Jessica Anya Blau’s novel “Mary Jane,” which is set in 1970s Baltimore, was chosen to be part of an annual road trip-inspired reading list by the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book.
Blau’s book centers on 14-year-old Mary Jane who, after taking a job as a babysitter for the daughter of a psychiatrist in Roland Park, is exposed to sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.
In an interview last year, Blau told Baltimore Fishbowl that she was inspired by the work of author Anne Tyler, whose novels are often set in Roland Park as well. Inspirations for two characters in “Mary Jane” – a rock star and his movie star wife – included Keith Richards, Donny and Marie Osmond, Sonny Bono and Cher, and Captain & Tennille.
Maryland Center for the Book at Maryland Humanities announced that “Mary Jane” was selected to be part of Route 1 Reads, a reading list coordinated by state affiliates of the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book. This year, the reading list’s genre is literary fiction.
Blau was born in Boston, grew up in Southern California, and now lives in New York.