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Where Are You, Echo Blue?

A Novel

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On sale Jul 16, 2024 | 10 Hours and 30 Minutes | 9780593870181
A smart, juicy, and page-turning novel about celebrity, fandom, and the price of ambition following a journalist's obsessive search for a missing Hollywood starlet

When Echo Blue, the most famous child star of the nineties, disappears ahead of a highly publicized television appearance on the eve of the millennium, the salacious theories instantly start swirling. Mostly, people assume Echo has gotten herself in trouble after a reckless New Year’s Eve. But Goldie Klein, an ambitious young journalist who also happens to be Echo's biggest fan, knows there must be more to the story. Why, on the eve of her big comeback, would Echo just go missing without a trace?

After a year of covering dreary local stories for Manhattan Eye, Goldie is sure this will be her big break. Who better to find Echo Blue, and tell her story the right way, than her? And so, Goldie heads to L.A. to begin a wild search that takes her deep into Echo’s complicated life in which parental strife, friend break ups, rehab stints, and bad romances abound. But the further into Echo’s world Goldie gets, the more she questions her own complicity in the young star’s demise . . . yet she cannot tear herself away from this story, which has now consumed her entirely. Meanwhile, we also hear Echo's side of things from the beginning, showing a young woman who was chewed up and spit out by Hollywood as so many are, and who may have had to pay the ultimate price. 

As these young women's poignant and unexpected journeys unfold, and eventually meet, Where Are You, Echo Blue? interrogates celebrity culture, the thin line between admiration and obsession, and what it means to tell other peoples’ stories, all while ushering us on an unruly ride to find out what did become of Echo Blue.
1.

In 2000, right after the turn of the millennium, I began my search for Echo Blue, who was the most famous child star of the late twentieth century.

I was obsessed. But you already know this.

I was covering the New Year's celebration at the New York Times because I wasn't talented enough to get a job at the New York Times. Instead, I was an entry-level reporter at Manhattan Eye. I was at ME because they were the only ones to give me a call back. This wasn't something I would readily admit.

I was twenty-two, and I should have felt lucky to have the job. ME was an institution, a respected magazine, a stepping-stone for Times' journalists and editors, but it was also a dinosaur sans the Times' subscription numbers.

I had agreed to this assignment because I didn't have any plans for that night, and I thought I could at least introduce myself to a few people. Except all the editors were drunk. There was no networking to be done.

Among the desks and offices of the Times' eleventh floor, a fancy dinner of filet mignon and shrimp was served by waiters wearing white gloves, while jazz from a live band floated from the brightly lit balcony. Old white editors stood around their printers and desks in stuffy black-and-white tuxedos. It was like witnessing the sinking of the Titanic.

The staff writers huddled alone at their desks behind big-windowed offices, clearly too busy to participate-or at least hoping to seem like they were. I passed the office of Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Siobhan O'Donnell three times, staring as she clacked away at her keyboard, until she threw a book at me and screamed to stop skulking around her door. I nibbled on a few shrimp, took a sip out of the engraved champagne flutes that read 01-00-00. I snapped a photo of the incorrect date. Then a reporter who I think was on acid shouted, "Don't you dare take a picture of me," and hid behind a cubicle.

In the corner of the room there were three large televisions on a table turned to local news stations. No one seemed to be paying attention, so I inched my way over to one of the televisions and casually flipped the channel to MTV, where I expected to see Echo Blue cozily chatting with MTV host Carson Daly. They had promoted her appearance for weeks. Instead, a commotion had erupted, with producers on their mics, scrambling in the background.

Then Carson Daly spoke directly into the camera. "Okay, guys, it looks like Echo Blue can't make it." The studio audience groaned. "I know. Really sorry, everyone." Then he whispered to someone off camera, though the mic was still hot. "They don't know where she is at all?" He composed himself and faced forward. "I know everyone was looking forward to hearing from her-I certainly was-and I'm sure we'll see her soon. Echo, Happy New Year."

It was like an electric bolt jolted me back into my childhood, where I had locked up years of memories. Echo Blue hadn't shown up for her gig? What did this mean? I looked around for someone who was as alarmed as I was. There she was, her face plastered across the screen of at least one of the televisions. But these arrogant New York Times editors remained focused on their millennium cake and shrimp. These had been people I wanted to impress only minutes before, but now I judged them for their indifference toward what was potentially the biggest celebrity news story of the decade.

