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Young Jane Young: A Novel

Young Jane Young: A Novel

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Young Jane Young: A Novel

4/5 (89 evaluări)
320 pages
4 hours
Aug 22, 2017

Nota editorului

Beach reads…

This killer book about five women and the sex scandal that brings them all together is a perfect page-turner for the beach.


People (Book of the Week)

This is the story of five women . . .
Meet Rachel Grossman.
She’ll stop at nothing to protect her daughter, Aviva, even if it ends up costing her everything.
Meet Jane Young.
She’s disrupting a quiet life with her daughter, Ruby, to seek political office for the first time.
Meet Ruby Young.
She thinks her mom has a secret. She’s right.
Meet Embeth Levin.
She’s made a career of cleaning up her congressman husband’s messes. 
Meet Aviva Grossman.
The Internet won’t let her or anyone else forget her past transgressions. 
This is the story of five women . . .
. . . and the sex scandal that binds them together. 
From Gabrielle Zevin, the bestselling author of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, comes another story with unforgettable characters that is particularly suited to the times we live in now . . .
Aug 22, 2017

Despre autor

Gabrielle Zevin is a New York Times bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than thirty languages. Her eighth novel, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, spent more than four months on the New York Times Bestseller list, reached #1 on the National Indie Bestseller list, and has been a bestseller all around the world. She has also written books for children and young adults, including the award-winning Elsewhere.

Legat de Young Jane Young

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Young Jane Young - Gabrielle Zevin




The Hole We’re In

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry



Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac

All These Things I’ve Done

Because It Is My Blood

In the Age of Love and Chocolate

Young Jane Young

a novel

Gabrielle Zevin


I know

Not these my hands

And yet I think there was

A woman like me once had hands

Like these.































Author’s Note

Reader’s Guide

About the Author

About Algonquin


Bubbe Meise



My dear friend Roz Horowitz met her new husband online dating, and Roz is three years older and fifty pounds heavier than I am, and people have said that she is generally not as well preserved, and so I thought I would try it even though I avoid going online too much. Roz’s last husband died of colon cancer, and she deserves her happiness. Not that this new husband is anything special—his name is Tony and he used to be in the auto glass business in New Jersey. But Roz fixed him up and took him shopping for shirts at Bloomingdale’s, and now they’re taking all these classes at the JCC together—Conversational Spanish and Ballroom Dancing and Massage for Lovers and Creative Soap and Candle Making. I don’t particularly want a husband. They’re a lot of work, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone either, and it would be nice to have someone to go to classes with is what I’m saying. I thought online dating was for younger people, but Roz says it’s not. Even if it is, she says, Rachel, you’re younger now than you’ll ever be.

So I ask Roz if she has any advice and she says don’t put a picture that makes you look younger than you are. Everyone on the Internet lies, but ironically, the worst thing to do on the Internet is lie. And I say, Roz, my love, how exactly is that different from life?

The first man I meet is named Harold, and as a joke, I ask him if he always had that name because it seems like an old man name to me. But Harold doesn’t get the joke, and he gets huffy and says, "Haven’t you ever heard of Harold and the Purple Crayon? Harold is a child, Rachel." Anyway, this date goes nowhere.

The second man I meet is Andrew, and he has dirty fingernails so I can’t notice if he is nice or not. I can’t even eat my brown sugar and butter crêpes because, oy gevalt, I’m so distracted by these fingernails. I mean, what was he doing before he came on this date? Competitive gardening? Burying the last woman he dated? He says, Rachel Shapiro, you eat like a bird! I think about packing up the crêpes, but what’s the point? Crêpes don’t keep. Reheat them, and they end up eggy and rubbery, and even if you force them down, it’s a tragedy because you’re thinking of the crêpes they might have been and all that wasted potential.

Andrew calls me a few weeks later to ask me if I want to go on another date, and I very quickly say, No thank you. And he asks why. And I don’t want to tell him the thing about the dirty fingernails because it seems petty and maybe it is. My ex-husband was meticulous about his fingernails, and he still turned out to be a piece of garbage. While I’m thinking of what to say, he says, Well, I guess I have my answer. Don’t bother making up some lie.

And I say, Honestly, I think we lack chemistry, and at our ages—I’m sixty-four—it doesn’t make sense to waste time.

And he says, So you know, your picture makes you look ten years younger than you are. A parting blow.

I know this is the insult of the insulted, but I show Roz the picture anyway, just in case. I had thought of it as recent, but upon closer consideration, I determine it’s from the end of the second Bush administration. Roz says that I do look younger in it, but in a good way, not so much that it’s ridiculous. She says if I pick the right restaurant, with the right lighting, I’ll look exactly the same age as the photo. And I say that’s starting to sound like Blanche DuBois putting scarves on the lamps. Roz takes a new picture of me with her phone on my balcony, and that’s that.

