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Can A Paper Cut-Out Be A Villain?

An illustration of several people, each one passing some juicy gossip on to the next one.
Illustration by Tara Jacoby

When I was a child, I had a Flat Stanley. He started off as a book character, if I remember correctly, and was smushed by a bulletin board that hung above his bed. That part was haunting. The true point of Flat Stanley, though, wasn't to induce terror over falling objects, it was travel. Flat Stanley, because he was flat, could be rolled up and shipped. And so many schoolchildren did this, including me. I loved it, but I was also a child. I cannot imagine as an adult, printing out a little guy, laminating it, and bringing it with me on a trip. But I guess some people do this!

In this week's episode of Normal Gossip, it isn't a Flat Stanley who travels for a children's project, but a flat cut-out of someone's sister that is towed along through an adventure for unclear reasons. There are demands to take photos with the "sister" who is laminated, and time spent debating whether or not the cut-out should get special treatment. It is, beginning to end, a mess.

Joining me this week is Jessica Goodman. Jessica is the New York Times bestselling author of They'll Never Catch Us, They Wish They Were Us, and The Counselors. Her books are about complicated friendships between girls, and sisterhood, and murder! Plus, she worked with DeuxMoi on their new novel.

I talked with Jessica about why she considers gossip the most important part of her books (which I reiterate, all have a murder in them). Then we talked about the role that gossip plays in the life of teenagers, how gossip can function as a plot device, and how celebrities are all snooping on Instagram.

The gossip this week isn't only about a Flat Margaret, though. It's another tale of a girl's trip gone wrong. It's a journey back into the world of Tumblr friendships and One Direction fandom. It's absolute chaos.

You can subscribe to Normal Gossip on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever else you listen! You can follow Normal Gossip on Instagram here.

(The transcript for this week’s episode can be found here.)

And if you do have some good goss that you want us to hear, the email for that is, or phone it in to 2-6-7-9-GOSSIP.

Thank you for listening to Season 3 of our show! We’re still learning and growing and having fun. We hope you are too.

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