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In Zanesville

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  3,748 Ratings  ·  664 Reviews
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 sha
ebook, 0 pages
Published April 25th 2011 by Little, Brown and Company
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Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my Facebook pals is a school librarian, so her postings are pithier than some I could mention, that is, she doesn't share glorified chain letters, urban legends masquerading as real events, nor quotes attributed to the wrong people. A couple of months ago, she posted a link to a Publishers' Weekly item entitled "The Top 10 Essays Since 1950".

I had a look and the one that really got under my skin was by Jo Ann Beard, a description of a day no one should have involving a dying pet, a dead r
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite the age of the narrator, this book seems less a book for teenagers and more of a novel for the 14 year old in all of us. Set in the 1970s, In Zanesville perfectly captures (in hilarious detail) that awkward push-and-pull time between being a kid and becoming a full blown teenager. From the first paragraph about an ill-fated turn at babysitting a local family of hoodlums, the writing is smart and funny, and makes you wish you were friends with the narrator and her best friend Felicia (aka ...more
My friend Sam has been telling me to read this for two years or so, and felt so strongly about it that she went out and bought me a copy of it. I finally read it.

And she was right.

This is the story of two girls on the cusp of adolescence, and about what it means to grow up in a small town as well as how friendships grow and change. The writing in this is so real that many of the situations feel raw and uncomfortable, yet so familiar that I was glued to the page. Reading this book low-key stresse
This book starts out like a house on fire---really. The first chapter begins with the 14 yr old narrator (who is never named by the author) and her best friend babysitting an unruly group of siblings when one of the children sets the bathroom trash can on fire. Felicia ("Flea") and her friend panic and respond to the smoke by herding all the kids outside, and then by removing all the animals (snakes, Tarantulas, mice)to the front lawn. Then they decide whose mother to call because mothers are th ...more
Amy Armstrong
Jul 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jo Ann Beard writes beautifuly and her observations about family dynamics and being a teenager are impeccable. In Zanesville: A Novel is a must read for a few of the lines alone. She describes the oldest son (and terror) of her last babysitting job as follows: "We've always thought of Derek as a large, overbearing kid who shouts out words we've only seen in spray paint." That just rocks.

I would have loved to give this book five stars, but I couldn't bring myself to do it because, and I hate bein
Emma Bolden
Oct 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing

Though I have to admit I wonder a lot about why Beard called this a novel: the characters are clearly the people from The Boys of My Youth. I've read a lot on-line about her "unnamed" narrator, but, at one point, she pretty clearly states that her name is Jo (when she's talking about Little Women, she says one of the characters has her name and she's the one who shows up for another book -- wh
Kate Woods Walker
May 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pitch-perfect evocation of adolescence, with language that is both stark and dreamy, In Zanesville paints a hurts-so-good landscape of lower middle class life and family relationships. Jo Ann Beard's young heroine displays both casual corruption and embarrassed nobility in her journey toward maturity and an uncertain future.

From the startling, smoky beginning scene to the introduction of a bowl of malted milk balls, the plot and setting zig just when you expect them to zag, and delightfully so.
May 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Started out very strong, but petered out early. It's a very quick read, so I stuck with it to see how it would play out. Generally disappointing after such a big build-up -- great review by the usually reliable Chicago Tribune critic and something via Facebook (NPR or Huffington Post), plus jacket blurbs by authors I respect. I couldn't connect strongly enough with the narrator of this book and the lingering threat of animal violence/grave misfortune (sick, stray cats, myriad dogs tied outside a ...more
Jo Ann Beard's debut novel In Zanesville landed in my lap during just the right fit of nostalgia.

The previous night I'd watched the teen-aged girl next door waiting to get picked up by a carload of friends. She and her mom and her mom's boyfriend had all busted out of the house with this contagious giddy Friday fever. The girl needed a couple flashlights. Her mom gave her one, she clicked it on and off, made swirls of light. Her mom's boyfriend went to his truck to get another.

"Don't lose it," h
This was my 23rd book for the YALSA's Best Books Reading Challenge. This was one of the Alex Awards...which is a book published for adults that young adults would enjoy reading.

This was a tough one for me to get through. And I fell asleep reading it multiple times. This could in part be due to the fact that I had just gotten home from vacation. But also because I just couldn't get into this book.

It starts off when the 14-year-old narrator and her friend are babysitting some kids who set the hous
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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.
More about Jo Ann Beard...
“...within the souls of the awkward and the overlooked often burns something radiant.” 17 likes
“In the dresser mirror, my face looks the same, but I feel something happening around me, some change as palpable as weather. Stuck in the mirror are mementos from my childhood—red and yellow ribbons for various underachievements, a brown corsage from grad school graduation, a curling and faded picture of me petting a deer in Wisconsin—which is now over. I wandered through it and came out the other side.

It’s a stark feeling. Like getting to the last page of a book and seeing ‘The End.’ Even if you didn’t like the story that much, or your childhood, you read it, you lived it. And now it’s over, book closed, that long-ago deer you petted in the Dells as dead as the one in The Yearling.”
More quotes…