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Young Jane Young

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fiction (2017)
This is the story of five women . . .

Meet Rachel Grossman.
She’ll stop at nothing to protect her daughter, Aviva, even if it ends up costing her everything.

Meet Jane Young.
She’s disrupting a quiet life with her daughter, Ruby, to seek political office for the first time.

Meet Ruby Young.
She thinks her mom has a secret. She’s right.

Meet Embeth Levin.
She’s made a career of cleaning up her congressman husband’s messes.

Meet Aviva Grossman.
The Internet won’t let her or anyone else forget her past transgressions.

This is the story of five women . . .
. . . and the sex sexist scandal that binds them together.

From Gabrielle Zevin, the bestselling author of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, comes another story with unforgettable characters that is particularly suited to the times we live in now . . .

294 pages, Hardcover

First published August 22, 2017

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About the author

Gabrielle Zevin

15 books10.2k followers
GABRIELLE ZEVIN is a New York Times best-selling novelist whose books have been translated into forty languages.

Her tenth novel, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow was published by Knopf in July of 2022 and was an instant New York Times Best Seller, a Sunday Times Best Seller, a USA Today Best Seller, a #1 National Indie Best Seller, and a selection of the Tonight Show’s Fallon Book Club. Maureen Corrigan of NPR’s Fresh Air called it, “a big beautifully written novel…that succeeds in being both serious art and immersive entertainment.” Following a twenty-five-bidder auction, the feature film rights to Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow were acquired by Temple Hill and Paramount Studios. She is currently writing the screenplay.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry spent many months on the New York Times Best Seller List, reached #1 on the National Indie Best Seller List, was a USA Today Best Seller, and has been a best seller all around the world. A.J. Fikry was honored with the Southern California Independent Booksellers Award for Fiction, the Japan Booksellers’ Prize, and was long listed for the International Dublin Literary Award, among other honors. To date, the book has sold over five-million copies worldwide. It is now a feature film with a screenplay by Zevin. Young Jane Young won the Southern Book Prize and was one of the Washington Post’s Fifty Notable Works of Fiction.

She is the screenwriter of Conversations with Other Women (Helena Bonham Carter) for which she received an Independent Spirit Award Nomination for Best First Screenplay. She has occasionally written criticism for the New York Times Book Review and NPR’s All Things Considered, and she began her writing career, at age fourteen, as a music critic for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Zevin is a graduate of Harvard University. She lives in Los Angeles.

NOTE: Apologies, but Gabrielle doesn't reply to messages on Goodreads.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,789 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews294k followers
July 28, 2017
“I’m not a murderer,” she says. “I’m a slut, and you can’t be acquitted of that.”

4 1/2 stars. Aviva Grossman is “Florida’s answer to Monica Lewinsky”. A young Jewish intern in a congressman's office, she soon finds herself caught up in an affair with the older and married man. When the affair makes it into the regional media, Congressman Levin experiences some negative press, a few tut tuts, and then goes on to enjoy a lifetime in office. His marriage survives the scandal.

Aviva, on the other hand, has her life completely ruined. Though a skilled and qualified poli-sci graduate, no one will hire her. No one wants to date her. How dare she go after a married man, they say. Who wants to hire someone so morally challenged? Her only option is to start over somewhere completely new.

The story is obviously heavily-inspired by the famous Lewinsky scandal. Zevin exposes the misogyny and double standards that exist in politics, sex scandals, and in many areas of life. It's a fictional story, but it is hard not to notice the very real parallels - how Bill Clinton's marriage and career survived, how Lewinsky was torn apart by the media, and how even in the last election, almost twenty years after the scandal, jokes about Hillary not "blowing it" and how the last Clinton presidency "left a bad taste in [Lewinsky's] mouth" were extremely popular.

Aviva is, in many ways, Monica Lewinsky reimagined, not as a sexy seductress, but as a foolish young woman dazzled by a powerful older man. She is reimagined as someone's daughter, an ambitious student with a love of politics and, later, as a mother of a young girl herself.

It's a powerful feminist story. What I liked perhaps most of all was that all the women in this story are deeply flawed and make mistakes. The book is split between the perspectives of Aviva, her mother - Rachel, her daughter - Ruby, and Embeth - the congressman's wife. I really loved that the author chose to do this. The true heart of feminism is acknowledging the different experiences of different women, and the book's message was so much stronger with the inclusion of all these different perspectives.

There are so many great girl power quotes too, but I think it's best for the reader to discover them while reading. In short, it's just such a smart, warm and wonderful read, and an absolutely fantastic takedown of slut-shaming. I would recommend this for women of all ages.

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Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
July 26, 2017
I'd rate this 3.5 stars.

Living in the Washington, DC area during the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal, you just couldn't escape it—everything from news to gossip to rumors to hatchet pieces about Lewinsky, even spoofs of her on Saturday Night Live and other television shows. And while President Clinton certainly was the subject of a great deal of criticism, in many people's eyes, it seemed like Lewinsky was the only one to blame, and yet for quite some time you never heard her side of the story, but certainly her life was adversely affected.

In Gabrielle Zevin's Young Jane Young , Aviva Grossman interns for an up-and-coming Florida congressman with whom her family was friends when she was younger. Immensely smart and driven, with possible ambitions of a political career of her own someday, at first Aviva does the "typical" intern stuff—answer phones, send out mailings, make phone calls—but as she demonstrates her intelligence, the congressman and his staff begin relying on her for more serious tasks.

It's a few years after the Lewinsky scandal, but clearly Aviva didn't learn from that, as she and the congressman begin an affair. She knows it's wrong, but she falls in love with him, and she really believes him when he tells her that his marriage hasn't been happy for some time. Since she can't tell anyone about this, she keeps an anonymous blog about their relationship, this in the early days of blogging when she has no way of knowing if anyone is even reading what she writes.

When news of the affair becomes public, Aviva becomes a laughingstock. She can't get a job because of her "fame," her family is disgraced, and even graduate school seems a remote possibility because anyone with an internet connection can find out what she has done. She finds that she has no choice but to leave Florida and head far away, to Maine, where she changes her name to Jane Young and begins her life anew.