In June, Echo Blue had finished a stint in rehab for "exhaustion." Up until that point, Echo's life was a movie unto itself. Her parents were Hollywood royalty. Her mother was Mathilde Portman, who starred in the classic television show Gold Rush, and her father, Jamie Blue, was once one of the industry's most handsome and charismatic stars. Plus, Echo starred in six films in six years, one of them winning her an Oscar for best supporting actress when she was only fourteen.

I hate sounding like a tabloid, but for the sake of brevity, Echo went from golden child to messy ingénue practically overnight. That's when the trouble started for her, the kind of real salacious gossip that turns actors into caricatures. There was the emancipation (though she insisted it was just to get around child labor laws), the romance and breakup with the much older boyfriend. There was the threat of stalkers, many of whom-all male-she reportedly took out restraining orders against. There was the rumored shoplifting incident at Bergdorf Goodman, though I never found a police report confirming it. And that messy interview with Vanity Fair where she openly drank a martini at a bar as a teenager. The New York Post headline screamed, "ECHO: HOW LOW WILL SHE GO?" I had followed it all.

But she was about to make a comeback-at least that's what the promotions for her New Year's appearance declared. She was embarking on an independent film, I Hate Camp. She was clean and had cut ties with the bad-boy boyfriend. Why would someone who just got her life together not show up to one of the biggest promotional events of the century? Something didn't fit.

I felt numb and shaky, so I attempted to slow my breathing like my therapist had taught me years ago. It was time for me to get out of this boring party. For some reason-I blame my nerves-I did a contrived princess wave to one of my contacts and slipped out of the newsroom. I panted underneath the fluorescent lights in the elevator, trying to calm myself down, knowing answers would only come in the sour scent of the morning paper.

2.

My obsession with Echo Blue started in the summer of 1992, right before my sophomore year of high school, when she starred in her first movie, Slugger Eight. She played a twelve-year-old girl who joins a softball team coached by a cranky divorcé. It was supposed to be a girls version of The Bad News Bears.

My father, a Shakespeare professor at NYU who was always convinced everyone was screwing him over, spent the second half of the summer preparing his lectures, while my mom worked at the makeup counter at Day's Emporium, a small department store in North Jersey. My parents would drop my brother Sam and I off at an eleven o'clock matinee at the local cinema and wouldn't pick us up until five that evening. You could sit in a theater all day as a kid back then, as long as you bought popcorn and soda. We could've at least switched movies throughout the day, but I, and therefore Sam-as the younger sibling, he had no choice-opted to watch Slugger Eight on repeat.

This is the scene that hooked me: The practice had gone on forever, and the crotchety coach was showing no signs of letting up. Echo's character, Joey, crossed the field to the dugout with a swagger reminiscent of Matt Dillon in The Outsiders, demanding they at least get a break for some Frescas. Echo, with her wild mop of blonde wispy hair and her tanned skin, her angelic cheeks contrasted with a shrewd stare. She had this habit of taking off her cap and shaking her hair out, roughly scratching her scalp, then carefully placing the cap back on. It was a move I tried to copy, but any time I did it, my mom asked me if I had lice.

Echo tapped at the dugout fence and said, "I don't care who we're playing, if you don't give us an hour to recharge, I promise you half the team is walking off."

She had a hardness to her and barely fidgeted when she spoke.

She was beautiful.

One critic called her the Norma Rae of softball.

I had never seen a girl in a movie be that dangerous or that confrontational. They always backed down to the older male figure or didn't speak up to him at all.

"You'll get back on the field like I told you to and you'll finish out this practice," the coach commanded.

She stepped out of the dugout, then whistled to the girls with her index finger and thumb. I only knew one person who could whistle with their fingers like that, and it was my father. (So he had some good qualities.) The girls dropped their mitts all at once and walked off the field, running up behind her. I wanted to swallow her whole and become her. She gave teenage girls permission to disregard society's rules, to battle patriarchal leaders. To take up space. To be bad.

