The mud-slinging, alliances, rumors and political maneuvering continue…all while the biggest scandal in Georgetown Academy history rocks the school.
In the halls of Georgetown Academy, gossip and rumor abound. But when photographic proof shows up on the front page of The Huffington Post? Then it’s a national scandal.
While Ellie tries to put her life back together, Evan just might get everything she’s ever wanted—the perfect boyfriend and her dream career. But her loyalties will be put to the test when it turns out to be the very people she’s closest to who are standing in her way.
Brinley is determined to find out who is behind the photo leak, all while her own dirty secret spirals out of control. And California girl Taryn is sick of being walked all over and ready to start playing by the rules of D.C., for better or for worse.
In a world where reputation and appearances are everything, knowledge is power. But you’ll have to learn how to use it if you want to come out on top.
What’s Cool from Coliloquy:
As the Georgetown Academy girls get ready for Follow the Stars, authors Alyssa and Jessica let readers decide which of the main girls to follow when they go out at night. You’ll see scandalous behavior, unexpected liaisons, and secret betrayals…all giving you a different perspective as events unfold.
Brinley slammed the front door behind Taryn, squeezed her facial muscles into her best expression of innocent apathy, and strolled into the study where Brooks was waiting for her with a priest-like solemnity.
“What’s going on? You look like you do when you get a stain on your shirt and don’t have immediate access to a Tide stick,” Brinley said as she gingerly perched on the arm of her father’s oversized leather chair.
“I always have immediate access to a Tide stick,” Brooks said, not even cracking a smile. He crossed his arms then cocked his head casually. “So anything going on in your life I should know about?”
Brinley cracked her knuckles. It was a nervous habit she had developed around the same time she started taking Adderall.
“Well…I finally got off the waitlist for that Fendi Gialla baguette I’ve been wanting,” Brinley answered, innocently.
“Congratulations. I know that’s really been hanging over your head. But that’s not what I’m talking about.”
Brinley’s pulse quickened as she tried to read his face. He didn’t look like he wanted to talk about a ski trip to Vail. Her palms started to sweat all over again, which was both troublesome and repulsive.
“Brooks, my time is valuable, so get to the point,” she said, steadying the quiver in her voice.
“Sure,” Brooks responded, walking over to her. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a shiny white bottle of Adderall, confirming her worst fear. He had found the hidden bottle.
“What’s that?” she asked, as if that bottle’s contents weren’t the first thing she thought about in the morning and the last thing she thought about before she went to bed. She was not going down without a fight. She could still get out of this.
“I know you’re trying to convince yourself you can get out of this, but it’s not going to happen.” Dammit. She took a deep breath, but it got caught in her throat like she was underwater.
“It’s not what it looks like. They’re not actually mine,” Brinley heard herself say, but it sounded weak. It was over and they both knew it.
“Come on, Brinley. An addiction to Adderall? How nouveau can you get? You might as well have made it Oxy so we could get ourselves on some rehab reality show with a bunch of toothless rednecks arguing about which childhood trauma sent them over the edge!”
“How did you even find out?” That wasn’t the point, but she was still curious.
“You left the bottle in your medicine cabinet.”
Her medicine cabinet! That’s where she had “hidden” it! A toddler could have found a more clandestine spot. She could practically taste the idiotic Lemoncellos that had caused this debacle.
“That’s unconstitutional! Illegal search and seizure!”
“I had probable cause and we need to stay on point here. You have to get this under control. Now. Or would you rather I get our mother and father involved?”
“No!” She practically yelled, grabbing his arm. Her parents were fine if Brinley bent the rules on the occasions that she needed to, but if she got caught bending the rules, that was another story entirely. “Look, just so you know, I’m only taking one pill a day.” Another lie, but it sounded slightly more convincing than her other ones.
“Then that’s one too many. It’s over. Today. Now nod your head so I know you understand me.”
Brinley nodded her head. Thankfully, he didn’t know where she kept her other two bottles. She was going to have to find a more covert hiding place than that Miu Miu shoe box.