Years later, Jane has a successful event planning business and is raising her headstrong daughter Ruby to make smarter choices than she did. When Jane is convinced to run for mayor of her small Maine town, it's not long before her past is exposed. And when Ruby finds out that her mother isn't quite the person she believed she was, Ruby sets off a chain of events which bring Jane and her family back into a time of her life that she had tried putting behind her.

Young Jane Young is told from a number of different perspectives—not only Jane and Ruby's, but also Jane's mother, whose life was also affected by her daughter's scandal, and Embeth Levin, the congressman's wife. The narrative shifts from the time of the scandal to the present, and even includes a pseudo "Choose Your Adventure" section in which Aviva gets the opportunity to tell her side of the story.

This is a fascinating book which shows how quick we are as a society to rush to judgment about someone, even if that someone is our own family member, and how we often don't realize how many ripples a scandal can cause in other people's lives. It's also a book about owning your mistakes and trying to move on, but how sometimes you just can't outrun your past. Of course, it's also an exploration of the double standards that still pervade our society, double standards we've seen play out recently in our political arena here in the U.S.

I've read a few of Zevin's books in the past, with my favorite being The Storied Life of AJ Fikry (see my original review), which made my list of the best books I read in 2014. I really like the way she writes, and I like the way she made her characters fascinating despite their flaws.

I was frustrated by Ruby's actions after she discovers her mother's past. No matter how intelligent and independent Ruby was supposed to be, I just found the way she reacted and what she did a little unbelievable and immensely unlikable, despite understanding why she felt the way she did. The whole thing just seemed more melodramatic than the rest of the book, and it irked me.

Despite my irritation with a portion of the book, this was a very fast and enjoyable read, and an interesting look at the lifecycle of a scandal and its victims. Zevin's talent as a storyteller takes a familiar tale and makes it funny, fascinating, and a little soapy.

NetGalley and Algonquin Books provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
793 reviews12.4k followers
October 27, 2017
Quick and enjoyable read, but I almost gave up on it in the beginning--so glad I stuck with it!

Young Jane Young is about Aviva Grossman, a young congressional intern who had a scandalous affair with a married congressman (think Monica Lewinsky). This one mistake defines Aviva’s life. The fallout from the affair results in her changing not only her name, but also the course of her life. Of course the congressman, who was 20+ plus years her senior, escapes blame and shame free.

The book is comprised of the POV’s of Rachel, Jane, Ruby (Jane’s daughter), Embeth (the congressman’s wife) and Aviva.

Young Jane Young begins with the POV of Aviva’s mother, Rachel Shapiro. Rachel is an overbearing Jewish mother living in Boca Raton. Her POV was a bit over the top for me, and was what almost made me stop reading. It was like reading every single stereotype about Jewish mothers crammed into one character, which just too much! However, I powered through to part two, and was happy to discover that the POV shifted into Jane’s story, which drew me in.

Sometimes I get frustrated with shifting POV's, but I really liked the unique role that each POV played in the telling of Aviva's story.

Young Jane Young explores themes of feminism, choice, mother-daughter relationships, and most importantly love. I am so glad I didn’t DNF. It’s a little gem of a book that made me smile.

“To take care of something is to love it”

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,009 reviews36k followers
December 20, 2017
Maui - wow-ie - beach- reading- funny! ...... sorta! .....with an undercurrent of a ‘little’ sadness. People are magnets to public scandals. It’s always a little sad to me.

Author Gabrielle Zevin had me gushy over her book “The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: “Young Jane Young”, lacked the magical- spectacular specialness: MY HEART DIDN’T SING......
but.....mostly, I thought this novel was funny! In fact, I liked this book best when it ‘was’ funny - rather than thought-provoking and clever. ( which it was all three: funny, thought-provoking- and clever).

The first part of the book ....THE PART WHERE THE READER CANNOT FIGURE OUT WHY THE HECK THE BOOK HAS THE TITLE, “Young Jane Young”....had me laughing with lots of Philip Roth references.....and Jewish- book humor which was as comforting as chicken mazol ball soup.
I thought ‘mom’ was hilarious!!!! .....The writing - comic/tragic - was easy flowing, engaging! The only puzzle, was “who is Jane?”....NO JANE in THIS STORY.....
Aw....but wait....part 2, explains things. We become very clear who YOUNG JANE is.
THINK NAME CHANGE....Rachel Grossman becomes Young Jane.

However....the book is a ‘little’ less funny once we move into part 2...
It’s still funny - but now I have to ‘think’ more. Young Jane is a single mother to a daughter name Ruby. Having learned a - ‘ha’ - few things in her own life.....Young Jane wants to make ‘sure’ that her daughter Ruby doesn’t make the same mistakes she did when she was young. Makes perfect sense, right? So... we get to see how this all works out through Jane’s daughter.
Rudy becomes a stand out character ....giving us her part of the story through emails with a pen pal. ( clever crafting).

The part of this story that’s maybe most interesting - thought-provoking AND clever...is part 3. Here we see what’s going on inside a congressman’s wife’s mind about her cheating husband: a political public scandal- one that the entire world witnessed. Didn’t you always want to know what Hilary Clinton was ‘really’ thinking?

Part 4 is clever.... ( and I can’t decide if I liked this style or not .....if the crafting of the writing worked well or not).....I’m a little split on this section. For our ‘ending’....we KNOW THE PATH OUR MAIN CHARACTER TAKES.....but...we get choices to change those endings: play with them anyway through “choose our own ending”....
AS HOW DO YOU THIINK *Monica Lewinsky*.......should have gotten on with her life after it was COMPLETELY DESTROYED ?.....

Gabrielle Zevin lays it all out on the line for us to examine...AND HAVE A LITTLE FUN....the double standards, misogyny, how a woman can be torn apart in the public eye...how a famous politician- married man moves on after his major ‘caught’ embarrassment beyond embarrassment scandal...etc.

The women in this novel have flaws....like them or not ( which I did), we at least understand them. We laugh too... this is suppose to be light fun...I hope for those people who have ‘really’ lived through these experiences... are laughing too. Forgive and move on for goodness sake. To be defined by one very PUBLIC BOO-BOO forever... is very sad. And cruel. Kindness and a little humor begins to look very loving.

So.....overall I enjoyed this funny- redemptive- feminist story. It works JUST FINE while being here in Maui.

Maui has been enjoyable too.... HAPPY HOLIDAYS you lovely people!

