Lo-Down: Life and Love in the Hollywood Hills Book Poster Image
Friendly, positive relationship advice for teens.

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Kids say

age 14+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Parents can use this book to offer their own dating advice, as well as their expectations for their teens as they begin dating. Bosworth offers practical advice for dating in the age of social media, addressing texting and Facebook etiquette that parents may want to go over with their kids.

Positive Messages

The message is clear: Girls need to be confident and authentic to find, and keep, a good relationship. Changing values and play-acting to try to please a boyfriend spells trouble. Readers are assured they are valuable, fabulous people and they shouldn’t settle for low-grade relationships. The book reinforces the importance of good manners, listening to and respecting parents and others, and even using discretion in public forums such as Facebook.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The author solidly stands up for romance, but with her feet firmly on solid ground. She's frank about her own poor decisions and owns up to letting narcissism lead her astray in the past. She describes a few friends who forged healthy, thriving relationships by being themselves. In these sketches, she describes the girls’ strengths and how they and their partners have survived the bumps along the road.


The author briefly touches on physically aggressive behavior, always in the context of bad relationships girls shouldn't put up with.


For a book oriented to teens, it's pretty clean. The focus is on the emotional level rather than the physical. There are a few fleeting references to kissing, making out, and hooking up.


It's pretty clean and in keeping with how teens talk. There are a few phrases along the lines of "douche lords," and one ex-boyfriend is described as having "the balls" to criticize his girlfriend's exercise habits.


The author is a reality television star who appeared on Laguna Beach and The Hills -- and she launched a relationship website along with her book. Inside there are a few fashion references, but usually in the context of making a larger point. For example, the author writes about rejecting her boyfriend's criticism of her appearance by reminding herself that Vogue liked her Chloe boots.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol use is brought up in the context of describing one of the “Baddies,” a troublemaker whose abuse of alcohol lands him in trouble for DUI, assaults, and the like.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this chatty book offers a self-confidence boost to girls wading into the dating scene. Sexual behavior is barely touched on as focus is on nurturing confidence and maturity, with respecting yourself before trying to develop a serious relationship. It doesn't offer much in the way of deep insights, but it's a harmless, fun choice for the genre. Teens will recognize the name Lo Bosworth: The author is a reality television star who appeared on Laguna Beach and The Hills -- and she launched a relationship website along with her book.

User Reviews

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Kid, 9 years old March 17, 2011


It is a pretty good book!

What's the story?

Lo Bosworth, made famous on MTV’s Laguna Beach and The Hills, shares her advice for finding – and landing – the perfect boyfriend. Geared toward teens and very young adults, she describes warning signs of bad relationships, encouraging signs of good ones, and discusses how both men and women can nurture or sabotage a relationship. Her essential message to be true to yourself, and true love will follow.

Is it any good?

Bosworth’s casual, intimate style comes across as a girlfriend trying to help a younger friend. Her advice is fairly conventional, but her strength is her understanding of how teen girls think and act (she published this at the ripe old age of 24). There are quizzes, recipes, and plenty of anecdotes to draw readers in. Bosworth even offers practical advice for dating in the age of social media, addressing texting and Facebook etiquette.

Even so, her values are more of the old-fashioned variety -- and she puts a lot of emphasis on being true to yourself. Bosworth uses puzzle pieces as a metaphor, arguing that only two pieces are an exact fit, and there's no point trying to force a match. Relationships require flexibility and work, she says, but girls shouldn't reinvent themselves or it won't work. Readers won't respond to everything in this book, but they will be encouraged by the overall message: Believe in yourself, and don't settle for a relationship that makes you doubt your worth.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the usefulness of an advice book such as this. Do you learn anything new, or does it reinforce what you already believed?

  • Families also can talk about what qualifies someone to give advice. Lo Bosworth became famous as a teen on a reality show. Do you think her advice, rooted in her experiences and those of her friends, is any more valid than that offered by your friends, your parents, or other people close to you?

  • Bosworth comes from a privileged background, but her advice is intended to apply to girls who don't share her upper-class Los Angeles background. Why do you think the book is subtitled Life and Love in the Hollywood Hills?

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