The third man I meet is Louis, and he has very nice glasses with titanium arms. I like him immediately even though the first thing he says is, Wow, you’re prettier than your picture, which leaves me wondering if I’ve swung too much in the other direction with this whole picture foolishness. He’s a professor of Jewish-American literature at the University of Miami, and he tells me he ran marathons until his hip started bothering him and now he runs half marathons. He asks me if I work out, and I tell him yes, I teach Pilates for Seniors, as a matter of fact—maybe I could help with his flexors? He says, I bet you could, or something like that. Then, to establish we aren’t bimbos, we schmooze about books. I say I love Philip Roth, even though that’s probably a cliché for a woman of my background and my age. And he says, no, Philip Roth is wonderful. He once gave a public lecture about Philip Roth’s books and Philip Roth came to it and sat in the first row! Philip Roth sat through the whole thing, nodded occasionally, crossed and uncrossed and recrossed his long legs, and when it was over, he left without saying a word.

Did he like it? I ask. Was he offended?

Louis says he’ll never know and it’ll always be one of the great mysteries of his life.

I say, Philip Roth has long legs?

He says, Not as long as mine, Rach.

It’s a nice thing to flirt.

And then he asks me if I have any children. And I say, I have a daughter, Aviva. And he says, Aviva, that means springtime or innocence in Hebrew, what a beautiful name. And I say, I know, that’s why my ex-husband and I chose it. And he says, I haven’t known many Avivas, it’s not a very common name, just that girl who got into trouble with Congressman Levin. Do you remember that whole mishegoss?

Um, I say.

He says, It was a blight on South Florida, a blight on Jews, a blight on politicians if that’s even possible, a blight on civilization in general.

He says, Can you honestly not remember it? It was on the news every day here in 2001, until September eleventh happened and everyone forgot about her.

He says, I wish I could remember her last name. You really don’t remember her? Well, Rach, she was like Monica Lewinsky. The girl knew he was married and she seduced him. I guess she was drawn to the power or the limelight. Or maybe she was insecure. She was slutty and a bit zaftig—one of those such-a-pretty-face types—so it probably raised her self-esteem to attract a man like Levin. I can’t feel much sympathy for people like that. What the heck was her last name?

He says, "It’s a real shame. Levin’s been a solid congressman. He might have been the first Jewish president if not for that farkakte girl."

He says, You know who I feel sorry for? Her parents.

He says, I wonder whatever happened to that girl. I mean, who would ever hire her? Who would marry her?

He says, Grossman! Aviva Grossman! That’s it!

And I say, "That’s it."

I excuse myself to go to the ladies’ room, and when I come back, I tell the waiter to pack up the rest of my paella, which is very good and way too much for one person. Some restaurants skimp on the saffron, but not La Gamba. You can’t microwave paella but it will reheat on the stovetop very nicely. I say let’s go halfsies on the check, and Louis says he was planning to pay. But I insist. I only let a man pay for me if I’m planning to see him again. Roz says this is either feminism or the opposite of feminism, but I think it’s plain manners.

We walk to the parking lot, and he says, Did something happen back there? Did I say something wrong? I thought it was going very well until suddenly it wasn’t.

I say, I just don’t like you, and I get in my car.


I live in a three-bedroom condo on the beach. I can hear the ocean and everything’s the way I like it, which is the best thing about living alone. Even when you’re married to a doctor who’s gone most of the time, he’ll still feel like he should weigh in on the décor. And his opinions are, I think I’d prefer a bed that was more masculine and Definitely blackout curtains, you know my schedule and Sure it’s pretty, but won’t it get dirty? But now my couch is white, my curtains are white, my duvet is white, my countertops are white, my clothes are white, everything is white, and no, it doesn’t get dirty, I’m very careful. I bought near the bottom of the market—I have always been lucky in real estate, if nothing else—and the condo is worth three times what I paid for it. I could sell it and make a killing, but honestly, where would I go? You tell me where I would go!

Back when I was married and back when Aviva was young, we lived across town in a Tuscan-style minimansion in Forestgreen Country Club, which is a gated community. Now that I no longer live there, I can admit that the gates always troubled me—we lived in Boca Raton; who were we keeping out? People were always getting robbed in Forestgreen anyway. The gates seemed to attract thieves. Put up gates, people will think there’s something worth protecting. But Forestgreen’s where I met Roz, who has been my best friend through some times, let me tell you. And that’s where we met the Levins. The Levins moved in when Aviva was a freshman in high school, fourteen.

When we first knew him, Aaron Levin was a lowly state senator. His wife, Embeth, was the one who made the money—she worked as in-house counsel for a conglomerate of South Florida hospitals. Roz’s nickname for Aaron Levin was Jewish Superman or Jewperman. And honest to God, that’s what he looked like. He was six feet two inches tall in New Balances, with black curly hair and blue-green eyes and a big, kind, dopey smile. The man could wear a dress shirt. He’d gone to Annapolis and served in the navy, and he had the shoulders to show for it. He was a few years younger than Roz and me, but he was not so young that Roz didn’t like to joke that one of us should try to sleep with him.

