The Gossip File by Anna Staniszewski
January 6th, 2015; ISBN: 9781492607854; $6.99; Trade Paper
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky– Juvenile Fiction, Social Issues
Ages 10-14, Grades 4-8
The Gossip File:
Chandra lets little kids pee in the pool.
Melody stole $ from the café register.
Ava isn’t who she says she is…
Ava is cool. Ava is confident. Ava is really Rachel Lee who is lying her butt off.
Rachel is visiting her dad at a resort in sunny Florida and is ready for two weeks of relaxing poolside, trips to Disney World – and NOT scrubbing toilets. Until her dad’s new girlfriend, Ellie, begs Rachel to help out at her short-staffed café. That’s when Rachel kinda sorta adopts a new identity to impress the cool, older girls who work there. Ava is everything Rachel wishes she could be. But when the girls ask “Ava” to help add juicy resort gossip to their file, Rachel’s not sure what to do…especially when one of the entries is a secret about Ellie.
Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and eating far too much chocolate. She is the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series, the Dirt Diary series, and the forthcoming Switched at First Kiss series, all published by Sourcebooks. Visit her at www.annastan.com.
- Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:
The Gossip File is a funny, realistic tween novel. When 14-year-old Rachel Lee goes to Florida for the summer, she doesn’t expect to spend her vacation slaving away at a coffee shop, lying about her identity, or facing off with her dad’s new girlfriend.
- Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
The book is for anyone who enjoys laughing/cringing at the embarrassments of middle school, and it’s also a story about a family struggling with divorce. Plus, people who like pastries will have lots of mouth-watering recipes to read about.
- How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
The first book in the series was originally called Dirt, which was a little too vague and sounded a bit gritty. Eventually, it turned into The Dirt Diary which reflects the nature of the story much more. With the third book in the series, The Gossip File, I wanted to stick with a similar format to that of the first two titles, and I also wanted to imply that there will be more “dirt” in store in the final installment.
- Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I am so lucky that I have a fantastic cover designer, Regina Flath at Sourcebooks. I was able to meet her at Book Expo America this past year, and she told me that her daughter is a fan of my books, so I know she really gets what tween readers are looking for.
- Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
I love my main character, Rachel. In some ways she’s like me in that she’s neurotic and shy, but her quirks are much more exaggerated than mine are. It’s been so interesting to watch her grow and change over the span of three books, and to see her learning from her mistakes while still getting herself into sticky and embarrassing situations.
- How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
It was interesting to develop Rachel’s dad’s girlfriend, Ellie, who had only been mentioned in the first two books. I tried to make her a somewhat mysterious character so that Rachel isn’t sure if she’s someone who can be trusted, and I pretty much wound up feeling the same way about her. In the end, I’m not sure she’s someone I would want to hang out with.
- If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?
The third book is set in Florida during summer vacation which means that Rachel has to leave her friends and her boyfriend for a few weeks, and she only gets to talk to them on the phone. I love Rachel’s best friend Marisol and her boyfriend Evan, so it was a little sad not to be able to spend as much time with them in this story as in the others.
- What’s the next project for you?
Right now I’m working on the second book in the Switched at First Kiss series. The first book, I’m With Cupid, is about a boy Cupid and a girl Grim Reaper who kiss at a party and accidentally swap powers, and it will be coming out in July. I’ve really loved working on this new series so far!
- What are you reading right now?
I just finished a fun, quirky novel by Dana Alison Levy called The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher which was full of fascinating and hilarious characters. I was sad when it was over because I couldn’t keep hanging out with them anymore!
- Any advice for upcoming authors?
This probably sounds very clichéd, but never give up! Think about what your author goals are and keep working toward them until you make them happen, no matter how hard it is or how many rejections you get. The only way you can get there is by always moving forward.