There was me in the theater, barely a teenager, shy and subservient, and there was Echo on the screen taking control. That one scene took me out of my life, the one where I was powerless. Me with my fluffy curls and my deep stare that I couldn't help ("You want people to think you're weird?" my father would say), my used Doc Martens because my parents wouldn't fork over the money for new ones. I could watch Echo for as long as I wanted in that dark theater without anyone's judgey glares. If I could study Echo, learn everything about her, maybe I could be like her.


My father, and his difficult past, shaped my childhood. His mother, my grandmother, whom I never met, was a superstitious Polish immigrant. In one of my father’s favorite abusive-parent stories, she tied his left hand behind his back for a week, trying to get him to use his right hand. She saw his left-handedness as a sign of weakness, he said, and never failed to remind him of this.

He tried to be different from his rigid mother, at least this is what he told us. But our presence irritated him. In the car, when we listened to old Beatles tapes, singing, humming, and snapping were forbidden. Sam and I would sit, hands folded, nodding our heads to the beat. He hated a "ruckus." He never failed to mention the way we walked up the stairs like "elephants." The way we left toothpaste in the sink like "pigs." How we folded our clothes like "slobs." At dinner, he was irritated if we were too chatty or jumped around in our seats or that we used too much ketchup or crunched on our pickles too loud.

He started marking up my papers when I was in the fifth grade, and I'd have anxiety attacks in my room waiting for him to return them. Structure lazy. Examples redundant. Rewrite from the top. My mother would tell me he was just trying to help, but writing was his love language and it felt like I was getting hate mail. "Do you want to be a good writer or a shitty writer?" my father would always say. "If I'm not honest with you, how else will you learn?"

There were no belts, no slaps. But no compassion either. I think I became a writer not because I enjoyed it, but out of spite.

My mother was a strong woman with her own opinions. But she didn't like to go against my father. "It's important to pick your battles with men," she'd tell me. Or, "Your father always comes down hard first, and then he softens." She had a lot of sayings about appeasing him, which I cringed at. "Why are you always defending him?" I'd ask. But she saw his softer side, and she wanted me to see that side too. Her father was a an alcoholic who didn't say much. She never failed to remind me of how lucky we were.

And she was right. My father wasn't all bad. I don't like to admit this, because it takes away from the hard-as-nails narrative I created, but I knew he loved me. Every night, he'd stop by my room to say good night, often dropping off a book he'd brought me from his university's library. But that didn't change the pressure I felt under his gaze, the feeling that who I was wasn't enough.


In those years, the hardest of my childhood, Echo felt like a kindred spirit. I memorized her lines in Slugger Eight. I practiced her stance on the field in the mirror. I cut out snapshots from Teen Beat magazine. I bought four copies of her cover issue of Sassy, the one where she wore a red cropped T-shirt with big lips smacked across her flat chest. I made a collage, carefully gluing images of her together, draped it with a heart garland, and hung it up over my bed. My favorite was the photo of Echo and her also-actor dad, Jamie Blue, leaving a restaurant, his arm slung over her shoulders, protecting her, the way I wished my father did.

In the shower, alone by myself, the heat stinging me, I thought of Echo washing off after a day on the set. What shampoo did she use? Did she have those flakes in her scalp like I did? Did she have rashy skin and red bumps on her inner thighs? "Goldie! What are you doing in there so long? I have to take a shower too!" Sam would yell and pound on the door, startling me so I cut myself shaving. Echo didn't have a brother like I did; she was an only child. She probably had her own shower. A huge shower with fresh towels and bath soaps that smelled like lavender.

Echo Blue was my only friend during my early teens because the boy-crazy girls in my grade intimidated me. They talked about sex and wanting to be fingered. Meanwhile, I still played with dolls. I was an October baby, and some of the girls in my grade were almost a year older than me. They had breasts and pimples and smelled like body odor. I only had sprouts of hair under my armpits. I had fuzz for pubic hair, not a thatch like I imagined they did. I wanted to make friends and I tried to, but I just couldn't connect.