The wife, Embeth, always looked unhappy. She was thin from the waist up but frumpy on the bottom—thick calves and hips, puffy knees. How the woman must have suffered to keep her brown curly hair in that straight blond bob. Roz used to say, "In this humidity, oy vey iz mir, maintaining a hairstyle like that is nothing short of madness."

For the record, I tried to make friends with Embeth, but she wasn’t interested. (It wasn’t just me, because Roz also tried.) Mike and I had them over for dinner twice. The first time, I made beef brisket, which takes all day. Even with the AC blasting, I was shvitzing on my Donna Karan open-shouldered dress. The second time, I made maple-glazed salmon. No big deal. Marinate for fifteen minutes, thirty in the oven, and done. Embeth never reciprocated. I can take a hint. Then when Aviva was a junior in high school, Aaron Levin ran for Congress, and they moved to Miami, and I thought I’d never see or hear from them again. You have a lot of neighbors in a lifetime and only a few of them turn out to be Roz Horowitzes.

But it’s not Roz I’ve been brooding about all day, it’s the Levins, and I’m still thinking about them when the phone rings. It’s the history teacher from the public school, wanting to know if I’m Esther Shapiro’s daughter. She has been trying to reach Mom to see if she will be able to be a speaker for Survivor Day at the high school, and Mom’s not been answering her texts or her phone. I explain to her that Mom had a fairly devastating stroke about six months ago. So, no, Esther Shapiro will not be able to attend Survivor Day. They will have to find other survivors this year.

The history teacher starts to cry—annoying, indulgent—and says it is harder and harder to find enough survivors, even here in Boca Raton, which is, roughly, 92 percent Jewish, the most Jewish place on earth aside from Israel itself. Twenty years ago, when she first started doing Survivor Day, it was easy, she says, but now, who’s left? Maybe you survive cancer, maybe you survive the Holocaust, but life’ll get you every time.

That afternoon, I visit Mom at the nursing home, which smells like a combination of a school cafeteria and death. Mom’s hand is limp and her face has collapsed on the left side. I mean, why mince words? She looks strokey.

I tell her that the indulgent schoolteacher was asking about her, and Mom tries to say something but it comes out as vowels and no consonants and maybe I’m a bad daughter, but I don’t understand. I tell her that I almost had a very good date until the man, out of the blue, insulted Aviva. And Mom makes a face that is inscrutable. And I say, I miss Aviva. I only say this because I know Mom can’t say anything back.

As I’m leaving the nursing home, Mom’s younger sister, Mimmy, arrives. Mimmy is the happiest person I’ve ever known, but she isn’t always trustworthy. Maybe this is unfair. Maybe it isn’t that Mimmy isn’t trustworthy but that I don’t trust happy people or happiness in general. Mimmy wraps her big, flappy wings around me. (When we were kids, my brother and I called arms like these Hadassah arms.) Mimmy says that Mom has been asking about Aviva.

How precisely was she doing that, Mimmy? I ask. Mom can’t say anything.

She said her name. She said UH-VEE-VUH, Mimmy insists.

Three whole syllables? I highly doubt that. Besides which, everything Mom says sounds like ‘Aviva.’

Mimmy says she doesn’t want to argue with me, because we need to start making plans for Mom’s eighty-fifth birthday party. Mimmy isn’t sure if we should have the party here, at the home that is not her home, or if Mom will be well enough to travel. Obviously, Mimmy thinks it would be better to have the party somewhere else, somewhere more scenic—the Boca Raton Museum of Art or that nice brunch place in Mizner Park or my apartment. Your apartment is gorgeous, Mimmy says.

I say, Aunt Mimmy, do you think Mom would even want a party?

Mimmy says, There is no one on earth who loves parties more than your mother.

I wonder if Mimmy and I are speaking of the same woman. Once, I asked my mother if she and Daddy had been happy. He was a good provider. He was good to you and your brother. Happy? my mother said. What’s that? This is to say, I am reminded for the millionth time that it is a very different thing to be a woman’s sister than it is to be her daughter.

I say, Mimmy, is it really the right time for a party?

Mimmy looks at me as if I am the most pitiable person she has ever met. Rachel Shapiro, she says, it’s always the right time for a party.


Sometime before my marriage ended, Mike and I drove down to the University of Miami to have dinner with Aviva, who said she had an announcement for us. At long last and a few semesters behind schedule, she had decided on a major: Spanish literature and political science.

Mike said that sounded impressive, but he was always such a softie where Aviva was concerned. I was the one who had to ask her what she was planning to do with a degree like that, which sounded like a whole lotta nada. I had visions of my daughter living in her childhood room forever.