Profile Image for Liz.
2,023 reviews2,529 followers
February 16, 2018
I choose this because it was supposed to be a takeoff on Monica Lewinsky and I thought that could be interesting. Well, it is. And it’s so much more. It also makes you think. Why does the man always come out of something like this ok and the young woman “like a punchline”? Why is there still such a double standard, such a sexist, moralist attitude about women? This is like The Scarlet Letter for the Internet age.

I loved that it delved into getting beyond the stupid choices we make when we’re young. “The past is never past. Only idiots think so.” This is especially true in this day and age, when a google search can turn up anything and everything.

The book starts off from Aviva’s mother’s perspective and despite the consistent tone of Jewish humor, you see that Aviva’s affair is like the pebble in the pond. It affects a lot more folks than just her and the congressman.

The book is uneven. It does work to have the different points of view. The email pen pal device for Ruby’s part was especially well done. Flip side, I found the Choose Your Own Adventure section to be a little too campy and cute. And can someone explain the damn parrot in Embeth’s section? But the characters are well developed and not at all cliches (other than the congressman). But this is really a book about the women. The choices they make, the mother-daughter relationships and their strength.

This is my book club selection and I’m looking forward to our discussion.

Profile Image for Nat.
553 reviews3,177 followers
August 2, 2018
“The only past you have a right to know about is your own.”

I was positutely ecstatic when I found out that Gabrielle Zevin was releasing a brand new fiction novel after The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, which had quickly become a favorite of mine earlier this year. And similar to the aforementioned, Young Jane Young had me enamored from the first page, which I've come to realize is the author's specialty. Even though the setting is so different from her previous work, the characterizations feel so familiar. Zevin has a special knack for breathing life into her characters, making them flawed yet still likeable as hell.

“Once upon a time, I was easily touched and easily flapped.”
“What happened?” she said.
“I grew up,” I said.

Now I know that I can always count on the author for getting me swept up into her works from page one. It took absolutely zero effort for me to get familiarized within the pages of this book. It felt truly effortless, in particular, because of the combination of the many Jewish aspects and Yiddish phrases (farkakte, oy vey iz mir, alte cocker) that won over my heart in a beat.

Thanks to my incredible excitement for a new Zevin novel, I hadn't even read the blurb or synopsis before starting, so I was in for a treat because everything that came at me I got to experience through fresh eyes. I'm also thankful because I probably wouldn't have read this gem had I known that Young Jane Young's heroine is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss‑‑who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married‑‑and blogging about it.

“They didn’t put a scarlet letter on her chest, but they didn’t need to. That’s what the Internet is for.”

Separated into five different parts with a different female narrator for each one, the aforementioned plot point is honestly not even a third of what this novel is about. We're introduced to so many great, flawed, and achingly real female characters that support one another, in addition to many iconic feminist moments and sayings and t-shirts (“Women rights are human rights” and “Ask me about my feminist agenda”) in here. Speaking of which, the pure privilege of receiving the many sage feminist advice from Mrs. Morgan was worth it all. (Her side note to Ruby on the meaning behind 'douchebag' opened up my eyes.)

And further drove the point home by making this a female driven story. I love it more than I can put into words that the narrators were Jewish women, related to each other one way or another. Nothing is quite like what it seems, and I cherish the author for still managing to make each woman layered and just so damn real. That's all I could've asked for, really.

An added bonus: One of my favorites was Ruby Young, the most fully realized character, who's only thirteen at the end of the book but trustworthy, neurotic, and strong for her age, to borrow her mother’s phrasing. When asked how she came to be so wise, her answer gives it all away:  “Books,” I said. “And I spend a lot of time with my mom.” Showing healthy children/parent relationships is the key to my heart.

It seems a difficult feat but I ended up liking each narrator and each generation more and more, thanks to Gabrielle Zevin's effortless yet intricate writing style and characterization. The small details are what matter here. Like this next little moment that managed to capture such a specific feeling that it nearly made my head spin:

“I don't know why I didn't say no. In my defense, I was confused. I think it's like when you're on a cell phone call with someone and the reception goes bad and you continue to pretend as if you can hear for a bit, hoping that the cell phone reception will work itself out before the person catches on that you haven't been hearing her for five minutes. Why don't you immediately say, I can't hear you? Why does it feel shameful.

And of course there were the many laugh out loud moments that I've grown accustomed to as the author's signature style: “He was twenty-seven, and his handshake was too firm - what are you trying to prove, bro?” And using the most iconic of phrases: “You're worse than a bra strap.”

This refreshing, short, and concise read with plenty of heart and more than a little humor has made a definite new fan out of me. I can't wait for Gabrielle Zevin's future works.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: August 22nd, 2017

5/5 stars

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Profile Image for Esil.
1,118 reviews1,338 followers
August 16, 2017
Young Jane Young didn't knock my socks off but it was entertaining in a smart kind of way. Jane Young used to be Aviva Grossman, but in her early twenties she was involved with a congressman in Florida a la Monica Lewinsky, and the scandal went viral. She then reinvented herself as an event planner named Jane Young in a small town in Maine. Zevin tells Aviva/Jane's story from a few points of view, including her mother, daughter and the congressman's wife. There is a lot of humour in how these characters are depicted, but each of them is more than a stereotype -- far from perfect, but understandable and even likeable. And in the end this is what Zevin manages well in Young Jane Young -- she gives a human face to a scandal without making it overly maudlin, apologetic or trashy. At the very end, Zevin descends into a bit of a polemic about where feminism stands when it comes to this type of sex scandal. It's delivered with a light touch, but I appreciated the nudge to give some thought to the issue. Entertaining but not silly. I liked this one and recommend it to anyone looking for a lighter but smart read. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
Profile Image for JanB .
1,144 reviews2,511 followers
October 4, 2017
What happens in the aftermath of an intern and congressman’s affair? To the congressman, nothing. His career and marriage remains intact and life goes on pretty much as before. To the young intern, Aviva, everything changes. She’s the victim of slut-shaming and her job prospects dry up. A simple google search ensures her past will follow her everywhere.

So she starts her life over, moves to a different state, and legally changes her name to Jane Young. It’s now some years later and she’s a single mom to Ruby and the owner of a successful event planning business. But secrets have a way of being revealed sooner or late and so is Jane’s.

