Online Reading Challenge – June Wrap-Up

Hello Fellow Challenge Readers!

How did your reading go this month? Did you read something set in the 1970s that you enjoyed? Share in the comments!

I had already read our main title, Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina, previously for a different book club, so I decided to read Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau.

Mary Jane is beyond ready to have a summer job. It’s 1970s Baltimore and her parents are strict. She spends her time cooking meals with her mother, attending church and singing in the church choir, and listening to records from the Broadway Show Tunes of the Month club to which her family subscribes. Her parents have decided that she can work as a nanny for the local doctor. She will spend her summer looking after their daughter – her mother says it’s respectable, which means a lot coming from her.

The moment Mary Jane steps foot inside the house, she knows her mother would be scandalized. The house may look respectable on the outside, but the inside is a mess. Clutter spills over every surface, stickers adorn the walls, and food is a free-for-all. The doctor isn’t even a traditional doctor – he’s a psychiatrist whose only patient for the entire summer is a famous rock star attempting to dry out from his addictions. Her mother would be scandalized and to be honest, Mary Jane is shocked as well.

Mary Jane spends her summer being exposed to ideas, music, books, and culture that her parents would not approve of. She brings order, a consistent food schedule, clean clothes, and so much else to the house while they expand her worldview. The closer the end of the summer gets, the more Mary Jane realizes that there is more to her world than the life her parents have carved out for her. Her future is wider than she ever thought possible.

Set in 1970s Baltimore, Jessica Anya Blau has created a riveting coming-of-age story highlighting a fourteen-year-old girl’s summer stuck between her strict family and the progressive family she nannies for. This book gave me strong Daisy Jones and the Six vibes. It was adorable, funny, and gently heart-breaking to watch Mary Jane grow over the summer. Her journey outside her parents’ strict house was liberating. Readers get to see Mary Jane grow more confident throughout the summer as she is exposed to things she never knew existed before.

What did you read, watch, or listen to that was set in the 1970s? Did you enjoy it?

Next month, we are traveling to the 1980s.

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