Aviva said, I’m going into politics. The Spanish literature, she explained, was because she noticed that everyone who won elections in our part of the country spoke Spanish fluently. The political science, she felt, was obvious.

Politics is a dirty business, Mike said.

I know, Daddy, Aviva said, kissing him on the cheek. Then she asked Mike if he was still in contact with Congressman Levin. Though it had been a while since we had lived next door to the Levins, Mike had performed heart surgery on the congressman’s mother about a year earlier. Aviva hoped this connection would help her to land an entry level job or an internship.

Mike said he would give the congressman a call the next day, which he did. Where Aviva was concerned, Mike was more than reliable. She was daddy’s little girl. I find the term Jewish-American princess offensive, but if the tiara fits. At any rate, Mike talked to Levin and Levin gave Mike the name of someone in his office, and Aviva went to work for the congressman.

In those days, I was vice principal at the Boca Raton Jewish Academy, which serves students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. I had held this position for the last ten years, and one of the reasons I had not driven down to Miami to see Aviva much that fall was because my boss, Principal Fischer, had been caught shtupping a senior girl. The girl was eighteen years old, but still . . . A grown man and an educator should know how to keep his schlong in his pants. Eli Fischer was foolishly determined to keep his job and wanted me to advocate on his behalf with our board. "You know me, Fischer said. Please, Rachel."

I did know him, which is why I told the board that Fischer should be fired immediately. While they searched for a replacement, I became the principal of BRJA, the first woman ever to hold that post, for what such distinctions are worth.

When Fischer returned to pack up his desk, I brought him a black-and-white cookie. It was a peace offering but also an excuse to see how the packing was going. I wanted him out of what was to become my office. He opened the white wax paper bag, and he flung the black-and-white cookie at my head, like a Frisbee. Judas! he yelled. I dodged just in time. The cookie was from King’s—six inches in diameter with an almost petit-four-like consistency. What a stupid man.

By the time I saw Aviva at Thanksgiving, she had lost some weight, but she was otherwise rosy and happy, so all I could think was that the employment was doing her good. Maybe Aviva has found her calling, I thought. Maybe politics is her calling? I entertained a fantasy of myself at her inauguration for some office, dabbing my eyes with a red, white, and blue silk Hermès handkerchief. Aviva was always a girl with smarts and energy, but it often went in many directions, like sun rays or a bag of marbles dropped on the floor—maybe this is just youth, though? I asked her, So you like working with the congressman?

Aviva laughed. I don’t work with him directly, not really.

What do you do, then?

It’s boring, she said.

Not to me! Your first real job!

I don’t get paid, she said. So it’s not a real job.

Still, this is exciting stuff, I said. Tell me, my daughter. What do you do?

I get the bagels, she said.

Okay, what else?

They send me to Kinko’s.

"But what are you learning?" I said.

How to photocopy double-sided, she said. How to make coffee.

Aviva, come on, give me one good story to take back to Roz.

I didn’t take this job so you’d have stories for Roz Horowitz.

Something about the congressman.

Mom, she said impatiently. There’s nothing to tell. The congressman’s in D.C. I mainly work with the campaign staff. Everything’s raising money and everyone hates raising money, but they believe in what they’re doing and they believe in the congressman, and I guess that makes it all right.

So you like it?

She took a deep breath. Mommy, she said, I’m in love.

For a second, I thought we were still talking about the job, that she was saying she was in love with politics. I realized that we weren’t.

It’s early, she said. But I think I love him. I do.

Who is he? I asked.

She shook her head. He’s handsome. He’s Jewish. I don’t want to say too much.

Did you meet him at school?

I don’t want to say too much.

Okay, I said. Well, tell me one thing. Does he love you, too?

Aviva flushed prettily, like when she was a baby and had a fever. Maybe.

She wasn’t saying something. It is probably obvious what she wasn’t saying, but it didn’t occur to me. She was only twenty years old, just a kid, a good girl. I didn’t believe that my Aviva could get herself mixed

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  • (3/5)
    Pretty good story. I thought "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry" was more interesting.
  • (4/5)
    At once reminiscent and referencing of the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal, Young Jane Young is the story of an intern who has an affair with a Congressman and what happens when the affair becomes public knowledge. The story is told from differing viewpoints, most hilariously that of Jane’s mother Rachel. The narratives are from differing points in time– before, during and after the affair, and they are not linear, and yet this telling works surprisingly well.

