From the author of the international bestseller The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry:
Named a Washington Post Notable Work of Fiction of 2017
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Chatelaine Best Fall Reads pick
#1 on the August Library Reads list
An Entertainment Weekly’s “13 Books to Read in August”
An Amazon’s “Best Books of the Month” for August
A Barnes & Noble “August’s Best New Fiction” pick
#3 on the September Indie Next List
Aviva Grossman is a bright, ambitious congressional intern with a promising political future ahead of her until she makes the mistake of having an affair with her very married boss … and writing what she thinks is an anonymous blog about it. When the affair dramatically comes to light, it’s not the popular congressman who takes the fall, it’s Aviva—and her life suddenly seems over before it’s hardly begun. Slut-shamed and hounded by the media, she becomes a late-night talk show punchline. Determined to rebuild her life on her own terms, Aviva changes her name, moves from Florida to a small town in Maine, starts her own wedding planning business … and decides to continue a surprise pregnancy.
But when “Jane” decides to run for public office, that long-ago mistake—an inescapable scarlet A—trails her via the Internet, threatening to derail her life yet again. It’s only a matter of time until her daughter finds out who her mother once was—and is forced to reconcile that person with the one she thinks she knows …
Young Jane Young is a smart, funny, and extremely timely novel which exposes the myriad ways we shame, forgive, and love one another. Just as she did in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, the superbly talented Gabrielle Zevin has created a cast of unforgettable characters: an ambitious yet naive twenty-something, a mother attempting to steer her daughter through a judgmental world, a veteran political wife facing the hard truth that fidelity isn’t always rewarded, and a young girl who feels bold about her choices before she realizes the restrictions all around her. Not only does Zevin skewer the inherent double standards in women’s everyday lives, she also explores the true meaning of resilience—and, ultimately, forgiveness.
Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry) offers a satisfying and entertaining story of reinvention and second chances in the wake of a political sex scandal. Aviva Grossman was far and away the most capable intern working in the Florida district office of her local congressman until their affair was exposed and the subsequent national scandal destroyed her reputation (though, tellingly, not the congressman's) and doused her political aspirations. Fast-forward more than a decade: Aviva, a single mom, has legally changed her name to Jane Young, moved to small-town Maine, and applied her logistical competence to running her own event planning business. When the town matriarch encourages Jane to run for mayor, her youthful indiscretions threaten to derail her tentative foray back into the political arena. Divided into sections, each focusing on a different woman Aviva's mother, Jane; her 13-year-old daughter, Ruby; the congressman's wife; and Aviva the novel's structure means that plot points are occasionally re-trod, though sometimes with surprising new insights. Zevin also plays with form, crafting Ruby's section as a series of frequently hilarious emails to her Indonesian pen pal and the final section like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" novel. Real-world parallels aside, Jane's story is in the end less about political scandal and more about gaining strength and moving on from youthful missteps.