The chapters are split between Aviva/Jane, her daughter Ruby, and Embeth, the congressman’s wife, plus a short section by Aviva’s mother. The novel benefitted from hearing all perspectives. Weighty topics are tackled yet it remains heartfelt and humorous. It’s light but intelligent and filled with strong likable female characters. And funny. It’s very funny with snappy dialogue.

I do wish the author hadn’t resorted to the 'choose your own adventure' chapters at the end. The reader doesn’t really flip to different pages depending on the choices made, but it was used to drive home the point that each decision Aviva made affected the outcome of her future. As is true for all of us. But it felt gimmicky in a book that didn’t need it to drive that point home.

Despite my reservations over the ‘choose your own adventure’ section, the book is a smart, entertaining read that I highly recommend.

*My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Debbie.
441 reviews2,787 followers
November 4, 2018
It’s a keeper….

What a fun read this was! It’s about an intern, Aviva, who has an affair with a congressman. Sound familiar? Of course we all think of Monica Lewinsky. I figured the story would be boring and predictable, but it wasn’t. Intelligent and well-put-together crosses out the fact that it’s on the lightweight side. Wait! As soon as I said that, I wanted to slap myself, because lightweight is a horrible word, really, in a book review. This book is entertaining and it’s smart, period! Not in the same league as Zevin’s earlier The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, which earned a spot on my All-Time Favorites shelf, but it’s pretty darn good.

I’m heading right to the Joy Jar. Yeah, after that there’s also a small Complaint Board, but don’t take it too seriously—I’m not!

Joy Jar

-Likable, strong characters, who all happen to be women. (Hm…the all-female cast may explain why it could be considered chick lit?)

-Good bones. Besides the well-drawn characters, the language, plot, and pacing are all great.

-Really cool the way it’s organized. Chapters are from the perspective of different females, and they are in different narrative voices (first-person, third-person, and even second-person) and even in different formats—one chapter is in email format, e.g.

-The truth created suspense. The tension was cool when the kid found out the truth. We had no idea what she would do or what others would say or do in reaction to her.

-What comes after. I liked that the book focused on Aviva’s life after the affair. I think it might have been too soapy and predictable if it was all about the affair.

-I love pen pals! The section where Aviva’s daughter, Ruby, is writing multiple emails to a pen pal in Indonesia is fantastic. What a clever way for the reader to get to know Ruby! Ruby explains things to her pen pal, and her interpretations of what things mean are hilarious and wise (see quotes, below). Starting in junior high, I had a pen pal (from England), so this chapter just tickled me and sent me down memory lane. Like Ruby, I was desperate and devoted to explaining every little thing to my beloved pen pal. I remember wanting to explain college to her, but my parents told me she’d know what college is, lol. But how was I supposed to know that?!!

Don’t post! The book provides an interesting commentary on the power of social media to ruin your life. Aviva’s fling with the congressman lived on forever on the Internet. You never can outrun your past. Not only did the media skewer her, but she skewered herself—she had stupidly maintained a blog during the affair. Nothing ever disappears from the ether, period. Lots of real-life reminders of that today!

Some quotes that got me thinking (or just gave me a kick):

“Did you know that ninety percent of men or people—I don’t remember which—don’t move out of the way when you are walking toward them on the street?” [Is this true? Must research! I’ve had heated discussions about this very phenomenon!]

“Reading is like watching TV in your head.” [I’ll probably steal this line for a review!]

“The only past you have a right to know about is your own.”

“It is foolish to speculate what is happening inside another human’s shell.”

And these two from Ruby, when writing to her pen pal:

“An interesting fact about ‘painstaking’ is that it is pronounced ‘pain-staking’ when it should be pronounced ‘pains-taking’ because what you are doing is ‘taking pains.’”

“Lower their inhibitions means people talk and drink and hug too much.”

Complaint Board

-A Jewish mom hounds her daughter, yada yada. I didn’t love the book at the beginning. We have the Jewish mother fretting about her college-age daughter, Aviva, and telling her what to do. The scenes seemed trite, plus I didn’t love all the Hebrew words thrown in. I thought the whole book would be like this. I was so happy when Chapter 2 started and the voice changed to a different woman. That was when I started really liking the book.

-An 8-year-old does not shave her legs! The author got the 8-year-old Ruby all wrong. Come on, no 8-year-old shaves her legs or goes to history class—but she does in this book! Plus the sentence structure sounded like it was coming from a 20-year-old. The conversations were too long, the cadence too sophisticated. This wrong 8-year-old-voice was probably my biggest complaint. Luckily, it was just a chapter or so, so the pain was short. (I remember that the author got the kid voice wrong in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, too.) The 13-year-old Ruby was fine. Maybe a little precocious, but I loved her.

-I can’t help it: I like closure! The ending was okay but could have been better. I wanted to know who won. That’s all I’ll say.

I predict that fans of Fikry won’t be wowed by this book, but they will enjoy it tons, like I did. It was a good read and I definitely want to read this author’s next book.
Profile Image for Sarah Joint.
445 reviews985 followers
October 22, 2017
Monica Lewinsky. Nearly everyone in America (and many outside it) knows that name. You might demonize her, you might feel bad for her, you may think you don't know the whole story and shouldn't judge... but when you hear that name, you have a reaction. This story is a fictional account of a young lady named Aviva Grossman, who is Florida's answer to Monica Lewinsky. A woman who made the papers for who she slept with... because that someone happened to be very married and very much in the spotlight.

Three and a half stars. I really enjoyed the story, but some parts about how it was told detracted from the experience for me. I wasn't that into the parts from Ruby's perspective, but I know that was a favorite for a lot of readers. I also wasn't in love with the "choose your own adventure" part towards the end, but I really enjoyed the rest from Rachel and Aviva/Jane. I laughed, I cringed. I shook my head and remembered how naive I was when I was Aviva's age.

Aviva wrote an anonymous blog about her life as a congressional intern. One day, it blows up for all the wrong reasons. Her affair with a senator has come to light, and someone has connected the two. It's just the right amount of sex and scandal that sells papers. She's infamous practically overnight and the bright light that was her future seems to have been turned off, leaving her in the dark. She's labeled the seductress, which the Congressman gets off relatively easily. Figures.

