Ventura and Zelzah

Ventura and Zelzah
J.G. Bryan
March 2022
Young Adult Fiction / Coming of Age
5 x 8
Trade Paper

“Set in 1970s suburban Los Angeles, Bryan’s slice-of-life novel of wild adolescence follows four friends as they navigate changing friendship dynamics amid the era’s quintessential sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll hijinks. . . . [Douglas’s] energetic approach to the pressure of impending adulthood is endearing. Bryan’s cathartic homage to the joys of adolescent years wisely centers teens’ unbridled capacity to live life untethered as they learn from their mistakes.”—Publishers Weekly

In the haze of a hot San Fernando Valley summer in 1970’s Los Angeles, Douglas and his friends―Hank, Weddy, and Ronnie―struggle with their awkward teenage years during a confusing and extremely permissive era. Weed and alcohol are regularly available, and most of the boys freely partake as they each navigate their own family dramas at home. Meanwhile, Douglas must also sort through the ups-and-downs of his relationship with his not-quite-girlfriend, Natalia.

When not in the swimming pool trying to beat the intense Valley heat, Douglas and his friends spend their summer vacation taking the RTD into Westwood to see Jaws, watching the Fourth of July fireworks at Balboa Park, seeking thrills at Magic Mountain, checking out the head shop and the turquoise jewelry at The Sixth Chakra, eating hot dogs and facing Koufax in the batting cage at Flooky’s, and playing plenty of basketball.

Ventura and Zelzah is a funny, poignant, and nostalgic coming-of-age tale of teenage friendships in a blissfully unhurried, pre-digital era.

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