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MARY JANE by Jessica Anya Blau is just plain awesome!
It takes place in Baltimore in 1975 and is a coming-of-age story of fourteen year old Mary Jane and what happens during that summer when everything she had always believed is turned upside down.
Mary Jane takes a summer nannying job with Cones and their precocious five year old daughter Izzy. What she doesn’t know is Dr. Cone is psychiatrist who specializes in addictions. When a rock star and his famous wife move into the Cone’s house for a 24 hour a day intensive therapy to kick his heroin addiction Mary Jane’s eyes are opened to a completely different world.
MARY JANE is a celebration of what family is. It’s also a book about letting go and learning how to really love each other despite their flaws and to embrace your own talent and creativity.— Kathleen
Mary Jane was one of the best coming of age stories I’ve read in a long time. With a light touch and perfect details Blau nails what it is to be 14 and suddenly see the world with new eyes.— Sarah
May 2021 Indie Next List
“Mary Jane is 14 in 1975 and her summer nannying job is filled with surprises, spontaneity, and love as she is pulled into the family of the little girl she watches. A sweet and funny story of discovering yourself, your loved ones, and where you fit in. It really hit home for me.”
— Courtney Boches, Reads & Company, Phoenixville, PA
The best book of the summer. -- InStyle
I LOVED this novel....If you have ever sung along to a hit on the radio, in any decade, then you will devour Mary Jane at 45 rpm. --Nick Hornby
Almost Famous meets Daisy Jones & The Six in this delightful (New York Times Book Review) novel about a fourteen-year-old girl's coming of age in 1970s Baltimore, caught between her straight-laced family and the progressive family she nannies for--who happen to be secretly hiding a famous rock star and his movie star wife for the summer.
In 1970s Baltimore, fourteen-year-old Mary Jane loves cooking with her mother, singing in her church choir, and enjoying her family's subscription to the Broadway Showtunes of the Month record club. Shy, quiet, and bookish, she's glad when she lands a summer job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor. A respectable job, Mary Jane's mother says. In a respectable house.
The house may look respectable on the outside, but inside it's a literal and figurative mess: clutter on every surface, Impeachment: Now More Than Ever bumper stickers on the doors, cereal and takeout for dinner. And even more troublesome (were Mary Jane's mother to know, which she does not): the doctor is a psychiatrist who has cleared his summer for one important job--helping a famous rock star dry out. A week after Mary Jane starts, the rock star and his movie star wife move in.
Over the course of the summer, Mary Jane introduces her new household to crisply ironed clothes and a family dinner schedule, and has a front-row seat to a liberal world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll (not to mention group therapy). Caught between the lifestyle she's always known and the future she's only just realized is possible, Mary Jane will arrive at September with a new idea about what she wants out of life, and what kind of person she's going to be.