This story consists of how the affair started, the aftermath, and the new life Aviva makes for herself after she cuts ties, changes her name, and moves. We learn not only how the mistake she made when she was barely an adult affected her, but how it affected her mother... and later, her daughter. When she's urged to run for public office, it's only a matter of time before her big secret is known by everyone in town. Google never forgets.

I received a copy of this book from Net Galley and Algonquin Books, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
Profile Image for Michelle.
147 reviews235 followers
October 28, 2018
There are decisions we make when we're young that are certainly not the same decisions we'd make when we're older. Unfortunately for others, the internet doesn’t allow them to move on. Since our digital memory holds on to everything, both the relevant and the irrelevant details alike, it can cast an ever-present and unchanging shadow. There are some acute and uncomfortable social observations in this book, specifically how the online media can damage and/or destroy a person's life.

One of the immediate takeaways from “Young Jane Young” is that the impact of poor decisions rarely, if ever, is limited to just the person that makes them. Gabrielle Zevin's use of perspective through multiple narrators: Rachel, Aviva/Jane,Ruby, and Embeth -- reminds us that there are any number of people that have to live with the consequences of someone's supposed moral failing.

Although this book is fictional, there are many parallels to the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky story. The news stories surrounding that scandal painted only one picture - the lying politician, the innocent and stupid intern, and the wife who stayed only for political reasons. This book offers perspective on each of the players, specifically the women, that is far different than what the news media portrays to the public, and is far more believable.

I was impressed with Zevin's growth chart for Aviva's character arc. In the beginning, she's the girl that I think so many of us were or could have been, in our less responsible, more self-absorbed youth. The girl that makes a mistake and trusts that her heart is right and society is wrong. When she aptly recognizes one door has closed, she was smart enough to create and open a new one. She willingly accepts the cross she'll forever have to bear because she eventually realizes, that in the Court of Public Opinion-- she knows she's not alone, and that the only juror that really matters is the one within.

Witty, engaging, humorous and human -- “Young Jane Young” is a featherlight read, and worth picking up. Zevin uses a different storytelling style for each section that I find quite creative, especially in Aviva's final chapter which is told in the form of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story. It is both entertaining and thought-provoking, and it actually made me realize and rectify my own prejudices. Looking back on the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal, I remember feeling very judgmental of Monica as a young woman. Now, as a grown-up woman … I feel very judgmental of Bill, to tell you the truth! And, you know, anybody who can judge Monica Lewinsky (or any young woman for that matter) has, on some level, lost touch with what it is to be young and to have made a mistake.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.3k followers
July 8, 2022
While this book does have a handful of dated jokes/comments, the message at the core of this story hits even harder now in 2022 than it did back when I first read it in 2017 and I just appreciate the fuck out of it. Re-reading this has absolutely solidified Gabrielle Zevin as a favorite author and I cannot wait to dive into my pre-order of her latest when my copy arrives tomorrow (tomorrow!!!!!!!).

CW: slut shaming, gaslighting, cheating, discussions around weight gain/disordered eating, miscarriage, terminal illness (cancer)
Profile Image for Linda.
76 reviews172 followers
September 12, 2017
I couldn't walk past a copy of "Young Jane Young," especially with that eye-catching cover, and leave the store without it. Having "The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry" on my favorites shelf, I'd been looking forward to Gabriel Zevin's next novel for the past several years.

The basis of this storyline has been played out in real life more times than we'll ever know, with the scandalous Clinton/Lewinsky affair being the most infamous to-date and a permanent part of our nation's history.

Aviva Grossman, a young, congressional intern in Florida, falls in love with her married boss and quickly finds out the meaning of "double-standard," when the affair goes public. All is forgiven with the popular congressman, but Aviva's promising career is over, before it's even begun. She is recognized everywhere; the main topic of late-night television; and forever being part of the present, because of an anonymous blog she started at the onset of the affair. This was the beginning of "Avivagate."

The only way out for Aviva is changing her name, moving far away from her family, and starting a new career in a small town in Maine. It's there that she begins her fresh start and strives to raise her daughter, Ruby, by making smarter choices. Things do go well, until the Internet catches up with them.

This book is about Aviva/Jane, 13-year old Ruby, and the women who play significant roles in their lives. I laughed on the very first page. (To me, this is always a good sign that I'm in for a treat.) Yes, the book gets serious at times. Ruby got on my nerves a lot, but she, too, had me laughing. The author's strong point is her ability to create great dialogue between her characters, and she has a unique sense of humor I thoroughly enjoy.

For me, the only problem with the book was that it could have been a little longer. I wanted to know more. Usually, I feel the newer books are getting way too large, heavy to hold, and have too much filler. This one was the right size but needed a few more pages. However, I found the book to be a solid four stars. It was an entertaining, fun read. I'll be looking forward to Gabrielle Zevin's next book, again.

Definitely recommend.

Profile Image for Carol.
322 reviews862 followers
October 27, 2017
YJY has the same charm and depth as The Rosie Effect and substantially more of each than Where'd You Go, Bernadette. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not a fan of moral relativism and/or "I was young" uttered by 21+ year-olds as a rationale for adultery, and, still, I found YJY to be fresh and understated, with one caveat. The initial 30 -50 pages or so are comprised of a multitude of annoying Miami-Jewish-mom stereotypes. Having said that, if you are seeking humor-tinged contemporary fiction, YJY is a fast read and worth the annoyance of Zevin's mistaken choice to make Rachel, Jane's mother, a caricature, albeit a well-meaning one with a tragic lack of appreciation for boundaries.
Profile Image for Julie G .
883 reviews2,745 followers
March 3, 2018
When my book club discussed Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry two summers ago, I was the woman on the patio who was yawning into her glass of Pinot Grigio.

I just didn't get how a story that started strong and had such a fantastic setting could wither into such a bland and colorless bore.

Last week I ordered Young Jane Young, Gabrielle Zevin's most recent novel, with some trepidation, but I always think it's a good idea to give a writer (and a person) a second chance, and within minutes of starting it, I was pleasantly surprised. Part One of this novel, entitled Bubbe Meise, is sharply written, and the character of Rachel Shapiro has an authentic and appealing voice. I adored her, and I delighted in the setting of Boca Raton, Florida. It just so happens to be where I spent the first 25 years of my life and Ms. Zevin does a nice job of capturing the true essence of the place. Turns out we're both from there, so it makes sense.