    The tone of the novel is fairly light, reminiscent of "Bridget’s Jones’ Diary" and "The Rosie Effect", and the fourth wall is breached when the reader is asked “What Would You Do” type questions, with multiple answers provided. The answer that is the one that the characters choose is, of course, never the correct one, the one that we, the all knowing reader would have chosen. Choices are a big theme in this novel, and some readers may find themselves exasperated by the poor choices made in the story, but without poor choices/mistakes, there would be no learning, no consequences and definitely, no story! So if you have always made the right choice, never led with your heart instead of your head, never taken a risk, well this novel may frustrate and annoy you. For the rest of us, this is a fun, easy, read with memorable characters, a few surprises, some insights and many laughs.
  • (3/5)
    I was sent this book from the publisher. My ratings and reviews will be my own personal opinions and are in no way influenced by publishers or authors who may have sent me books to review. I was not really sure if this was going to be for me, but I had heard great things about it. I ended up really enjoying this one. I actually listened to it on audiobook which I really loved as well.This story is told in five different parts. I actually enjoyed all five parts. Each section is told from a different persons POV, but all of the characters are connected. The story flows well from part to part. I was not sure if I was going to like this format, but it really worked.Part five is like a pick your own adventure novel, and I liked that. I wish it was really like that though. However; I still found myself picking my own option which normally followed the flow of what the author was going to pick anyway. I think this was a fun twist to the story.I am taking off one star for that ending. I feel the story ended with so many more questions.
  • (4/5)
    Read in one snowy day--a page-turner. Story is told from several women's point of view, which works well.
  • (5/5)
    Loved this hilarious yet serious novel. It has a great message for young women maturing in times like these. Highly recommended for substance, great characters and great fun.
  • (4/5)
    Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for the ARC. What a fun read! Read in a day, while I laughed out loud!
    The main characters are witty and spunky, all the way down to the youngest who is in middle school. It was easy to connect with each character quickly also. This will be a great beach read! Haven't been disappointed by this author yet! Thanks Gabrielle Zevin!
  • (5/5)
    I don't like the cover, but I absolutely loved this heartwarming and heartbreaking story! This was so refreshing read, fast moving and interesting to read the plot from 4 characters view point, still connected and story goes on, the characters were nicely built with suspense elements and interesting details. I enjoy G.Zevin's story telling. I am so glad it was not even a tiny bit cheap story and stereotyped in some way, sad it hasn't made through the final of Goodreads nominee vote for the last round and I had to check double have I missed it.. It touched several topics including politics, society norms and it's own absurd, smart and strong woman, friendship and mentions Jewish community more than once.It is a story about how to find your own way to live and think you are doing the best when you have done the worst, made mistakes and when everyone around you is leaving you and don't care about you at all. My heart was breaking for Aviva's mother and the pain she was going through as well, how she faced the classic backstabbing from those the most dear to her. However, I did wonder did Aviva knew about them at the time when being in college...My favorite parts of the book were told by Rachel, Jane and Embeth view point. The book made me lough at times and cry at the end. Embeth is wife to the politician who was the one who did cheat, and there she is, still together with this man who goes into campaign again and being more than 10 years in politics you don't even need to prepare a speech, you can just go and say whatever you have told over and over again and everyone will be happy as long as you keep a joke here and there. I found her character warming and ready to put up with the public nonsense.
  • (4/5)
    Lots of stuff to like in this book, including a visit to the Jewish community in Southern Florida.
  • (3/5)
    Good quick read from the author of "The Storied Life of A. J Fikry". Story of a sex-scandal and its aftermath is told from the perspectives of several women.
  • (5/5)
    I picked this book up on a whim, mostly because the title struck me and I liked the cover. (Could I find a more stupid reason to choose a book? Not that I mind!)
    Anyway, I could NOT put this one down!!! I'm so totally going to be checking out more of Gabrielle Zevin's work, because I LOVE the way she wrote this book!!!
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this book and the narrator! The beginning and ending was good however the middle was a bit slow and boring.
  • (4/5)
    A fun and well-written book, a fast read that is breezy but focuses on a serious topic. I liked it, and it's impressively done. She's a very talented writer.I must be quirky, however, because the part most people liked -- the succession of narrators -- was my least favorite. The problem for me was that the first narrator, Rachel Shapiro, was so wonderful that I felt cheated when the story moved onto the others, who lacked plausibility in comparison. I also found it annoying that part of the book was in email format, and that's the part narrated by the least realistic character.But it's a good story, by a sure-handed, talented author, and easy to recommend.
  • (3/5)
    A young congressional intern has an affair with her married boss, and her life is tainted forever. How she deals with it is the subject of this book, narrated by herself, her mother, her daughter, and the congressman's wife. It's an odd mishmash - a couple of sections seem to be played mainly for laughs, and the parts narrated by daughter Ruby and the wronged wife (Embeth) are particularly weak (an imaginary parrot - really?). I didn't find much to recommend in this fluffy concoction.
