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Poster Girl is Out Today!
"You don’t get a free pass, Poster Girl, just for being young. But God, I don’t know, I think I have to believe that you’re not trapped in amber."
She was on the Delegation’s propaganda posters when she was young. She fled when the Delegation was toppled, but she was caught, then sentenced to prison along with all its other favored children. Ten years later, an old enemy presents her with a deal: find a missing girl, and she can earn her freedom.
But Sonya’s family was full of secrets, and secrets can be dangerous.
The missing girl is the biggest secret of all.
I started writing this book in October 2020, in a sunny home office in Los Angeles, across the desk from my husband. I had just decided to take a six month break from social media to write it.
My main character, Sonya, had lived most of her life observed by a mandatory implant in her eye known as an Insight. But she was fond of the Insight, as I’m fond of my smartphone. It opened up the world for her. Answered her questions all throughout her childhood, like another parent. Played music and movies for her. Connected her to other people. And beyond all those things, it rewarded her for even the smallest good behavior. Posture. Manners. Stillness.
But when the uprising destroyed the old regime, the Insight went silent. No more rewards, no more connection, no more of anything.
“You have my sympathy. Everyone else in this city has the option of getting that thing removed, free of charge. But you don’t.” His head tilts. “I suppose I shouldn’t assume that you would, if you could.”
He folds his hands over his knee.
Sonya doesn’t know how to answer. She doesn’t know what he’s trying to do, what he’s getting at, what he wants.
“I don’t know,” she says. “It used to speak to me. Now it’s just there.”
“And you liked it,” he supplies. “When it spoke to you?”
“Why?” Heat rushes into her cheeks as she searches for the words. “Because it…it made the world feel—richer. Everything I looked at had history and complexity that was in my grasp. Everything I did had meaning.”
“No,” he says, softly. “Everything you did was quantified. There’s a difference.”
Taking a break from social media felt a little like that, to me. What would I do, without the influx of photos from Instagram? That sounds silly, but I mean it— I followed cute puppies and kittens, NASA and the New York Times, King Arthur Flour and travel photos. The stream of images in my Instagram feed was beautiful and uplifting, interesting and educational. It added richness to my life.
Then suddenly it was gone. And I was left with an itch that I couldn’t scratch. A twitch of my fingers toward my phone to check something, anything. I started to realize that twitch only happened when I was uncomfortable. Bored. Worried. Sad. I started to realize that I checked things to avoid feelings—to feel numb, when numbness was preferable to discomfort.
Without social media, I had to sit with myself. I had to lean on people. I had to let hard moments pass in their own time. Eventually, I settled into the quiet. I started to make things. Lots of things. I wrote Become of Me. I wrote a novella. And I wrote Poster Girl.
Poster Girl is about a woman wrestling with herself. I wrote it while I was wrestling with myself. It’s gotten some career-best reviews, including two starred ones, and that’s fucking awesome. But let me tell you a secret: what you’re left with, after reviews have come and gone, and book tour is over, and the fever of having a new book out breaks, is always how you feel about the work you produce.
This book made me a better writer, and a wiser person. I am so proud of it.
I hope you love it.
I’m on book tour this week! I’ll be in…
New York City (with Elena Nicolau!)
Fairfield, CT (with my agent, Joanna Volpe! This one will also be virtual, if you want to attend online!)
Cincinnati (with Gwenda Bond!)
St. Louis (with Taran Hunt!)
San Diego (with Cindy Pon!)
Palo Alto (with Yohanca Delgado!)
Click this link for the whole tour round up. To my knowledge, most of the stores that are graciously hosting me will fill orders online and ship. (Inquire with the store about international shipping; I’m not sure.) So please consider ordering a book from one of them! If you get your order in ASAP, I’ll sign it for you, too!
Looking forward to seeing you all IN REAL LIFE!!!
<3 to you and yours, and thank you for supporting my work,
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