Brooks leaned back against the mahogany built-in bookshelves, careful not to knock over the framed photographs of their father with Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. He gave her a grave look. “Just think for a second what would happen if this got out. I mean, seriously, do you really want to become the Roger Clinton of the family?”
All the air escaped from Brinley’s lungs. “You’re crossing the line, Brooks!” Everyone knew the Clintons were Brinley’s sworn enemies. And to be compared to the most dysfunctional one of them all was the lowest insult Brooks could hurl at her.
“Are we clear?” he replied curtly, ignoring her outburst.
“We’re clear,” she answered just to end this abominable interrogation. She had no intention of stopping her Adderall consumption. She was just going to have to figure out a way to circumvent Brooks constantly breathing down her neck.
She turned on her heel, smoothed the hair off her face and walked back into the kitchen…where Taryn was grabbing something off the table.
Brinley froze. “I thought you left.”
“Your housekeeper let me in. I forgot my phone,” Taryn muttered, not meeting Brinley’s eye.
She could have heard everything.
When Taryn finally looked up at Brinley from across the table, Brinley could swear she saw her eyes do a little victory dance.
Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz met the first day of freshman year at the University of Southern California and instantly bonded over their obsessions with Brenda Walsh, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and The Babysitters Club books they read growing up. After spending a full year mourning the end of college, they began writing television and feature scripts together. They have set up pilots at ABC, NBC, Fox and CW, and sold films to The Weinstein Company, Happy Madison, Paramount, New Regency, MGM and Alloy Entertainment. They love writing female-centric stories, especially for teen and tween audiences, mainly because they still think they are the 18-year-old girls they were when they first met at USC.
Lisa: While conducting research for the book, what was the best story you heard?
Alyssa & Jessica: Our favorite story was one we actually heard from a few different people who all went to the same huge high school party a few years ago. It was a celebration after a big game and the son of an ambassador threw it at his embassy/house. The party was out of control and at one point, the cops showed up and surrounded the embassy to break up the party. But they couldn’t step foot on the property because of diplomatic immunity. All the students knew this so they stood outside (but within the confines of the embassy) and were blatantly drinking in front of the cops, though there was nothing the police could do about it. Finally the cops had had enough, got on their megaphones and said, “Congratulations on your victory” (referring to the game their school had just won) and left them alone. The students had a double victory that night with the amazing party loophole you could only find in Washington D.C.
Lisa: Jen Waynn says your Adderall scenes are spot on. Who did the OD research on that one?
Alyssa & Jessica: Well, we did have some looooong days of writing…Kidding. We did a ton of research and mainly read about a lot of first-hand experiences from people who had kicked the habit.
Lisa: The most common feedback we hear from readers, editors, and even our male engineers, is that the series is “addictive” or “like cocaine.” Everyone wants to know what happens next. I think part of the reason is how much movement you have in the story. Is that something you gained from TV work?
Alyssa & Jessica: Definitely. When you’re plotting out a TV script, you’re really focused on what happens before and after the Act Break (when the show goes to commercial) so there is a dramatic tension you’re always aware of. Every chapter ending is like an Act Break for us — we want the readers left on the edge of their seats so they want to come back for more. The other great TV lesson we learned is about creating characters you are invested enough in that you tune in every week to see them in whatever fun and dramatic situations they’ve gotten themselves into. So we did a lot of work on the characters to create that same feeling where you can’t wait to see what happens to them from book to book.
Lisa: On the same trend – we are publishing this one in mini-series…I’m actually really glad now, because if I had to wait too long, I’d be devastated. Do you guys get as excited to write this one as we are to read it?
Alyssa & Jessica: Yes! We are completely obsessed with the world and the characters. It gets to the point where between books we are actually dreaming about Georgetown Academy (we know, it’s weird), but it just gets us even more excited to put the words on the page. And Alyssa lives in D.C. so everywhere she goes, she imagines our characters in the locations. Then she immediately bombards Jessica’s inbox with photos.