Bubbe Meise would have stood alone as an excellent novella, but unfortunately, there are four more parts, and each one unravels the integrity of the story just a little bit more. I can't explain it, other than to describe the writing in each section as experimental and not in alignment with what came before.

I felt confused and bored all over again, and I found myself wanting to give Ms. Zevin the equivalent of Viagra for writers, to bring the story back UP.

Eight-year-old girls and thirteen-year-old girls don't talk like that. I'm surrounded by them, and I promise you. . . they don't.
Profile Image for Heather.
389 reviews16.8k followers
March 29, 2018
4.75/ 5

Oh what an amazing read! I wasn’t planning on reading this book at all but it had just been staring me down on my shelf so I picked it up!
📖 👩‍💼
And I am so glad I picked it up because I enjoyed it so much!! I haven’t heard anyone talk about this so I feel like it’s underrated and definitely needs to be read!
It has a lighthearted tone all throughout it but it talks about some serious issues. We talk about sexism and how often the woman gets blamed after an affair. 🌃
I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it! It���s told in 4 parts and I loved every single one of them! Definitely pick this book up!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 Stars
Profile Image for da AL.
366 reviews366 followers
January 4, 2018
Such a great novel for anyone and everyone! Addresses feminism on all levels, all ages, with fun, intelligence, humor. Audiobook reader Karen White is stellar.
Profile Image for Ron Charles.
1,033 reviews48.5k followers
August 15, 2017
No matter what your definition of “is” is, this is a redemptive novel inspired by the ordeal of Monica Lewinsky.

Zevin, the author of several novels for adults and young people, including “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry,” has dramatically streamlined the complications of that byzantine political scandal. “Young Jane Young” takes place in Florida, where a 20-year-old intern named Aviva has an affair with a handsome congressman, whom she describes in an anonymous and largely ignored blog. With a nod to Chappaquiddick, their relationship is exposed when they’re involved in a car accident. Aviva is not seriously injured, but the resultant publicity ruins her life, while the congressman walks away with apologies for any pain that. . . .

To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post:

To watch the Totally Hip Video Book Review, go to:
Profile Image for Bianca.
1,044 reviews902 followers
September 3, 2017
4.5 stars rounded up

Thanks Esil for recommending another fantastic book.

Young Jane Young is a thoroughly enjoyable novel with a very modern structure.

It's one of those rare finds that I've come to appreciate: light without insulting my intelligence, occasionally amusing and with a cast of interesting characters.

The first chapters were probably my favourites because of Mrs Grossman, nee Shapiro, who was delightfully funny, with her dead- pan observations; it made me think of some of the characters in the TV Series Transparent.

I don't want to give away too much, there's plenty in the blurb.

I haven't read Zevin before, but now I want to read more of her works, as I found this book refreshing, funny, witty and I enjoyed its original, unexpected structure.


I've received this novel from the publishers via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Victoria.
412 reviews319 followers
April 15, 2021
Humans are not born forever on the day their mothers have them; life necessitates giving birth to themselves over and over again. Gabriel Garcia Marquez (translated)

The difference between being famous and infamous are just a couple of letters as the titular character will tell you. We know the tawdry story, it played out in real life for another Jane Young who was vilified by the press and on social media, whose life was forever changed. It took a TED talk and a movement to give her a voice again. In this one, Zevin gives voice to another.

They didn’t put a scarlet letter on her chest, but they didn’t need to. That’s what the internet is for.

Luckily for this heroine she changed her name, moved away and started over. But the past is never in the past, especially when there are others who wish to use her ruination for their gain. Or when a daughter seeks answers to questions she didn’t want to answer.

Overall I really enjoyed this story, witty, compassionate and perceptive. Each section is written in a different style and I always enjoy when an author plays with structure. But I had problems with the last section told in third person with a ‘choose your own adventure’ theme. As warm and endearing as I found the rest of the story, this felt a bit distant and cold, more so because it was the conclusion.

Not on par with The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, but another well-written and engaging story by this author which bumps it up to a four.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,447 reviews7,541 followers
April 9, 2018
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Young Jane Young is the story about the before, during and after when it comes to an affair that will sound pretty familiar to many of you . . . .

I’m not a huge reader of “Chick Lit,” but not for any real good reason other than I tend to steer myself toward stuff that’s a little darker and I don’t enjoy being emotionally manipulated. Young Jane Young was more than likely a winner for me because it didn’t try to make me have all the feelz and it didn’t try to create a victim/perp environment either. It was simply the story of what became of a young woman who had an affair with a public figure.

Aviva’s mother, Jane, Jane’s daughter, the congressman’s wife and Aviva all took a turn at telling Jane’s (or Aviva – depending if you knew her before or after the affair) story and not even strangers on the street kept their opinion of the matter to themselves. From the humorous recounting of Aviva's goings on by a stereotypical “Jewish mother,” to pen-pal correspondence between two young teenagers when Jane’s daughter finds out who her mother used to be, to a unique co-narrator in the form of a parrot that remains firmly perched on the congressman’s wife’s shoulder, to a “choose your own adventure” type of retelling by Aviva herself - Young Jane Young is, if nothing else, an extremely readable story. Maybe more so to people of my generation since it brought back all of the memories of a President who will probably go down in the history books as one of the good ones, if for no other reason than his humanitarian efforts, and his intern who eventually found success as a designer and most recently as an activist, but who both gave many of us a severe case of the squicks when their scandal broke.

It seems nowadays sex scandals and affairs are a dime a dozen, but in reality it’s definitely nothing new. Hell, I was raised in a good old-fashioned Catholic household which featured the “Holy Trinity” of portraits on the wall . . . .

We’ve been forgiving political adulterers for ages!
Profile Image for Zoe.
1,821 reviews171 followers
August 28, 2017
Clever, humorous, and highly entertaining!

Young Jane Young is an engaging, satisfying tale that reminds us that the internet although an invaluable source of information and a blessing is also often a curse where mistakes are never forgotten.

