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Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

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Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Aviva Grossman was in college when she went to work for Congressman Levin in Southern Florida as an unpaid intern. She had a head for politics and was getting a degree in Spanish Literature as well to help her communicate with her future constituents when she ran for office one day. But a string of bad decisions which resulted in a scandal about her relationship with the married and considerably older Congressman shattered her political aspirations. She became notorious in Florida, as infamous as Monica Lewinsky except on a smaller scale; but when you blog about your congressional internship experience, about everything, once it’s on the internet it is forever. Every prospective employer or voter can call up the past with a simple Google search so Aviva makes some big changes.

Jane Young is a successful event planner in a small town in Maine. She plans events of all types, but most often she is called upon to be a wedding planner. Her and her daughter have a good life, but when Jane is called upon to run for mayor her former life comes back to haunt her.

Told in four sections, most in the present day, by four different characters: Aviva’s mom, Congressman Levin’s wife; Aviva (telling the story of what happened back then; her bad choices are made all the more obvious since it is told in Choose Your Own Adventure format with only one path, the path she chose, available to read) and Ruby, Aviva’s/Jane’s thirteen-year-old daughter.  Having different points of view shows the same events from different perspectives as well as filling in the gaps so readers get to know the whole picture. 

The novel shows how bad choices early in life can affect your future and how your youthful indiscretions are now accessible by the world if they are recorded online. It’s frightening how permanent the internet is and how damaging; as a teenager or young adult can we understand the ramifications of what we post online? Why is it that the young female involved in these scandals is vilified yet the male, established in whatever profession, seems to always get through the ordeal more or less unscathed? While this novel doesn’t pose any answers it does give a voice to the women behind the questions.

By | 2017-09-29T16:04:45+00:00 September 22nd, 2017|SCLSNJ Recommended Reads|
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