That didn't stop my mother from making me invite the girls from school for a sleepover when I turned fifteen that October, after my summer of Slugger Eight.
Praise for Where Are You, Echo Blue?
Where Are You, Echo Blue is exhilarating, sharp, and often very funny. Following journalist Goldie’s investigation into a missing former child star will bring you right back to the thrill of having a pre-teen celebrity infatuation. Krischer’s exploration of celebrity, child actors, and the dark secrets of Hollywood is not to be missed.”—Julia Bartz New York Times bestselling author of The Writing Retreat
 
Where Are You, Echo Blue glitters with crisp prose, a juicy plot, and razor-sharp observations about celebrity worship, the cost of living a creative life, and the roles we allow women to play.”—Andrea Bartz, New York Times bestselling author of The Spare Room and We Were Never Here

"Timely, sharp, and unputdownable, Where Are You, Echo Blue is a stunning exploration of 00s-era child stardom, told through the eyes of both a hungry journalist and the woman who defined that journalist’s childhood. Both a walk down pop culture memory lane and an inside look at its sinister mechanisms, this is my favorite read in ages. Obsessed.”—Jenny Hollander, USA Today bestselling author of Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead

"Where Are You, Echo Blue? is a potent and propulsive Hollywood noir. Goldie Klein is my new favorite gumshoe reporter and Echo Blue's story is far more compelling than any celebrity clickbait. This is a beautiful and deftly wrought book, and I flew right through it."—Lauren Mechling, author of How Could She and co-author of The Memo

"Reading about the lives of Goldie Klein, celebrity journalist, and Echo Blue, her missing-in-action celebrity obsession, is dangerously addictive. Hayley Krischer has written the ultimate Hollywood novel, one that revels mostly in grit, not glamour, and explores the ugly underbelly of life in the spotlight—as well as what it might take to leave it all behind. A gripping, nuanced read about two complex women struggling to become exactly who they want to be."Laura Sims, author of How Can I Help You and Looker

“Equal parts intelligent and thrilling, this will have readers glued to their seats.”—Publishers Weekly

"Set at the end of the twentieth-century, Krischer's adult debut explores the perils of celebrity culture on both stars and fans...Krischer's look at fame and the toll it takes is piercing, timely, and astute.”—Booklist
© Lisa Kollberg
​​Hayley Krischer is the author of two young adult novels, Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf and The Falling Girls. She is also an award-winning journalist who has written for the The New York TimesThe New York Times MagazineThe AtlanticMarie ClaireElle, and more. Where Are You, Echo Blue? is her first novel for adults. View titles by Hayley Krischer

About

A smart, juicy, and page-turning novel about celebrity, fandom, and the price of ambition following a journalist's obsessive search for a missing Hollywood starlet

When Echo Blue, the most famous child star of the nineties, disappears ahead of a highly publicized television appearance on the eve of the millennium, the salacious theories instantly start swirling. Mostly, people assume Echo has gotten herself in trouble after a reckless New Year’s Eve. But Goldie Klein, an ambitious young journalist who also happens to be Echo's biggest fan, knows there must be more to the story. Why, on the eve of her big comeback, would Echo just go missing without a trace?

After a year of covering dreary local stories for Manhattan Eye, Goldie is sure this will be her big break. Who better to find Echo Blue, and tell her story the right way, than her? And so, Goldie heads to L.A. to begin a wild search that takes her deep into Echo’s complicated life in which parental strife, friend break ups, rehab stints, and bad romances abound. But the further into Echo’s world Goldie gets, the more she questions her own complicity in the young star’s demise . . . yet she cannot tear herself away from this story, which has now consumed her entirely. Meanwhile, we also hear Echo's side of things from the beginning, showing a young woman who was chewed up and spit out by Hollywood as so many are, and who may have had to pay the ultimate price. 

As these young women's poignant and unexpected journeys unfold, and eventually meet, Where Are You, Echo Blue? interrogates celebrity culture, the thin line between admiration and obsession, and what it means to tell other peoples’ stories, all while ushering us on an unruly ride to find out what did become of Echo Blue.

Excerpt

1.

In 2000, right after the turn of the millennium, I began my search for Echo Blue, who was the most famous child star of the late twentieth century.

I was obsessed. But you already know this.

I was covering the New Year's celebration at the New York Times because I wasn't talented enough to get a job at the New York Times. Instead, I was an entry-level reporter at Manhattan Eye. I was at ME because they were the only ones to give me a call back. This wasn't something I would readily admit.

I was twenty-two, and I should have felt lucky to have the job. ME was an institution, a respected magazine, a stepping-stone for Times' journalists and editors, but it was also a dinosaur sans the Times' subscription numbers.

I had agreed to this assignment because I didn't have any plans for that night, and I thought I could at least introduce myself to a few people. Except all the editors were drunk. There was no networking to be done.

Among the desks and offices of the Times' eleventh floor, a fancy dinner of filet mignon and shrimp was served by waiters wearing white gloves, while jazz from a live band floated from the brightly lit balcony. Old white editors stood around their printers and desks in stuffy black-and-white tuxedos. It was like witnessing the sinking of the Titanic.

The staff writers huddled alone at their desks behind big-windowed offices, clearly too busy to participate-or at least hoping to seem like they were. I passed the office of Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Siobhan O'Donnell three times, staring as she clacked away at her keyboard, until she threw a book at me and screamed to stop skulking around her door. I nibbled on a few shrimp, took a sip out of the engraved champagne flutes that read 01-00-00. I snapped a photo of the incorrect date. Then a reporter who I think was on acid shouted, "Don't you dare take a picture of me," and hid behind a cubicle.

In the corner of the room there were three large televisions on a table turned to local news stations. No one seemed to be paying attention, so I inched my way over to one of the televisions and casually flipped the channel to MTV, where I expected to see Echo Blue cozily chatting with MTV host Carson Daly. They had promoted her appearance for weeks. Instead, a commotion had erupted, with producers on their mics, scrambling in the background.

Then Carson Daly spoke directly into the camera. "Okay, guys, it looks like Echo Blue can't make it." The studio audience groaned. "I know. Really sorry, everyone." Then he whispered to someone off camera, though the mic was still hot. "They don't know where she is at all?" He composed himself and faced forward. "I know everyone was looking forward to hearing from her-I certainly was-and I'm sure we'll see her soon. Echo, Happy New Year."

It was like an electric bolt jolted me back into my childhood, where I had locked up years of memories. Echo Blue hadn't shown up for her gig? What did this mean? I looked around for someone who was as alarmed as I was. There she was, her face plastered across the screen of at least one of the televisions. But these arrogant New York Times editors remained focused on their millennium cake and shrimp. These had been people I wanted to impress only minutes before, but now I judged them for their indifference toward what was potentially the biggest celebrity news story of the decade.

In June, Echo Blue had finished a stint in rehab for "exhaustion." Up until that point, Echo's life was a movie unto itself. Her parents were Hollywood royalty. Her mother was Mathilde Portman, who starred in the classic television show Gold Rush, and her father, Jamie Blue, was once one of the industry's most handsome and charismatic stars. Plus, Echo starred in six films in six years, one of them winning her an Oscar for best supporting actress when she was only fourteen.

I hate sounding like a tabloid, but for the sake of brevity, Echo went from golden child to messy ingénue practically overnight. That's when the trouble started for her, the kind of real salacious gossip that turns actors into caricatures. There was the emancipation (though she insisted it was just to get around child labor laws), the romance and breakup with the much older boyfriend. There was the threat of stalkers, many of whom-all male-she reportedly took out restraining orders against. There was the rumored shoplifting incident at Bergdorf Goodman, though I never found a police report confirming it. And that messy interview with Vanity Fair where she openly drank a martini at a bar as a teenager. The New York Post headline screamed, "ECHO: HOW LOW WILL SHE GO?" I had followed it all.

But she was about to make a comeback-at least that's what the promotions for her New Year's appearance declared. She was embarking on an independent film, I Hate Camp. She was clean and had cut ties with the bad-boy boyfriend. Why would someone who just got her life together not show up to one of the biggest promotional events of the century? Something didn't fit.

I felt numb and shaky, so I attempted to slow my breathing like my therapist had taught me years ago. It was time for me to get out of this boring party. For some reason-I blame my nerves-I did a contrived princess wave to one of my contacts and slipped out of the newsroom. I panted underneath the fluorescent lights in the elevator, trying to calm myself down, knowing answers would only come in the sour scent of the morning paper.

2.

My obsession with Echo Blue started in the summer of 1992, right before my sophomore year of high school, when she starred in her first movie, Slugger Eight. She played a twelve-year-old girl who joins a softball team coached by a cranky divorcé. It was supposed to be a girls version of The Bad News Bears.