  • (4/5)
    As a student intern, Aviva Grossman had an affair with her married boss, the local congressman. When it was discovered, she was shamed and laughed at, left with no prospects. She has changed her name and moved to Maine, where she lives with her daughter and runs an event planning business. But since she posted her experiences online, she can never completely leave her past behind.
  • (4/5)
    The reason I gave this book only 3 1/2 stars is because I listened to the audio version of this book. The format of the book does not work well as an audio. Zevin uses an email thread for a good portion of the book and the reader had to read the to, from, date and subject line each time. At one point I counted the reader saying the word "Re:" 16 times!! If I had read the book I would have been able to skip the headers and go to the body of the email. Also the use of "choose your own ending" also grew quite tiresome when being read aloud. With that being said I enjoyed the book and the subject matter. Zevin made excellent points on how a young life can be so changed when making some immature choices. It also drove home the point of one party getting more blame than the other although both were consenting adults and one definitely should have known better.
  • (4/5)
    By the way, I never mention her weight because I don't want her to end up with a complex. I was overweight when I was her age, and my mother discussed it exhaustively. And yes, as a result, I would say I am the proud owner of several complexes. But who isn't? When you think about it, isn't a person just a structure built in reaction to the landscape and the weather?Young Jane Young tells the story of Aviva, a young woman interested in a career in politics who interns for the re-election campaign of a congressman. The congressman is charismatic and friendly, Aviva is insecure and determined to change her life. When their relationship is discovered, Aviva is the one to take the fall, while the congressman is able to continue his life as usual. This book reminded me of Where'd You Go, Bernadette? in its tone and structure, but with less obvious humor and a warmer heart. The narrator shifts between Aviva, her mother, her daughter and the congressman's wife, and the changes in perspective give the book a wider view of what happened and how Aviva managed to rebuild her life. Despite the extreme relevance of the novel's subject matter, Gabrielle Zevin manages to both build nuance and to keep the tone from becoming too somber or angry.
  • (4/5)
    Told from three points of view, this novel centers around Aviva/Jane, who was involved in a very public scandal with the congressman for whom she was interning in her early twenties. We learn about her from her mother, her daughter, and herself. Now, 13 years later, she has settled in Maine under a new name with her daughter Ruby, and absolutely no contact with her former life. She is content with her event planning business, and has become such a part of her community that she is running for mayor. When Ruby learns of her mother's past in Florida, she sets off to meet the congressman, whom she assumes is her father. The characters in this book are delightfully drawn, enriched by the three different vantage points of three women we come to know and like quite well. With one exception the secondary characters are also endearing, warts and all. Although this is the story of people doing some really stupid things, readers will still end up feeling an affirmation of goodness.
  • (4/5)
    I loved the previous book by Ms Zevin, The Storied Life of AJ. Fikry, and I was not disappointed in this book.The. Story begins in Miami where Rachel has been convinced by her friend to try internet dating. Rachel is 64 and divorced. One of her dates mentions a political scandal that rocked South Florida politics. Congressman Levin and Aviva Grossman. Too close for comfort for Rachel, Aviva is her daughter who moved out of her life some 12 years ago leaving mother and the scandal behind.Fast forward to Jane Young , an event planner in the small town of Allison Springs, Maine. Jane has a 12 year old daughter , Ruby, and a past unknown to her life in Maine. Moving back to Miami , the story is picked up by Ruby, and then by the wayward Congressman's wife. Full of humor and life and plans that change , a good story . Read as a NetGalley.
  • (5/5)
    An extraordinary look into the lives of three generations of women, Young Jane Young deftly captures the singular voices of Jane, her wealthy divorcee mother, Jane's precocious pre-teen daughter, and the wife of Jane's lover. Her brief affair with an up-and-coming politician devastates her life to the extent that she must reinvent herself with a new name in another state. And there she eventually thrives, as a respected businesswoman and caring mother. So respected, in fact, that Jane is encouraged to run for mayor of her small town. But her past begins to threaten her political aspirations and suddenly, her daughter Ruby sees her mother in a whole new light. Told through multiple perspectives using different literary forms (for example, Ruby's chapters are emails to her pen pal), Young Jane Young is a rich and revealing look at sex and politics and the unequal way the media treats women in the face of scandal, especially in this internet age. Parallels to Monica Lewinsky notwithstanding, readers will find themselves swept up in a story where no one is completely innocent or guilty, just painfully human. Fans of Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry are in for another treat. Lovingly crafted and written with insight, Young Jane Young is social commentary with a humorous bite.
  • (4/5)