The story is divided into multiple sections and told from various perspectives; Rachel, Aviva's mother whose attempts at online dating is dismal at best; Jane/Aviva, a young events planner who has successfully carved out a new life and identity after falling in love with the wrong man; Ruby, Jane's inquisitive and direct teenage daughter; and Embeth, the congressman's forgiving and supportive wife.

The characters are strong, female, and resilient. The prose is smooth, fresh, and exceptionally witty. And the plot interweaves and unfolds effortlessly using unconventional, unique writing styles, such as emails and "choose your own adventure" to keep you intrigued and absorbed from start to finish.

Young Jane Young is ultimately a lighthearted, warm, enjoyable story about empowerment, survival, feminism, shame, acceptance, adultery, politics, scandals, and the unfair sexist stigma that still surrounds women and their sexual behaviour today.

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

All my reviews can be found on my blog at http://whatsbetterthanbooks.com
Profile Image for Brandice.
857 reviews
February 21, 2018
As a big fan of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, I was very excited when I heard Gabrielle Zevin had a new book coming out, Young Jane Young. It took me awhile to get to reading it, but I’m glad I did.

The story was easy to follow, fairly quick paced, and while a bit predictable, still amusing. A young political intern falls in love with the Congressman whose office she’s working in, gets caught having an affair with him, and then must reap the consequences of her actions. I enjoyed the varying viewpoints of the women the story affects: Aviva’s mom, Rachel, Aviva’s daughter, Ruby, the Congressman’s wife, Embeth, and Aviva herself.

I remember reading reviews of this book earlier where readers didn’t care for the “Choose Your Own Adventure” aspect in one of the sections. This didn’t negatively impact my thoughts of the book or the story at all, as I felt it was decided for you. I thought it was a clever and uncommon way (in modern times) to tell a story. I also enjoyed these types of books on occasion growing up. Young Jane Young didn’t top A.J. but I still really liked it.
Profile Image for L A i N E Y (will be back).
394 reviews677 followers
November 26, 2020
“You’re not so dumb that you think evidence of lust is the same as evidence of love. Still, the lust is intoxicating and appreciated.”

Super readable. I really liked Rachel, she’s the most funny and interesting of the family. But the story still feels too.. easy? Things turned out just a little bit too neat. Like we just skipped over the messy and dropped into this post-everything.
Profile Image for Stacey.
874 reviews161 followers
December 20, 2017
Today I read an article about Jessica Hahn. In 1980 she was involved in a scandalous affair with televangelist, Jim Bakker who was 20 years older. It caused quite a stir.

What a coincidence that I’m reading Young Jane Young because that’s exactly how this novel begins. Aviva Grossman is an ambitious intern for a congressman and unfortunately makes the mistake of having an affair. After the word is out it isn’t the congressman left with the undesirable aftermath, it’s Aviva. We follow Aviva as she moves as far away as possible, changes her name to Jane Young and reinvents herself. Years later we meet Ruby, her 13 year old daughter. Mother and daughter are close and Ruby has a lot of responsibility in her mother’s event planning (mostly weddings) business. A good section of the novel is from Ruby’s perspective and it’s clever how Zevin writes this.

Jane plans a wedding for a young bride, Franny, who may not be ready to jump into the married life and begin being in the political spotlight. She works Franny through it and the wedding is a success. A member of the community encourages Jane to run for mayor. Jane enters the political race and her opponent is Franny’s husband. Sure enough her past catches up to her and Ruby is left questioning everything.

This is a light hearted read and a nice change of pace from the psychological thrillers I’ve been reading.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,467 reviews564 followers
March 24, 2019
[3.5] Exactly what I needed. Comfort and entertainment. I just finished and am still smiling.
Profile Image for Clif Hostetler.
1,076 reviews711 followers
July 12, 2019
A modern day Scarlet Letter! The difference now in the era of on-line social media is that the whole nation knows your name and what you did—and they will never forget.

The starting inspiration for this novel was most likely the Clinton-Lewinsky sex scandal. However, the author has taken a similar premise and exaggerated the embarrassing details to bring home the point of how men and women are judged differently in the court of public opinion. When an affair between a young 20-year-old female intern and a well known Congressman is made public, the Congressman publicly admits his indiscretion, his wife stands by him, and his political life continues. Meanwhile, the young former intern is unable to get a job because the notoriety of her name has made her a pariah to potential employers. Any business or nonprofit that decides to hire her will have their name suddenly splashed nationwide—an extreme example of unfair slut-shaming via public opinion.

From this point the book becomes the story of the former intern starting life over by moving to a far away state and legally changing her name. She starts a successful wedding planning business in a small city, and after thirteen years she become sufficiently politically connected to run for mayor of this city. But it's hard to hid your past these days when you run for public office.

The story is made more interesting by the fact that our former intern remains single and has a daughter who happens to be of such an age that the possibility of the Congressman being her father arises in the mind of the reader. And everybody knows that a smart thirteen-year-old girl with access to the internet—and who happens to be curious about her parentage—is going to learn about her mother's past.

I have to also mention that part of this book is narrated in the first-person voice of the thirteen-year-old daughter of the former intern. In my opinion she comes across as a modern version of Anne of Green Gables. She's is such a lovable spunky nerd that she's bound to capture the heart of most readers.

So from this point the story really gets interesting. All I will say here is that the story has a happy ending but some questions remain less than fully resolved.

The following excerpt from near the end of the book summarizes the book's message regarding feminism. My interpretation is that men and women should have equal rights to make their own decisions, even foolish and bad ones. And men and women should also have equal rights to pick up the pieces after bad choices and continue to live life to the fullest—modified by lessons learned.
"Why should I be a feminist? When everything happened, none of you exactly rushed to my defense," . . .

"No," she said. "We probably should have. The power imbalance between you and Levin was obscene. I think, on some level, it was in the greater public interest to not defend you. He's a good congressman. He's good on women's issues, too. It's not perfect." . . .

"The Miami Herald wrote that I had set the feminist cause back fifty years. How exactly did I do that?"

"You didn't."

"She stood by him. Didn't she set feminism back more than me? Isn't it more feminist to leave your cheating spouse? . . . I don't even know what a feminist is," . . . "What the hell is it?"

"From my point of view as a political science professor, it's the belief that all sexes should be treated equally before the law."

"Obviously I know that," . . .