My father, a Shakespeare professor at NYU who was always convinced everyone was screwing him over, spent the second half of the summer preparing his lectures, while my mom worked at the makeup counter at Day's Emporium, a small department store in North Jersey. My parents would drop my brother Sam and I off at an eleven o'clock matinee at the local cinema and wouldn't pick us up until five that evening. You could sit in a theater all day as a kid back then, as long as you bought popcorn and soda. We could've at least switched movies throughout the day, but I, and therefore Sam-as the younger sibling, he had no choice-opted to watch Slugger Eight on repeat.

This is the scene that hooked me: The practice had gone on forever, and the crotchety coach was showing no signs of letting up. Echo's character, Joey, crossed the field to the dugout with a swagger reminiscent of Matt Dillon in The Outsiders, demanding they at least get a break for some Frescas. Echo, with her wild mop of blonde wispy hair and her tanned skin, her angelic cheeks contrasted with a shrewd stare. She had this habit of taking off her cap and shaking her hair out, roughly scratching her scalp, then carefully placing the cap back on. It was a move I tried to copy, but any time I did it, my mom asked me if I had lice.

Echo tapped at the dugout fence and said, "I don't care who we're playing, if you don't give us an hour to recharge, I promise you half the team is walking off."

She had a hardness to her and barely fidgeted when she spoke.

She was beautiful.

One critic called her the Norma Rae of softball.

I had never seen a girl in a movie be that dangerous or that confrontational. They always backed down to the older male figure or didn't speak up to him at all.

"You'll get back on the field like I told you to and you'll finish out this practice," the coach commanded.

She stepped out of the dugout, then whistled to the girls with her index finger and thumb. I only knew one person who could whistle with their fingers like that, and it was my father. (So he had some good qualities.) The girls dropped their mitts all at once and walked off the field, running up behind her. I wanted to swallow her whole and become her. She gave teenage girls permission to disregard society's rules, to battle patriarchal leaders. To take up space. To be bad.

There was me in the theater, barely a teenager, shy and subservient, and there was Echo on the screen taking control. That one scene took me out of my life, the one where I was powerless. Me with my fluffy curls and my deep stare that I couldn't help ("You want people to think you're weird?" my father would say), my used Doc Martens because my parents wouldn't fork over the money for new ones. I could watch Echo for as long as I wanted in that dark theater without anyone's judgey glares. If I could study Echo, learn everything about her, maybe I could be like her.


My father, and his difficult past, shaped my childhood. His mother, my grandmother, whom I never met, was a superstitious Polish immigrant. In one of my father’s favorite abusive-parent stories, she tied his left hand behind his back for a week, trying to get him to use his right hand. She saw his left-handedness as a sign of weakness, he said, and never failed to remind him of this.

He tried to be different from his rigid mother, at least this is what he told us. But our presence irritated him. In the car, when we listened to old Beatles tapes, singing, humming, and snapping were forbidden. Sam and I would sit, hands folded, nodding our heads to the beat. He hated a "ruckus." He never failed to mention the way we walked up the stairs like "elephants." The way we left toothpaste in the sink like "pigs." How we folded our clothes like "slobs." At dinner, he was irritated if we were too chatty or jumped around in our seats or that we used too much ketchup or crunched on our pickles too loud.

He started marking up my papers when I was in the fifth grade, and I'd have anxiety attacks in my room waiting for him to return them. Structure lazy. Examples redundant. Rewrite from the top. My mother would tell me he was just trying to help, but writing was his love language and it felt like I was getting hate mail. "Do you want to be a good writer or a shitty writer?" my father would always say. "If I'm not honest with you, how else will you learn?"

There were no belts, no slaps. But no compassion either. I think I became a writer not because I enjoyed it, but out of spite.

My mother was a strong woman with her own opinions. But she didn't like to go against my father. "It's important to pick your battles with men," she'd tell me. Or, "Your father always comes down hard first, and then he softens." She had a lot of sayings about appeasing him, which I cringed at. "Why are you always defending him?" I'd ask. But she saw his softer side, and she wanted me to see that side too. Her father was a an alcoholic who didn't say much. She never failed to remind me of how lucky we were.

And she was right. My father wasn't all bad. I don't like to admit this, because it takes away from the hard-as-nails narrative I created, but I knew he loved me. Every night, he'd stop by my room to say good night, often dropping off a book he'd brought me from his university's library. But that didn't change the pressure I felt under his gaze, the feeling that who I was wasn't enough.


