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Welcome to a special author interview with Lori Goldstein! Lori is the author of the upcoming YA novel, Sources Say, coming out this fall from Razorbill/PenguinTeen. Keep reading to learn more about the book, and Lori’s female role models.
Author: Lori Goldstein
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Two exes. One election. All the drama.
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Morgan Matson comes a funny, hearfelt novel about fueding exes running for class president and the scandal that makes the previously boring school election the newest trending hashtag.
At Acedia High School outside of Boston, student council has always been nothing more than a popularity contest. Nobody pays attention. Nobody cares.
But all that changes when the Frankengirls show up. During the very first week of school, someone plasters the halls with Photoshopped images of three "perfect tens"--images of scantily clad girls made from real photos of girls at school. The student body is livid. And the two presidential candidates, Angeline Quinn and Leo Torres, jump on the opportunity to propose their solutions and secure votes. After their messy break up, Leo and Angie are fighting tooth and nail to win this thing and their constituents are mesmerized as they duke it out.
As if things couldn't be more dramatic, the school's two newspapers get involved. The Red & Blue is run by Angie's sister Cat and she prides herself on only reporting the facts. But her morals are tested when The Shrieking Violet--written by an anonymous source and based less on facts and more on fiction--blatantly endorses Leo. Rumors fly, secrets are leaked, and the previously mundane student election becomes anything but boring.
Praise for Sources Say by Lori Goldstein
“Alternating chapters between Angeline and Cat, this fun and provocative novel sees the sisters growing in their relationship while dealing with thorny issues of accountability, truth, enacting change, and the systemic sexism prevalent in their school. . . . Entertaining, thought-provoking, and heartwarming.” — Kirkus Reviews
“A timely and smart novel that examines the pernicious effects of fake news and what it means to be a feminist, and even better, a sister. Lori Goldstein knows the teenage girl’s heart.” — Stacey Lee, award-winning author of The Downstairs Girl
“A whip-smart, razor-sharp foray into school politics, friendship, family, and the nature of female ambition. Sources Say is savvy, heartfelt, and so very timely.” — Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of Firsts, Last, Girl Lied To, and All Eyes on Her
“If there was ever a book for our time, this is it! Scandal, drama, romance, and fake news collide in this fun, clever, fast-paced read.” — Jessica Brody, bestselling author of The Chaos of Standing Still, In Some Other Life, and A Week of Mondays
Author Interview: Lori Goldstein
How do you keep inspired to write during this time? Has your process changed?
I’ve been lucky to continue my teaching for Grub Street remotely, and the work and dedication of my students has been a large part of keeping me inspired to continue my own projects. But I also find that focusing on my writing is a way to allow the joy and positive feelings that come from being creative to be infused in my daily life. I’ve expanded that to other areas too—be it painting a room or cooking a new recipe or challenging myself with a new form of exercise. Finding other outlets is a huge help during tough times.
Has your experience as a journalist helped to shape this story?
My experience as a student journalist both in high school and college inspired the story. I know what it was like to work hard to put out an accurate, thoughtful, interesting newspaper—and to have readers not always respond as you hoped, which the character of Cat experiences. But the novel is also shaped by the way the media has changed and is still changing. I think we are in a transition period that will form what the new role of journalism will be. There are so many questions surrounding that, ones I don’t have the answers to, but ones that will spark conversations I’m deeply interested in.
What inspired your characters? Is there one that you relate to?
It’s easy to say there’s a lot of me in Cat, as she’s the main character who is into journalism. She’s the editor in chief of her school newspaper and a strict adherent to “old school” media. And while I share her passion, and that’s a great jumping off place for a character, I always build characters that go beyond those pieces of myself because that’s (1) way more fun and (2) allows me to tell the story I want to tell. I love Angeline’s ambition, and feel that myself, but not necessarily her methods. By giving my characters traits I both share and don’t, I get to relate to them but also write about things that I find interesting conversation starters.
Who are your female role models?
I am inspired by so many women who are in the public eye and work so hard for what they believe, like Kamala Harris and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as some of the pioneering female reporters like Christiane Amanpour, and ones I listen to each day like Lakshmi Singh and Rachel Martin. But, on a more personal level, I’m constantly in awe of my family and close friends—my mom who was a nurse on an oncology floor and helped so many patients and their loved ones through the worst things they would face in life; my sister who works hard and is raising two amazing children despite many personal struggles; my author friends who are supremely talented and write amazing books while holding down full-time jobs and parenting little ones. I’m grateful to be surrounded by so many strong women whom I constantly learn from.
Is there a message that you hope to convey to your readers through SOURCES SAY?
SOURCES SAY has a lot of fun in it—from the characters to the dialogue to the included illustrations and social media posts—and I want readers to enjoy the experience of reading it. Ultimately, it is a story about family, both biological and found, and I hope readers see that and think of the important relationships in their own lives.
But it does cover some important and timely topics. How does our media cover and treat our political candidates? What responsibility do journalists have in relaying the news? What responsibility do news consumers have for parsing out what’s real and what’s fake—and how do you begin to discern the line between those things in a world where we are inundated with news and rumors and social media? The character of Cat says the journalism of her grandfather’s day is not the journalism of hers, and that’s true. Things might change, and we all might need to be able to adapt, but that doesn’t mean truth no longer matters. I want readers to internalize that and fight for it in whatever ways they can.
Describe your novel in 3 words.
Election meets Gossip Girl. (oops, that’s technically 4!)
Thanks so much to Lori Goldstein for this lovely author interview!