Author Interview: Sources Say by Lori Goldstein
It’s election season (YASSSS Biden/Harris ftw) and we checked in with Lori Goldstein on her election-adjacent recent release, Sources Say. Check out of a bit of about MCs Angeline and Cat plus a crossover from Sources Say and Screen Queens!
Sources Sayby Lori Goldstein
Published by: Razorbill
on September 8, 2020
Genres: Young Adult
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.
Interview with Lori Goldstein
What lunch tables would Angeline and Cat sit at and what’s in their lunch boxes?
Angeline would float from lunch table to lunch table because she’s all about getting more followers and more subscribers to her YouTube channel. When she finally sat down to open her lunch box, she’d be surrounded by her three best friends, Riley, Sonya, and Maxine. For what she’d eat? She’d likely have to be trying one of Riley’s “envelope pushing” smoothie concoctions—carrots, nutella, and smoked salmon anyone? Ew. But Angeline would try it, because she’s a good friend. Then she’d move on to something she’s testing out for a segment, like “5 nuts to make your eyes pop” or “kombucha your way to whiter teeth”. Cat, on the other hand, wouldn’t even step into the cafeteria. She spends every lunch period in the newsroom, going over old stories, coming up with new, and trying to find ways to gain readers. She’d be so absorbed, she’d probably forget to eat. But, thankfully, her designer, Ravi, would swing by with a chicken salad wrap or an avocado BLT. She’d be wanting him to ask her out, she’d be wanting to ask him out, the whole time, but her nerves would ensure her mouth was always too full to ask or answer.
In Sources Say, you explore politics in a very now way that is applicable to high school. When did you first become aware of the importance of engaging politically?
I was not a member of student government in high school, and I’m sad and embarrassed to have to admit that I was not the most politically active or knowledgeable when I was a teen—about student government or real-world government. What I was involved in was journalism, from high school through college and beyond. And that was my way into understanding the importance of engaging politically, much the same as the main character of Cat’s journey in Sources Say. I started as an old-school journalist all the way, same as Cat. And like Cat, I’ve had to change and learn and expand my views on what media means. There’s so much involved, from the role of reporters to objectivity versus subjectivity to how the media covers political issues and candidates to how candidates use the media for their own ends. I certainly don’t claim to have the answers to these weighty questions, but I wanted to write Sources Say to explore these issues and to spark those conversations. I am inspired by what so many teens today are doing, most recently in the Black Lives Matter protests. From big cities to small towns, teens are often leading the charge, standing up for what they believe even in the face of pushback and outright harassment and bullying. I honestly do not know if I’d have been as strong as a teen, which makes me even more in awe of students speaking up, supporting one another, and pushing for change. I am proud of this generation and to see what they will continue to do.
What would your characters in Screen Queens do if they were dropped in the world of Sources Say?
Ooh, this is fun! In Screen Queens, we have the ambitious Lucy, who is smart but well aware that getting ahead involves “playing the game.” And she doesn’t, at least at the start of the book, have many qualms about embodying the “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” philosophy. This means she and Sources Say’s Angeline, an equally as ambitious burgeoning YouTube star, would have some things in common. At the start of Sources Say, Angeline makes a very questionable choice to further her career that betrays her boyfriend and leads to their breakup. Angeline starts out in a much more remorseful place as a result, able to see her flaws, and I think she’d actually help Lucy on her own path to understand the darker side of ambition and the importance of boundaries. I think shy, reserved, coding genius Delia and the smart, reserved newspaper editor Cat would gravitate to each other fairly quickly. Cat’s more cautious than shy, so I think she’d be able to draw out Delia. And since the two are entering into their first-ever romantic relationships, they’d have much to talk about! For Screen Queen’s Maddie, who doesn’t trust or make friends easily, I think she’d be spearheading the investigation into who created the Frankengirls and who’s behind the rival, Onion-like digital newspaper of The Shrieking Violet. Because when Maddie does make friends, she’ll do anything to protect them. Though she’d likely ferret out the culprits fast, so that’d end the book waaaaay too early! 😉