    I adored Gabrielle Zevin's previous book, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry and was eager to read her just released novel, Young Jane Young.We meet sixty four year old Rachel in the the opening chapters as she tries out online dating. I loved her sassy voice and dry sense of humour and found myself chuckling over her thoughts and comments. Her chapter then segues into the life of the next main character - her daughter Aviva. Aviva is working for a congressman - and crosses a line, having an affair with the married man. Her life goes off the rails from the fallout of this decision, until she decides to start over with a new name - Jane. She relocates in another state - and daughter Ruby is born. Jane's chapter segues into Ruby's. And the inevitable fate that awaits all three. The last viewpoint is that of the congressman's wife Embeth.What a rich and varied story this was! Young Jane Young was an unexpected, unpredictable and yet very satisfying read. This one event effects all four leads in so many ways and their various outlooks, reactions and responses are dependent on each individual's age, experience and life philosophy. I loved each voice and was hard pressed to have a favourite. But, if forced to pick, I would have to say that I enjoyed Ruby the most. Her letters to her penpal are the basis for a lot of what she is feeling and doing and a lot of it is heartbreaking. I loved the insertion of epistolary elements. Zevin employs this for Aviva/Jane as well. We are privy to her journal, written in a Choose Your Own Adventure style. Choices are given and we see how and why her life took the path it did."The rub of the Choose Your Own Adventure stories is that if you don't make a few bad choices, the story will be terribly boring. If you do everything right and you're always good, the story will be very short."Mother, daughters, friends, the path taken and not taken. The echoes of a choice made, the denial and acceptance that we can't change what has been done - only move forward.Zevin's writing is wry, witty and peppered with truths.
  • (5/5)
    Young Aviva Grossman gets in way over her head when she has an affair with a married congressman. After the relationship goes public, she finds that she can't get a job, or a date, so she does what any thinking woman would do: she reinvents herself by moving away, changing her name, and embarking upon new career, one inspired by a Jennifer Lopez movie.Young Jane Young offers an enjoyable twist on the past twenty or so years of political sex scandals. Each section is told by a different character; the cutesy selection of Jane's precocious daughter's emails to an Indonesian pen pal is the only part I could have done without. All in all, this novel is a quick, entertaining read.
  • (4/5)
    I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.The Goodreads blurb pretty much describes the whole plot, although thankfully I hadn't read it. The narrative is told from the perspectives of Aviva, the intern who has a sexual relationship with Congressman Levin; Rachel, Aviva's mother; Embeth, Levin's wife; and Ruby, Aviva's daughter, who has known her mother only as Jane. The various narrative voices are different from one another and I particularly enjoyed Ruby, despite the fact that I found her 9/10 year old voice unconvincingly mature and her 13 year old voice rather immature. All the women, and that includes Rachel's mother and her friend Roz, shared a very dry humour. If I had to criticize, I would say that the author didn't make me see what Aviva got out of her relationship with the Congressman - it was described in the "Make Your Own Adventure" format, which worked well, but which was presented in retrospect, once Aviva/Jane had brought a more mature perspective on things. The section from Embeth's point of view was very funny, but the El Mate elements confused me - were they a symptom of her cancer? The perspective I enjoyed least was that of Rachel - the light tone seemed inappropriate for, e.g. the moment she sees her daughter and Levin exit a room and realizes the affair is continuing.Overall recommended, with many strong female characters, although (now I think of it) men come out of it uniformly badly, from Rachel's husband to the Rabbi to Levin to Wes to Jorge.
  • (4/5)
    I felt such sorrow for both the mother and the daughter in this highly entertaining book. A mother who was part of a nationwide scandal, who in MHO was sent to the called out and sent to the guillotine even though she was not the only person engaged in this scandal. However, that does seem to be real life. And, a daughter dealing with her mother's (hidden to her) past as it involves her and her beginnings.I sped through this book, an enjoyable, entertaining and sometime irritable (some characters and the pointed fingers) story. I also think this would make a great YA, which it may already be, but I enjoyed it and read it as an adult book.Thanks to Algonquin Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
  • (3/5)
    So much more could have happened. it left me blah
  • (5/5)
    Awesome: great characters. Hangs together beautifully. Couldn’t put it down!
  • (5/5)
    It was hard to put this book down, I loved this book. The characters were easily relatable & the overall theme is extremely relevant.
  • (4/5)
    A special thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.Heavily influenced by the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Zevin tackles slut-shaming in her newest book Young Jane Young and it is glorious! She examines the double standards, sex scandals, and misogyny that resides not only in politics, but in life. Women everywhere face these issues and are often silenced from the shame, and the threat of losing everything they have worked so hard for. Before becoming Jane Young the wedding planner, Aviva Grossman was an ambitious, bright intern with the congressman's office. Aviva has an affair with her boss, the congressman himself, and blogs about it. True to life, when the affair is made public, it is Grossman that goes down while the beloved congressman carries on. Aviva becomes the punchline and butt of many jokes—she is labelled as fat, ugly, and a slut. She is not employable or dateable and sees no other way out that to change her identity and move away to a