Ask a Bookseller: 'Mary Jane' celebrates the music of the 1970s

Cover of 'Mary Jane'
"Mary Jane" by Jessica Anya Blau
Courtesy of Harper Collins Publishers

Lisa Baudoin shared a favorite title from her store, Books & Co., in Oconomowoc, Wis. It’s the novel “Mary Jane” by Jessica Anya Blau. The coming-of-age novel is set in the 1970s, and Baudoin says the book captures the feeling of that decade — especially the music. 

Fourteen-year-old Mary Jane has a respectable-looking summer job, babysitting for a family down the street. Little does her straight-laced family know, the doctor who employs Mary Jane to watch his daughter is a psychiatrist, and he’s taken in a famous rock star for the summer to counsel him through addiction.

“There's so much music and so much joy in this book, even though there's some difficult situations happening,” says Baudoin. “You get the sense that the author is really rooting for each character. And there's definitely a sense of that emerging space for mental health, passionate living and appreciating things around you.” 

Though the novel is set in Baltimore, Baudoin says there’s a scene in a record shop that had her picturing the Minneapolis record shop the Electric Fetus.  

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