In Zanesville

In Zanesville

A Novel

eBook - 2011
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Along with her best friend, the fourteen-year-old narrator navigates a 1970s American girlhood, including challenges from popular girls and the first hints of womanhood.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780316134644
Characteristics: 1 online resource (289 p.)


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Jan 18, 2013

There are three Zanesvilles in the United States; this one appears to be a tiny community south of Springfield, Illinois. (The towns of Heyworth and Waynesville are mentioned.) The time covers the months between the summer of 1972 and the following winter. ("Ooh Child" is called an "old" song and "Ben" [released the summer of 1972] is quoted.) Our heroine, whose name may be "Jan", is definitely not "Joan", and is in all likelihood Jo Ann, is fourteen, gifted, and a late-bloomer. In 1972's small-town America, this means she is still a little girl emotionally when the book opens. We follow her through a series of seemingly unimportant adolescent incidents which are, of course, life-changing to her, and by the end, we are hearing the thoughts and ideas of a teenager.

This is not a Young Adult novel. This is closer to being a memoir from someone who remembers exactly what it was like to be no longer pre-adolescent, but only barely -- and to have no idea what to do about it. Beard writes skillfully and truthfully. It may be lacking in sex and violence, but it is, nevertheless, a book for grown-ups.

The audio-book is inventively read by Jo Anna Perrin.

Nov 19, 2012

It was a fine story. But I never felt like I really connected with the narrator. I’m slightly bothered that I can’t even remember her name, and I don’t know if it’s because I have forgotten or because we never learn it in the book.

Jul 12, 2012


LovesChachi Apr 03, 2012

In Zanesville follows and unnamed protagonist and her best friend, Felicia, through the summer of their 14th year. Set in the 1970s in Zanesville, IL, Beard beautifully evokes the pain and promise of female adolescence in a setting so authentic it took me right back to shag carpet, the Rockford Files and slipping hand-written notes into a friend's school locker. The usual teen escapades take place involving babysitting, boys, and popularity while the girls also navigate the bewilderment of imperfect parents and the evolution of their friendship.

mmg2681 Feb 20, 2012

This book really wasnt what I expected it to be. No real chapters, jumping from one story to the next with no real transitions or "what happened next?"

lilylibrarian Jan 02, 2012

In Zanesville is both a timeless story of a girl's coming of age in small town America, and a evocative portrait of the late '60's. (And it WAS late 1960's, not the '70's as stated elsewhere. I was there, and I was Joan's age.)

Dec 20, 2011

Really enjoyed this book. Beard captures so well the emotions and thoughts that go through the heart and mind of the teenage narrator. Reading it, I was taken back to my own 70s-era junior and senior high school experience with my two best friends, where every social nuance was analyzed and parsed for days and weeks on end.

Dec 12, 2011

Not sure why this book is labeled as 'teen'. Except for the fact the main character is a teenager, it's very much an adult read in terms of content, although some y/a readers would enjoy this as well. The author revisits a 70's era teenage life. It's very funny at times as well as being very well-written.

debwalker Jun 04, 2011

A wryly perceptive 14-year-old narrates this coming-of- age tale set in small-town '70s America.


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