Review: Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“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 Show Tunes 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.”

REVIEW:

I discovered this book when doing research for a blog post. This book ended up being the perfect summer read, and I’m so glad I picked it up.

Fourteen-year-old Mary Jane will be spending her summer as a nanny in what turns out to be a rather eccentric household. Growing up in a strict household, there are certain rules she must abide by. When entering the Cones’ household, it is like entering a different world. Mary Jane’s world is opened up by these experiences and soon seems to contemplate the way she has been raised.

Blau manages to completely capture the voice of a 14-year old girl, and Mary Jane is so incredibly relatable. The author also manages to capture the world of the 1970s perfectly, where the world was drastically changing and a new normal was being established. The author also manages to perfectly convey that feeling of being on the cusp of adulthood. Being 14 you are starting to think a bit more independently and learning and growing as a person. This book is incredibly hopeful while also discussing some heavy topics.

Mary Jane definitely feels like the ultimate summer read or a perfect beach read. I genuinely couldn’t put this book down once I picked it and it just flies by. It has great storytelling and an incredible cast of characters. It does have a very open ending allowing the reader to really decide what could happen going forward for Mary Jane.

I definitely recommend checking out Mary Jane. If you are looking for the perfect summer read or just a new fresh book, this one doesn’t disappoint.

RATING: 4.5/5