Everything Must Go
Author: Jenny Fran Davis
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Synopsis: Flora Goldwasser has fallen in love. She won’t admit it to anyone, but something about Elijah Huck has pulled her under. When he tells her about the hippie Quaker school he attended in the Hudson Valley called Quare Academy, where he’ll be teaching next year, Flora gives up her tiny Upper East Side prep school for a life on a farm, hoping to woo him. A fish out of water, Flora stands out like a sore thumb in her vintage suits among the tattered tunics and ripped jeans of the rest of the student body. When Elijah doesn’t show up, Flora must make the most of the situation and will ultimately learn more about herself than she ever thought possible.
Davis’s “smart and witty” (Publishers Weekly) debut will take the reader back to those days in high school, chasing after the wrong boys and worrying about high school gossip. As “introspective, feminist, nuanced” (Booklist), Flora’s story will connect with anyone who thought that a love interest could hold the key to happiness, only to discover that is far from the case. Guaranteed to make you fall in love with the personality driven cast of characters, EVERYTHING MUST GO is the perfect book for teens discovering where they fit in during those awkward years or anyone who has ever felt out of place.
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Huck’s posts, which regularly attract thousands of visitors,
are unique in their ability to evoke both modernity and antiq-
uity, as well as provide a tentative explanation—a subtle one—
about why today’s young people look to the past for answers
about their identities and their futures.
Journal entry from December 22
I haven’t even told India and Cora about him, because they’d
definitely tell me to snap out of it. Every time something gets written
up about Elijah and me/Miss Tulip, I feel such a sense of pride, but
it’s PRIVATE pride—like an intimate thing between Elijah and me.
• We’re in the Met. He pulls me off to the side, into some deserted
corner, and starts kissing me.
• I’m standing in front of an ornate bookcase, studying it, hand on my
chin. He comes up from behind and drapes himself over me. I spin
around; we kiss.
• We’re on the subway. He reaches for my hand; I let him hold it. I
look down at my lap and smile. There is electricity at the line where
our legs touch.
• Elijah on the Met’s Civil Rights–era dress exhibit: “I could see you
in most of the dresses, getting shit done.”
Let me pause here and say that I know this seems like the
whitest, most bourgeoisie shit ever. I mean, a hipster fashion blog in
which I dress in clothes from 1958? Please don’t lose heart, readers.
This was my old life, remember. It’s as painful for me to relive this
time as it is for you to hear about it, if not more so.
Anyway, I was his muse, but he wasn’t in love with me. Or was
Funny Farm flow2.indd 23 4/11/17 4:07 PM
24 Jenny Fran Davis
he? Therein lay the problem. He wanted to follow me around the
city, photographing me in vintage clothes. He called me interest-
ing. He listened to my problems and opened up about his. He told
me that I could really rock a Jackie Kennedy head scarf and that
I knew a thing or two about tastefully pairing prints. AND YET.
He didn’t invite me over to his 107th Street apartment to kiss
me. He didn’t even touch me, not even once to adjust me during
a photo shoot. We took the subway together on weekends from
Brooklyn to Manhattan to Queens, even rode the Staten Island
Ferry together, but he didn’t so much as put his arm around me.
There was always a thin barrier between us, which I chalked up
to his position of power. And although sometimes this barrier was
made of metal, sometimes it was made of a gauze that seemed thin
enough to tear.
Let me pause again for one more minute. At age sixteen, just
as now, I was a fucking woman. It wasn’t that I needed his approval
to exist. Even in this time of frissons and jittery stomachs, I knew
my power without Elijah. I didn’t need him to kiss me. I just really
wanted him to, and that wild desire made my body feel like it was
on fire. Let’s be honest. I was in love, and it was the kind of love
that made me forget myself.
So he didn’t kiss me, but he talked to me. He told me count-
less hilarious stories about Quare, academically rigorous and so-
cially conscious, and encouraged me to apply, albeit in a buoyant,
slightly jocular way. Until eleventh grade, he’d attended Westwood,
Bowen’s prestigious brother school. (Quare was for students in the
eleventh and twelfth grades only.) He’d grown frustrated, just as I
was growing frustrated, with the stuffy, pretentious private school
scene. (Even though I would never say that out loud.)
I thought, maybe if I went to Quare, I’d be interesting just as
he’d been interesting. We’d be interesting together. Cue fantasy of
Funny Farm flow2.indd 24 4/11/17 4:07 PM
Everything Must Go 25
us picnicking and reading subversive literature in a field when he’d
come to visit me. Cue fantasy of Elijah realizing how adventurous
I was, professing his love, and kissing me, preferably in a canoe, on
a sunset pond.
One thing happened after another, and before I knew it, I was
asking for recommendations and writing my application essay for
Quare about the need to make adoption more accessible to same-
My acceptance letter
The Quare Academy
470 West 79th Street, Apt. 5A
New York, NY 10024
On behalf of the Quare admissions committee and faculty, I’m
thrilled to offer you a spot in the class of 20—. Quare received a
record number of close to 250 applications for just 16 spots, and
it’s a testament to your ambition, creativity, and curiosity that
you’ve been selected.
Please sign and return the enclosed document, along with a
preliminary deposit, by May 10 if you wish to attend Quare
next year. Please also feel free to call our office should you have
Funny Farm flow2.indd 25 4/11/17 4:07 PM
26 Jenny Fran Davis
any questions at all; I or another member of our team would be
delighted to speak with you.
Miriam Row, Headmistress
As soon as I got the letter, I knew that I would go.
Elijah would be going to Chicago to spend the summer as he
always did, studying under his photography mentor, the famous
Michael Rosenberg, at Chicago Arts, and I’d be interning at So-
I hardly heard from him all summer; he was busy in Chicago.
So I did my Sotheby’s internship, ate my last Maison Kayser maca-
rons with my two best friends, Cora and India—who still couldn’t
wrap their heads around why I was doing this; I told them I was
bored at Bowen and needed an adventure, which I could tell they
didn’t quite buy, but what could they say?—and packed my nic-
est dresses, skirts, and shoes—along with my portable mint-green
Underwood Olivetti typewriter to compose letters on the go—
into two huge steamer trunks.
What follows are the letters, journal entries, and other sundry
items from my first year at Quare Academy, where I had gone to
follow my One True Love (or for the adventure, depending on
who was asking).
JENNY FRAN DAVIS was born in Manhattan and spent four months avoiding (but later embracing) millet mountains in a peace- and justice-focused Quaker community in northern California. Fond of big dogs, doo-wop, and Judy Blume, she attended the Chapin School and is currently an undergraduate at Wesleyan University. Everything Must Go is her debut novel.
Flora sounds a little crazy moving somewhere for a guy!
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Hmmm, interesting excerpt. I can’t decide if this is a good fit for me or not. I have a feeling I might just end up really annoyed at Flora for packing up her life to follow a boy. Could be interesting though so I’ll be curious to read some reviews about it. Thanks for sharing the excerpt!
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