Hippies to Yuppies: Troubled Protagonists in San Francisco. View the book event!

Playground Zero and Blithedale Canyon

Recorded book event with Sarah Relyea and Michael Bourne!

Enjoy a reading and discussion of my 1960s coming-of-age novel, Playground Zero, and Michael Bourne’s Blithedale Canyon, set in 2001. Our novels unfold amidst the upheaval and gentrification of Bay Area neighborhoods. Some characters struggle to make sense of the 1960s world of revolutionaries and dream-makers, while others struggle for an emotional and financial foothold in the new order of corporate fortune-makers. Michael and I describe the journey of creating these unlikely protagonists who must fight for their place in a new world order.

Sponsored by the Historical Novel Society - New York City Chapter. This event was held at NYC's Jefferson Market Library. Hosted by Susan Wands.

Watch the event: Hippies to Yuppies

Playground Zero

1968. Siren songs and loosened bonds. War, campaign slogans, and assassination. At the height of the Vietnam War protests, Washington lawyer Tom Rayson uproots his family for the freewheeling city of Berkeley. As her parents make forays into the counterculture, twelve-year-old Alice embraces the moment in America's cultural ground zero.

Feeling estranged from her family and school, Alice falls in with Jim and Valerie Dupres, whose dad is selling jeans and making revolution. Jim and Valerie have been learning the ropes on Telegraph Avenue and camping out in People's Park. As family and school fade away in a tear-gas fog, Alice feels an ambiguous freedom. Following the Summer of Love, she must find her way through a new world where street signs hang backward and there's a bootleg candy called Orange Sunshine. Caught up in a rebellion that feels equally compelling and absurd, Alice could become a casualty—or she could defy the odds and become her own person. One thing is sure: there's no going back.

Buy Playground Zero now!

Blithedale Canyon

Trent Wolfer has blown it, in every possible way, over and over and over. And now he's blowing it again. Fresh out of rehab, he's back in his hometown working a dead-end job at a fast food joint and cutting out on his breaks to sneak airplane bottles of vodka and gin, when he looks up from his register one day to see Suze Randall, his closest friend from high school, now a radiant blonde single mother of two.

Set in a small, sun-drenched Northern California town shifting from hippie haven to moneyed paradise, Blithedale Canyon asks whether a man who has spent his whole life screwing up can stop long enough to avoid destroying a woman he loves.

Michael Bourne's funny, edgy debut is a literary love story for every man who has ever wondered why he keeps smashing up the things he cares about, and for every woman who's ever wondered what was going on in the head of that guy she spent her twenties trying to fix.

Buy Blithedale Canyon now!

Sarah Relyea

Sarah Relyea is the author of Playground Zero, a coming-of-age novel for adults about the 1960s. Playground Zero is published by She Writes Press and available wherever books are sold.

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