AJ Mayhew

The Dry Grass of August

The Dry Grass of August
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Infused with the intensity of a changing time, here is a story of hope and heartbreak, of love and courage, of a journey from wounded to indomitable. In August 1954, Jubie Watts, a white teenager, leaves Charlotte, NC, with her family and their black maid for a Florida vacation.

Jubie notices the anti-integration signs they pass, and feels racial tension build as they journey further south. But she cannot predict the shocking turn their trip will take. In the wake of tragedy, Jubie confronts her parents' failings, decides where her own convictions lie, and makes a leap to independence.

Praise for The Dry Grass of August

BookPage: "...Anna Jean Mayhew’s debut novel deserves all the early praise it’s getting...(her) narrative is beyond contestation and well-deserving of a wide readership." read more

Bookreporter.com: "The angst and ennui of a young girl on the brink of her teenage years recall classics like Carson McCullers's THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING..." read more

Publishers Weekly: "A girl comes of age in the tumultuous 1950s South in Mayhew's strong debut..." read more

Booklist: "Through immediate first-person narration, this first novel gets the prejudice and cruelty in daily life exactly right..." read more

Lee Smith: "The Dry Grass of August is a perfectly realized novel..." read more


“Beautifully written, with complex characters, an urgent plot, and an ending so shocking and real it had me in tears.” — Eleanor Brown, author of The Weird Sisters, a NY Times Bestseller


New York subway rider reading The Dry Grass of August


Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, SC, at the kickoff for One Book, One Columbia, scheduled for February 28, 2013


Read a literary academic review of The Dry Grass of August — click here


Winner of the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for 2011


Book Trailer for The Dry Grass of August, with short reading