Amazon.com says: "Jo Ann Beard shows us that...within the souls of the awkward and the overlooked often burns something radiant and unforgettable." Unfortunately, In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard is not that "something".
The story, of an unnamed 14-year old narrator (Beard indicates the character is loosely connected to herself and there is mention of her name being the same as one of the Little Women girls) and her best friend Flea (Felicia), explores that time in a girl's life when she is no longer a child, but not quite a teenager (cue Britney Spear's Not Yet a Woman as a background track).
Difficulties such as an alcoholic father and an unresponsive mother, babysitting the local hoodlums, discovering that the school marching band is not a route to popularity, and making small (unrealistic) efforts at successfully finding one's way into that world of cheerleaders and football players despite being a plain-Jane, make up this a cute but forgettable novel.
Other bloggers have called the book "hilariously funny", there are a few cute moments, and "a wonderful coming-of-age story". Perhaps I just couldn't connect with it, but while I found it pleasant, little of the narrator's journey struck me as eventful or interesting.
While the book is well written, nothing about it stood out for me. Ho-hum.
2/5- Just okay. Choose with extreme prejudice.
More opinions at: