By Jo Ann Beard
(Back Bay Books, Paperback, 9780316125277, 320pp.)
Publication Date: April 2012
The fourteen-year-old narrator of IN ZANESVILLE is a late bloomer. She flies under the radar-a sidekick, 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 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, 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 overlooked often burns something radiant.
Jo Ann Beard is the author of a collection of autobiographical essays, The Boys of My Youth. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Essays, and other magazines and anthologies. She received a Whiting Foundation Award and nonfiction fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
In her new novel, In Zanesville, writer Jo Anne Beard tells the story of two 9th grade girls, struggling to deal with life in a small town and pressure from the 'popular kids.' More at NPR.org
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"Masterfully wrought...downright hilarious and often hold-your-breath-and-hope-for-the-best suspenseful. The restraint with which Beard deploys moments of tension and humor make each page glimmer."
"A fierce, funny, brave, and bracingly honest new novel....Every bit as poignant and powerful as The Catcher in the Rye."
"An exuberant first novel....Beard has a knack for melding the funny and the sad, amplifying small moments into something big."
-New York Times
"Epic and profound. These thoughtful, funny, awestruck, slightly peculiar girls are so endearing, so painfully true."
"A sure-handed first novel ....It's impossible not to be charmed."
"A fresh comic voice and a talent for sharp familiarizing place-details."
-Wall Street Journal