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In Zanesville [sound recording] : a novel
Beard, Jo Ann.
Adult Fiction BEARD

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Thirteen years after Beard's acclaimed essay collection, Boys of My Youth, she brings readers this smashing coming-of-age story. It's the 1970s and the novel's unnamed 14-year-old narrator is beginning high school after a summer spent in close company with her best friend, Felicia, as the two babysit an unruly set of six kids-the novel opens with one of the kids setting their house on fire. With freshman year comes realizations that many adolescent girls have faced, some overwhelming, some slight, but all spot-on: marching band is for dorks, boys are confusing, and even the tightest of friendships can fracture when popularity is at stake. Underlying this teenager's turmoil are problems in the grown-up world, such as her father's alcoholism, her mother's abiding unhappiness, and the death of a friend's mother-all things she tries to ignore, but which occasionally boil to the surface. Beard is a faultless chronicler of the young and hopeful; readers couldn't ask for a better guide for a trip through the wilds of adolescence. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

The Zanesville of the title is a small factory town in Illinois. While the cover graphics play with the overlap of "in zane" and "insane," this is not a story about mental illness. Instead, it's a fresh take on coming into one's own. At 14, Jo has always been a sidekick, moving happily in the orbit of her friend Felicia. Being a sidekick has its advantages-you get adventures without having to be the instigator. But their partnership is destined to be disrupted by cheerleaders and boys, and Jo, who always preferred Amy to Jo in Little Women, will be pushed from passivity to self-reliance. While the 1970s provides the backdrop, Beard (The Boys of My Youth) in her fiction debut makes the story both authentic and timeless. With clear prose she stacks individual events into a vivid narrative. From the opening scenes of a babysitting disaster through kitten-saving adventures and first passes at being noticed by boys, she captures the self-awareness and confusion of young women. VERDICT An engaging read for those who recall the 1970s and for anyone who remembers the borderlands between childhood and young adulthood.-Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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