Book Review: “According to a Source: A Novel” by Abby Stern

This cover image released by Thomas Dunne Books shows "According to a Source," a novel by Abby Stern. (Thomas Dunne Books via AP)

This cover image released by Thomas Dunne Books shows "According to a Source," a novel by Abby Stern. (Thomas Dunne Books via AP)

Do you ever wonder how celebrity gossip outlets uncover all that juicy info? How can media sources gain access and report on the private moments of Hollywood starlets? The job is a huge undertaking, both physically and emotionally, in Abby Stern’s debut novel, “According to a Source.”

Ella Warren is a reporter for the online celebrity news website The Life. She’s paid to attend A-List parties and grand openings of the hottest clubs in Los Angeles and to meet her famous friend Holiday Hall for drinks at Chateau Marmont. Thanks to Holiday’s connections, Ella is able to infiltrate inner circles and VIP areas without hesitation.

Although she’s good at her job, Ella lives in a constant state of anxiety that her cover will be blown and her reputation will spiral away into the abyss, along with her career.

To make matters worse, Ella’s new boss, Victoria, is a tyrant. The woman institutes a weekly point system that forces her undercover reporters to compete for the most tantalizing story. Victoria then ranks her employees based on the shock value of each bit of enticing news. Those on the bottom each week will be fired. Ella’s drive to succeed is suddenly through the roof.

Everyone in Ella’s life suffers from her need to attend every important event in town. Ella’s desire to please her boss each week slowly transforms her into someone her family barely recognizes. Her relationships suffer. Her priorities sway. And when Victoria demands an exclusive, Ella is forced to consider taking advantage of her friendship with Holiday.

“According to a Source” is a lively, fast-paced novel that takes a fascinating look at the underbelly of Hollywood reporting. Readers will experience an array of emotions, ultimately rooting for Ella to find her authentic self in a sea of fabricated lifestyles.

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