remote town in Maine. On top of running her own event planning business, Jane is also navigating being a single mother to Ruby. Even though she has started her life over, politics doesn't seem to be out of her system and she decides to run for office. Unfortunately for Jane, the past catches up with her (the internet is forever) and it is only a matter of time before Ruby discovers who her mother really is/was. Ruby is the vehicle through which Jane must face not only her past, but Aviva herself. Told through the voices of Aviva/Jane, Aviva's mother Rachel, Ruby, and Embeth Levin (the congressman's wife), we hear all sides of the story. Zevin's characters are not without flaws. In fact, it is these flaws that drive the story forward and this type of narrative is the perfect vehicle to accomplish this. She effortlessly moves from past to present without confusion. Her writing is witty, fresh, and thought provoking.
  • (4/5)
    Young Aviva Grossman is a congressional intern who makes the mistake of having an affair with the married congressman she works for. The affair comes to light, she is slut-shamed, and sees no solution but to change her name, move to Maine, and raise her daughter quietly in a small town. When she decides to run for local public office, Jane/Aviva learns that the past is never completely erased in the digital age. And she must reckon with her daughter who is now old enough to seek answers about her mother’s past and her father’s identity.
  • (5/5)
    Most of my favorite comedians are Jewish. They are uniformly funny – always in different ways – and they excel in self-deprecation. Larry David, Fran Leibowitz, Jerry Seinfeld, Lewis Black, and countless others drive me to tears of laughter every time. Gabrielle Zevin continues this tradition with her latest novel, Young Jane Young. I enjoyed The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, and YJY has provided me with loads of fun. Zevin's first novel, ,Elsewhere was published in 2005. It was nominated for a 2006 Quill award, and she won the Border’s Original Voices Award and was a selection of the Barnes and Noble Book Club. The novel has been translated into over twenty languages. In 2007 Zevin was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay for Conversations with Other Women which starred Helena Bonham Carter. In 2014, her eighth novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, debuted on The New York Times Best Seller List.Young Jane Young is the story of Rachel Shapiro who has daughter, Aviva, who aspires to a career in politics. She becomes involved with a candidate running for Congress in Florida and becomes pregnant and runs away to Maine. She changes her name to Jane Young, and becomes an event planner – mostly weddings – in a small town. Her daughter is named Ruby. Rachel divorces Mike. Her good friend, Roz, encourages her to do some online dating. Zevin writes, “I don’t particularly want a husband. They’re a lot of work, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone either, and it would be nice to have someone to go to classes with is what I’m saying. I thought online dating was for young people, but Roz says, it’s not. ‘Even if it is,’ she says, ‘Rachel, you’re younger now than you’ll ever be’” (3-4).Aviva keeps the secret of her pregnancy, but, “It did not help Aviva’s cause that she had kept a blog, detailing her months working for the congressman. The year was 2000, and I did not even know what a blog was when I found out that Aviva had been keeping one. ‘Blog?’ I said to Aviva. The word felt foreign on my tongue. ‘What’s that?’ // ‘It’s short for weblog, Mom,’ Aviva said. // ‘Weblog,’ I repeated. ‘What’s a weblog?’ // ‘It’s like a diary,’ Aviva said. ‘It’s a diary that you keep on the Internet.’ // ‘Why would anyone do that?’ I asked. ‘Why would you do that?’ // It was anonymous. I never used names. Until everything happened, I had about three readers. I was trying to make sense of my experiences by writing about them.’ She said. // ‘Then buy a diary, Aviva!’ // I like typing,’ she said. ‘And I hate my handwriting’” (55).Aviva changes her to Jane and she picks up the story. By this time, Ruby is thirteen, and she becomes curious about her father. Jane gives her a fictitious name, Mariano Donatello. Ruby is suspicious, and she begins an internet search. She finally stumbles on the old weblog her mother kept. She becomes outraged at the deception of her mother. Jane decided to run for mayor of the town, and Ruby sets out to torpedo her candidacy.Lots of fun Yiddish words are used, and I knew a few from my high school days working in a pharmacy owned by a Jewish couple. That may be the seed to my blooming interest in Jewish comedians. Nonetheless, Gabrielle Zevin’s fourth adult novel, Young Jane Young is a fun read for every YA reader and above. 5 stars --Jim, 11/26/2017
  • (5/5)
    Young Jane YoungByGabrielle Zevin What it's all about...This book is about a young girl who fell in love with an older man who just happened to be a politician. This young girl had the idea that writing a blog about this relationship would help her. Although this young girl never named names she became famous for her posts. The fame, however, was not the kind of fame that anyone would want. This young girl eventually changed her name and moved far far away from Florida to the pine tree state...Maine. She had a daughter, reestablished her life and eventually ran for mayor of her small town. Her daughter was very clever and unique and eventually had issues with what her mother did. The question is...did they eventually live happily ever after? Hmmmm.Why I wanted to read it...I loved this author’s first book. It was beautiful. What made me truly enjoy this book...I loved this book because it is unique and very clever. The writing is just so good and the kind of writing I love in a book. Why you should read it, too...Readers who love cleverly written books with a beautiful storyline should enjoy and delight in this book. I loved it! I received an advance reader’s copy from Algonquin Books through NetGalley and Amazon in exchange for an honest review.