In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Jo Ann Beard

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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.
 
Published April 25, 2011 by Little, Brown and Company. 307 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for In Zanesville

Kirkus Reviews

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But it is Felicia, "eyes gone flat" when she walks off with a boy during a party, who provokes the narrator's revelation that even the sweetest childhood bonds can become flawed and fragile mature friendships.

Apr 25 2011 | Read Full Review of In Zanesville

The New York Times

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This month turns out to be a cruel one for women, with new releases — from Jo Ann Beard, Siri Hustvedt, Mary Gordon, Linda Grant, David Hewson and Michael Wallner — exploring themes of adolescence, adultery, aging and murder.

Apr 20 2011 | Read Full Review of In Zanesville

Publishers Weekly

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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.

Mar 07 2011 | Read Full Review of In Zanesville

The Wall Street Journal

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An early scene from Donald Ray Pollock's "The Devil All the Time" (Doubleday, 261 pages, $26.95) establishes the novel's macabre and outlandish atmosphere.

Aug 13 2011 | Read Full Review of In Zanesville

Star Tribune

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Beard excels at chronicling the insecurities of adolescence in this debut novel that straddles YA and adult fiction.

May 06 2011 | Read Full Review of In Zanesville

Entertainment Weekly

These thoughtful, funny, awestruck, slightly peculiar girls are so endearing, so painfully true, that they almost make a reader wish she were back in high school so she could be friends with them.

Apr 27 2011 | Read Full Review of In Zanesville

The New Yorker

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May 09 2011 | Read Full Review of In Zanesville

Story Circle Book Reviews

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Aug 15 2011 | Read Full Review of In Zanesville

Fiction Writers Review

The opening and closing sentences of this novel struck me as the best opening and closing lines I’ve read in recent memory (the first and last scenes both take place around fire, a lovely symmetry).

Oct 21 2011 | Read Full Review of In Zanesville

AARP

Enjoy three fun-filled days of activities — and don't-miss concerts by The Temptations, The Four Tops and Shania Twain.

May 19 2011 | Read Full Review of In Zanesville

Punchnels

It’s like when you come home and your mother has changed the furniture around, and for one instant it’s like you’ve entered the next dimension over: it’s your living room but it’s not your living room.

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Reader Rating for In Zanesville
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