Sunday, April 10, 2011


In ZanesvilleBy Jo Ann Beard

The beguiling fourteen-year-old narrator of IN ZANESVILLE is a late bloomer. She is used to flying under the radar-a sidekick, a third wheel, a marching band dropout, a disastrous babysitter, the kind of girl whose Eureka moment is the discovery that "fudge" can't be said with an English accent

Luckily, she has a best friend, a similarly undiscovered girl with whom she shares the everyday adventures of a 1970s American girlhood, incidents through which a world is revealed, and character is forged. In time, their friendship is tested-- by their families' claims on them, by a clique of popular girls who stumble upon them as if they were found objects, and by the first, startling, subversive intimations of womanhood. With dry wit and piercing observation, Jo Ann Beard shows us that in the seemingly quiet streets of America's innumerable Zanesvilles is a world of wonders, and that within the souls of the awkward and the overlooked often burns something radiant and unforgettable.

What I Can Tell You:
What a great read. I was transported back to my childhood. Of sleep overs at my friends in the camper on her families property. Of Dusty Springfield and American Bandstand! Of first crushes and fears. Of dysfunctional families and too much time to think.  Of babysitting and snow cones. Ahhh...I miss those day.

Jo Ann is a wonderful storyteller creating interesting characters out of the most basic personalities. The kids who are invisible to most because they tend to fly under the radar.  The girls are 14 and full of life and thoughts way beyond what the rest of the world give them credit for. Jo Ann writing seems almost autobiographical, with quiet realism.

Disclosure: I received an advance reader copy for my honest opinion.

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