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Jessica Anya Blau Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Summer of Naked Swim Parties (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Drinking Closer to Home (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wonder Bread Summer (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Trouble with Lexie (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mary Jane (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Unexpected Spy (With: Tracy Walder) (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Love and Death with the In Crowd (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Beautiful Anthology(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Jessica Anya Blau is a bestselling literary fiction author from the United States. The author was born in Boston but spent most of her childhood in Southern California. She went to the University of California, Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University and got her masters from the latter.

Her novels have been featured on Oprah Summer Reads, The Today Show, Parade, Good Morning America, Time Out, CNN, Bust, NPR, Country Living, Cosmo, In Style and Vanity Fair among many other national publications.

She has written essays and short stories that have been published in anthologies, journals and magazines over the years. Besides her novel writing endeavors, she is a script writer and for a time taught at “The Fashion Institute of Technology” and at Johns Hopkins University.

Several of her novels have been optioned for television and film. Jessica currently makes her home in New York from where she writes her novels.

Growing up in Southern California, Jessica Anya Blau never thought she would grow up to become a novelist. She had always been a reader but much of her writing had to do with keeping a journal. She was constantly looking at people, at her life and everything, which she would then pen down.

When she moved to Canada during the 1990s and her then husband was denied a work permit and she could not go to school, she started writing almost every day. It was something that she did without thinking but since it made her feel very productive, she was happy.

The first thing she ever published was a short story she thought was not too shabby. Still, she was not so sure anybody would have wanted to read it and was surprised when the magazine she had submitted to published it. It was at this time that she applied for her masters in fiction writing at Johns Hopkins University.

She gets much of her inspiration from people and everyday life given that people and the world are often very strange.

Jessica Anya Blau studied French at the University of California, Berkeley but only minored in creative writing. It was in her undergraduate class that she first read “Rebecca,” which she never liked though it soon grew on her.

However, these were basic lessons and it was not until she was at Johns Hopkins that she studied writing seriously. Still, her time at Berkeley was awesome as it was an opinionated, expressive and intense place that she found expansive and liberating.

As for her literary influences, she cites Nick Hornby and Anne Tyler even though she can read almost anything except for science fiction. As for genres, her favorites are literary fiction, memoirs and nonfiction works.

“Mary Jane” by Jessica Anya Blau is a novel set in the 1970s, where the lead is a fourteen year old who loves singing in the church choir and cooking with her mother. She is a bookish, quiet and shy girl who is over the moon when she lands a summer job taking care of the daughter of a local doctor.

But even though the doctor’s house has a respectable exterior, it is a figurative and literal mess on the inside. There is clutter on every surface as takeout for dinner and breakfast bowls half full with cereal are left out and bumper stickers cover the doors.

Even more worrying, the psychiatrist has cleared his summer schedule so that he can help a popular rock star get back on his feet. A week after her arrival, the rock star moves into the house alongside his Hollywood star wife.

Over the summer in which she works at the house, she introduces the household to a family dinner schedule and crisply ironed clothes. She also gets to enjoy a front row view of a liberal world of rock and roll, drugs and sex. She is caught between the future she now realizes is possible and the lifestyle she has known for years.

“Drinking Closer to Home” by Jessica Anya Blau tells the story of a family in crisis after the matriarch is struck by a crippling heart attack. Louise and Buzzy are her two troubled children who often visit their parents’ hippie ranch in Santa Barbara for the sunny days.

Emery, Portia and Anna recall the series of events that resulted in a very restless current state of events. Emery and Alejandro, his partner, hesitate when asking their sister to donate eggs so that they can finally have a child.

Over the course of a week, everyone has to confront uncomfortable details about the personal lives of their parents as well as their childhood wounds and the people they once were.

Jessica Anya writes oftentimes heartbreaking, relatable and sometimes funny anecdotes. She perfectly describes how the entire family visits Louise, which is quite a traumatic experience for almost everyone.

They just cannot deal with the fact that their mother now has to live in a stinking, beeping room when she used to be such a sprightly and energetic woman.

Jessica Anya Blau’s novel “The Summer of Naked Swim Parties” is a novel set in the summer of 1976. The lead is a 14 year old girl living in California who has the usual extreme sadness and happiness of someone her age. Her elder sister does not like that she has developed so fast leaving her far behind.
Renee also does not like the fact of having hippy parents that throw wild swim parties, complete with pot, booze and naked adults. Jamie is often fearful, embarrassed and confused.

She is afraid of death, earthquakes, poisonous snakes, fires, broken glass and worst of all that the police could come barging in and find her parents smoking pot or swimming naked. Despite their complaints, their mother never wears a bra and usually cooks with only shorts and an apron.

At the beginning of the summer while her sister and parents are away, Jamei has her friends come to stay with her in the house. They order pizza and have a party with three college boys they met at the pizza parlor.

While they will never see the college boys again, they have been introduced to exciting things and are now ready to meet the world on different terms and put away all childish things.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jessica Anya Blau

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