In those years, the hardest of my childhood, Echo felt like a kindred spirit. I memorized her lines in Slugger Eight. I practiced her stance on the field in the mirror. I cut out snapshots from Teen Beat magazine. I bought four copies of her cover issue of Sassy, the one where she wore a red cropped T-shirt with big lips smacked across her flat chest. I made a collage, carefully gluing images of her together, draped it with a heart garland, and hung it up over my bed. My favorite was the photo of Echo and her also-actor dad, Jamie Blue, leaving a restaurant, his arm slung over her shoulders, protecting her, the way I wished my father did.

In the shower, alone by myself, the heat stinging me, I thought of Echo washing off after a day on the set. What shampoo did she use? Did she have those flakes in her scalp like I did? Did she have rashy skin and red bumps on her inner thighs? "Goldie! What are you doing in there so long? I have to take a shower too!" Sam would yell and pound on the door, startling me so I cut myself shaving. Echo didn't have a brother like I did; she was an only child. She probably had her own shower. A huge shower with fresh towels and bath soaps that smelled like lavender.

Echo Blue was my only friend during my early teens because the boy-crazy girls in my grade intimidated me. They talked about sex and wanting to be fingered. Meanwhile, I still played with dolls. I was an October baby, and some of the girls in my grade were almost a year older than me. They had breasts and pimples and smelled like body odor. I only had sprouts of hair under my armpits. I had fuzz for pubic hair, not a thatch like I imagined they did. I wanted to make friends and I tried to, but I just couldn't connect.

That didn't stop my mother from making me invite the girls from school for a sleepover when I turned fifteen that October, after my summer of Slugger Eight.

Reviews

Praise for Where Are You, Echo Blue?
Where Are You, Echo Blue is exhilarating, sharp, and often very funny. Following journalist Goldie’s investigation into a missing former child star will bring you right back to the thrill of having a pre-teen celebrity infatuation. Krischer’s exploration of celebrity, child actors, and the dark secrets of Hollywood is not to be missed.”—Julia Bartz New York Times bestselling author of The Writing Retreat
 
Where Are You, Echo Blue glitters with crisp prose, a juicy plot, and razor-sharp observations about celebrity worship, the cost of living a creative life, and the roles we allow women to play.”—Andrea Bartz, New York Times bestselling author of The Spare Room and We Were Never Here

"Timely, sharp, and unputdownable, Where Are You, Echo Blue is a stunning exploration of 00s-era child stardom, told through the eyes of both a hungry journalist and the woman who defined that journalist’s childhood. Both a walk down pop culture memory lane and an inside look at its sinister mechanisms, this is my favorite read in ages. Obsessed.”—Jenny Hollander, USA Today bestselling author of Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead

"Where Are You, Echo Blue? is a potent and propulsive Hollywood noir. Goldie Klein is my new favorite gumshoe reporter and Echo Blue's story is far more compelling than any celebrity clickbait. This is a beautiful and deftly wrought book, and I flew right through it."—Lauren Mechling, author of How Could She and co-author of The Memo

"Reading about the lives of Goldie Klein, celebrity journalist, and Echo Blue, her missing-in-action celebrity obsession, is dangerously addictive. Hayley Krischer has written the ultimate Hollywood novel, one that revels mostly in grit, not glamour, and explores the ugly underbelly of life in the spotlight—as well as what it might take to leave it all behind. A gripping, nuanced read about two complex women struggling to become exactly who they want to be."Laura Sims, author of How Can I Help You and Looker

“Equal parts intelligent and thrilling, this will have readers glued to their seats.”—Publishers Weekly

"Set at the end of the twentieth-century, Krischer's adult debut explores the perils of celebrity culture on both stars and fans...Krischer's look at fame and the toll it takes is piercing, timely, and astute.”—Booklist

Author

© Lisa Kollberg
​​Hayley Krischer is the author of two young adult novels, Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf and The Falling Girls. She is also an award-winning journalist who has written for the The New York TimesThe New York Times MagazineThe AtlanticMarie ClaireElle, and more. Where Are You, Echo Blue? is her first novel for adults. View titles by Hayley Krischer