Copy Boy: A Novel

Copy Boy: A Novel

by Shelley Blanton-Stroud

Narrated by April Doty

Shelley Blanton-Stroud

Unabridged — 9 hours, 20 minutes

Copy Boy: A Novel

Copy Boy: A Novel

by Shelley Blanton-Stroud

Narrated by April Doty

Shelley Blanton-Stroud

Unabridged — 9 hours, 20 minutes

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“This is Raymond Chandler for feminists.” -Sharma Shields, author of The Cassandra

"An engrossing work of fiction. An expressive and striking story that examines what one does for family and for oneself." --Kirkus Reviews

“Underneath a neatly crafted thriller is a deeper story about social mobility, gender inequality, and the higher hurdles women - particularly those of a lower class - are sometimes forced to jump over in order to make a name for themselves.” -Paperback Paris

Jane's a very brave boy. And a very difficult girl. She'll become a remarkable woman, an icon of her century, but that's a long way off.

Not my fault, she thinks, dropping a bloody crowbar in the irrigation ditch after Daddy. She steals Momma's Ford and escapes to Depression-era San Francisco, where she fakes her way into work as a newspaper copy boy.

Everything's looking up. She's climbing the ladder at the paper, winning validation, skill, and connections with the artists and thinkers of her day. But then Daddy reappears on the paper's front page, his arm around a girl who's just been beaten into a coma one block from Jane's newspaper-hit in the head with a crowbar.

Jane's got to find Daddy before he finds her, and before everyone else finds her out. She's got to protect her invented identity. This is what she thinks she wants. It's definitely what her dead brother wants.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

2021 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards Silver Winner in Fiction: Historical
2021 Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion Award Finalist for Best Historical Mystery
2020 American Fiction Awards Finalist in Coming of Age
2021 15th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist in Mystery
2020 Sarton Book Awards Finalist in Historical Fiction

Copy Boy is a rewarding historical novel with a ferocious, fascinating lead.”
—4-star Foreword Clarion Review

“An expressive and striking story that examines what one does for family and for oneself.”
Kirkus Reviews

“From the very start of Copy Boy, I was sucked in, and Blanton-Stroud didn’t let me out until the epilogue. Jane is a compelling character, all sharp edges and Midwestern grit, and I was thrilled to see just how far she would go to get what she wanted. Jane is not your traditional historical fiction character, who always has a moment when she subtly reasserts her femininity by acting soft. She digs into what she wants and digs in hard. This means she has to make difficult choices, and not everything she does is laudable. Jane is no hero; she’s just a young woman trying to make her way, and that’s why I loved her so much.”
—Jo Niederhoff, The San Francisco Book Review

Copy Boy is a fantastic story of a young woman's survival and re-invention, set in Northern California during the Depression. Blanton-Stroud's prose sings and crackles and brings us into the world of Jane with so much compassion and beauty and wisdom. An engaging, wonderfully original book.”
—Karen E. Bender, author of The New Order, longlisted for the Story Prize, and Refund, a National Book Award finalist

“A stellar debut. Copy Boy may be Shelley Blanton-Stroud's first novel, but it's apparent from page one that she's been working on her craft for many years. Combining the best elements of noir, historical fiction, and coming-of-age stories, Blanton-Stroud has written a compelling, nuanced story. Deftly plotted and expertly executed, Copy Boy is as mesmerizing as the moment when the fog lifts over Nob Hill. Highly recommended.”
—Sheldon Siegel, New York Times best-selling author of the Mike Daley/Rosie Fernandez novels

“Full of adventure, chutzpah, historical detail, and, most of all, heart, Copy Boy is a thrilling, Depression-era coming-of-age story well suited to our times.”
—Maggie Shen King, award-winning author of An Excess Male

“Shelley Blanton-Stroud's Copy Boy explores place and identity with sharp-edged suspense and intrigue. Smart, lively, and suspenseful, this is Raymond Chandler for feminists.”
—Sharma Shields, author of The Cassandra and recipient of the Pacific Northwest Book Award

“Shelley Blanton-Stroud’s Copy Boy is one of those novels that can rekindle your faith in fiction. Her distinctive voice, command of historical details, and sheer storytelling verve show through on every page. Maybe this exact story never happened, but it should have—in exactly this way. A bravura debut—I’m expecting great things from this author.”
—David Corbett, award-winning author of The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday

Kirkus Reviews

A novel about an ambitious young woman who navigates familial trauma while working as a copy boy in late-1930s San Francisco.

At the height of the Great Depression, 17-year-old Jane Hopper arrives home one night to find her pregnant mother packing their possessions into the car of federal labor camp manager Uno Jeffers. Her mother wants them to move, and when Jane’s father, Abraham, arrives home inebriated and angry, a domestic brawl ensues. Jane feels an obligation to her mother, who blames her for the death of Jane’s stillborn fraternal twin, Benjamin, so she fights her father. During the melee, she hears her brother’s voice in her head urging her on, and she leaves Abraham for dead. Her mother has left without her, so Jane flees to San Francisco for a fresh start. Three months later, she’s working for a newspaper called the Prospect and posing as a boy with her brother’s name, Benny Hopper. While working as a copy boy, Jane meets a woman named Vee who says, “I’ve got a story for you, rookie.” They make an appointment to meet, which Jane doesn’t keep; then Vee is attacked and hospitalized. Jane finds a picture of Vee and decides to look into the woman’s life, which leads her to uncover a story of corruption that ties Jane’s own new life to her former one. In her debut, Blanton-Stroud, who teaches writing at Sacramento State University, effectively evokes the dichotomy of Jane’s rural and urban lifestyles, particularly when highlighting Jane’s family’s poverty. The author’s descriptive language is robust, especially when setting scenes: “Benjamin Franklin Hopper was born into a shattered bulb, shards buried under the loose, gray silt of a ravaged Texas plain.” There are occasional minor errors, and the device of Jane repeatedly hearing Benjamin’s voice in her head doesn’t add very much to the narrative aside from a very strong opening. Even so, Blanton-Stroud’s book remains an engrossing work of fiction.

An expressive and striking story that examines what one does for family and for oneself.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940178802175
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication date: 06/23/2020
Edition description: Unabridged
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