"You didn't ask me the next logical question," she said. "What is feminism from my point of view as a woman and as a human being?" . . . "It's the right every woman has to make her own choices. People don't have to like your choices, Aviva, but you have a right to make them. Embeth Levin has a right to make them, too. Don't expect a parade."
In the above quote, Aviva (a.k.a. Jane Young) is the novel's former intern protagonist, Levin is the Congressman with whom she had an affair, and Embeth Levin is the Congressman's wife.
Profile Image for Puck.
646 reviews299 followers
December 29, 2018
This book punches slut-shaming and shitty double standards in the face, and looks great while doing it.

This novel was the big surprise of February for me. My first book by Zevin – The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry was fun, but way too cheesy for me. Young Jane Young however is anything but cheesy: it is a powerful feminist story that calls bullshit on misogyny, and encourages us to do the same.

Young Jewish Aviva Grossman’s life gets ruined when the world finds out about her affair with older and married Congressman Levin. While Levin experiences a few call-outs and some negative press, Aviva get slut-shamed by the entire American public. Despite her political-science skills, nobody wants to hire or even be associated with her.
Aviva decides to completely start over: changing her name to Jane Young and cutting ties with her family so that nobody will ever remind her of her past. Yet the person who digs it up is the person Jane least expected: her own daughter Ruby.

As an American reader will realize, this story has many parallels with the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. Just like Aviva, Monica got torn apart by the media, while Bill Clinton could stay on as president. Nobody seems to care that Monica/Aviva is so much more than her one mistake: she’s a woman with a family, an ambitious wish for her career, and someone who, in the future, will have children of her own.

In this book, we do get to know all of these parts of Aviva’s life. We meet Aviva’s assertive daughter Ruby, her well-meaning mother Rachel, and Levin’s wife Embeth, who stayed with him despite his affair(s). By including all these different perspectives, this book becomes not only the story of Aviva, but a story about all types of women.
Zevin asks us not to look at our faults and differences, but at the problems women all share: about having to deal with men not taking “no” for an answer, about being judged by our looks, and how men not even make way for us when you walk towards them.

What a powerful feminist message, but apart from that this is a clever, fantastic book about flawed women, the bond between mothers and daughters, and how one mistake can change your life, but not define it if you work hard.
Go and read it.
Profile Image for Cindy Burnett (Thoughts from a Page).
565 reviews980 followers
August 1, 2020
4.5 stars

I read Young Jane Young in a 24-hour period; it’s a quick read, a ton of fun, and frequently laugh-out-loud hilarious. I have been a huge fan of Gabrielle Zevin for years, and I love that each new book is so different from her previous ones. While The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will always be a tough one to best, Young Jane Young certainly holds its own.

Gabrielle Zevin spoke at my local bookstore in September, and a portion of my book club went to hear her (Young Jane Young was our September book pick). She was absolutely delightful – she spoke for a while and then entertained questions. The whole event was almost 2 hours by the time she was done signing. I attend author events fairly regularly and have never been to one lasting that long nor had an author stay engaged with the crowd for that amount of time. I am now her biggest fan. I had not read the book yet so I had the unique perspective of hearing various things about the story before I read it which made me enjoy the book even more.

My favorite part of the book was the creative manner in which Zevin chose to tell her story. She divided the book into four sections where each section is told from the perspective of a different females whose four stories intermingle. Each woman/teen has a unique point of view: one uses emails to relay her account (my favorite by far- I laughed the entire time), and another is told in a “Choose your own adventure” format which was intriguing and thought-provoking. I also loved her handling of the affair between the Congressman and Aviva including her understanding of how much people’s perspectives can change from age 20 to age 40 and the fact that the Congressman ended up shouldering so little of the blame (a sad fact that pitifully still happens today). She also addresses the permanence of the internet; scandals that would have died out pre-internet are now around forever, a phenomenon that people have not quite understood yet especially young people who are just finding their way.

Young Jane Young is a treasure.

Listen to my podcast at https://www.thoughtsfromapage.com for fun author interviews. For more book reviews, check out my Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/thoughtsfro....
Profile Image for Erin Clemence.
1,054 reviews311 followers
March 30, 2018
Special thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for the chance to read this electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.
“Young Jane Young” is the new novel from Gabrielle Nevin, the author of “The Storied Life of A.J Fikry”. I adored “Storied Life” and, to be honest, it would’ve been impossible to write a follow-up novel that would have settled anywhere close to it. That being said, “Young Jane Young” (although, as suspected, does not come close to “Storied Life”) is definitely a good read with a passionate and powerful lead character.
In “Young Jane Young”, twenty-year old Aviva Goodman is working as an intern in a Florida Congressman’s office. Smart and talented, Aviva is loving her job and looks forward to a career in politics. However, she soon makes a life-changing choice- she falls into a months-long affair with the married Congressman. Her career and her reputation are in shambles, and she is forced to give up her old life (and her old name) in order to start anew.
Jane Young is someone who made a mistake as a young person- a mistake that has followed her around and changed the course of her life. Relatable, powerful and funny, Jane Young/Aviva is admirable and is one hell of a main character. This story is told from the standpoint of several women- Aviva, of course, but we also get to see the novel from the standpoint of Ruby (Aviva’s daughter), Rachel (Aviva’s mother) and Embeth (the Congressman’s wife). Each character plays an important part in the choices Aviva makes.
This story is well written and we know Ms. Nevin has finely tuned writing chops (she made this evident in her incredible debut novel). The female characters are all strong, passionate and flawed that stand true to their characters and morals throughout the novel. Although politics are rampant in this novel’s plotline, there is actually quite a small amount of political jargon (and thank goodness for it!) and this makes the novel more enjoyable. I find Jane to be a little less of a kindred spirit than A.J Fikry was (after all, his passion was books) but I thoroughly enjoyed the character of Ruby, in all of her fiery, uber-intelligent, quirky ways.
Not a bad follow up to “Storied Life”, and there a few “deep thinking” points in the novel (the sexism that exists in politics, for one) without any political agenda being forced down a reader’s throat. The author leaves it up to the reader to decide what’s important and this makes the novel either really heavy or funny and light, depending on where you choose to focus. A great follow up novel, “Young Jane Young” is for all of us- the ragtag misfits who don’t fit in, those who are looking for a life transformation, and those who simply want a character they can get behind.
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