Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Heather Young

After a decade practicing law and another raising kids, Heather Young decided to finally write the novel she’d always talked about writing. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop and the Tin House Writers Workshop, all of which helped her stop writing like a lawyer. She lives in Mill Valley, California, with her husband and two teenaged children. When she’s not writing she’s biking, hiking, neglecting potted plants, and reading books by other people that she wishes she’d written.

Young's debut novel is The Lost Girls.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I love multigenerational stories about families, especially when they explore the relationships among mothers, daughters, and sisters. This year has offered a feast of them! Some of my favorites so far:

Modern Girls, by Jennifer S. Brown

This is a rich and often wrenching tale of two women living in the Jewish immigrant community of New York's lower East Side in 1935 whose unwanted pregnancies expose exactly how far they are from being "modern girls." Rose, the mother of five, is ready to leave childbearing behind and return to the political activism of her youth when she feels the familiar nausea once again. Her daughter Dottie, gifted with a head for numbers, has just been promoted to head bookkeeper when a single night of passion narrows her world in an instant. Modern Girls vividly realizes the crowded, striving conclave of New York’s Jewish immigrants in the 1930s, and never flinches in describing the difficult decisions these two women face. It’s a moving and thought-provoking read.

June, by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

This split-narrative novel from the author of Bittersweet weaves the story of a doomed 1955 love affair between a dashing movie star and June, a local girl in a small Ohio town, and that of June’s granddaughter, who suddenly inherits June’s decaying home and the movie star’s entire fortune. When the movie star’s two Hollywood A-list daughters show up demanding a DNA test, the three “sisters” comb through June’s belongings in search of the truth. Told partly from the point of view of the lonely, sentient house itself, it’s a tale of heartbreak and the redemptive power of family that’s full of unexpected twists and reveals.

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

In her second book, The Language of Flowers author Vanessa Diffenbaugh describes with empathy and honesty the complicated love that binds a young unwed mother and the two children she struggles to raise even as she herself tries (and fails, at least at first) to grow up. Set in a forgotten, impoverished community of illegal immigrants near San Francisco, the book puts its flawed protagonist through the wringer, but it’s ultimately about hope, second chances, and finding strength you didn’t know you had. I loved it.
Visit Heather Young's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost Girls.

--Marshal Zeringue