An intrepid reporter puts her investigative skills to work during a national journalism contest. YA Contemporary
Hi – My name is Laura and I’m currently working on a YA contemporary novel about a sixteen year old reporter. I love reading a variety of YA genres — including mystery, contemporary, fantasy, dystopia and historical fiction.
The only thing I really hate reading is violence to animals
Sixteen-year-old Leona Swick wants nothing more than to be an award winning journalist like her late father. She’s well on her way as the author of a popular high school column, “Leona’s Lit.” But when Leona writes an article about her government teacher’s proclivity for stealing presidential campaign yard signs, the principal deems her column too incendiary and suspends it.
Determined to get it back, Leona enters a new, nationwide reality-style journalism contest called ‘So You Think You Can Write.’ Miraculously, she becomes one of eight contestants chosen to participate. Not only does Leona have the opportunity to travel to Boston to compete against her arch rival and potential love interest, she finally gets to visit the city where her father worked before his murder.
As the competition heats up, Leona puts her reporting skills to work and becomes one of the contest front runners. But when an assignment covering a presidential rally goes terribly wrong, Leona’s forced to confront her own biases about the people she interviewed and wrongly judged. She struggles to pick up the pieces while tackling her most important assignment yet—uncovering the mystery behind her father’s final, unpublished story. When a young man she’s interviewing reveals a shocking theory about her dad’s death, Leona must decide how far she’s willing to go to uncover a truth some would prefer to leave buried. Pursuing the story could cost her the contest victory. But if she ignores it, she risks failing her father, his legacy and the reporter she believes he would want her to be.
BURY THE LEDE is a 77,000 word YA contemporary novel that will appeal to fans of Dear Rachel Maddow and Veronica Mars.
My dad used to say that a good reporter is like a gardener. Always digging up dirt. Unfortunately that dirt has landed me in the principal’s office. I sit across from Principal Wharton—or Wart, as we call him—while he aims his droopy, bulldog-style frown at me. He jabs the most recent edition of the Gabbington Beaconwith his middle finger. It’s the finger with the huge mole on it, the one that earned him his nickname. A second later, he slides our school newspaper across the desk. Without glancing at the headline, I know the story’s mine. Beside him, Mrs. Keefe shoots daggers my way. A Channel 5 Northern Michigan news truck is visible through the window behind her. Hopefully the other stations got bored and left.
“Leona deserves to be suspended,” Mrs. Keefe announces.
Wart adjusts his tie. “You’ve gone too far this time,” he says to me.
I lean back in my chair. It squeaks. I’m not too worried, yet. This isn’t my first, second, or even third visit to Wart’s office. My column draws his ire at least once a semester. “Leona’s Lit,” it’s called. Not lit as in literature, but lit as in on fire.
“I want to know who gave you that video,” Mrs. Keefe demands.
“Why, so you can steal that too?” I ask.
“That’s enough.” Wart sighs. He clasps his hands together and closes his eyes. It’s difficult to tell who he’s more annoyed with, me or her. A second later he opens his eyes and narrows his gaze on me.
“I’m giving you a chance to explain,” he says.
“I think the column lays it out quite nicely,” I say, trying not to be a total smart ass. “Mrs. Keefe is a closet klepto.”
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