Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 225
Zoa (Morin) Sherburne 1912–
American novelist, short story writer, and poet.
Sherburne is best known for her novels which realistically explore problems often faced by today's young adults. Her teenagers typically struggle to come to terms with such traumatic family situations as divorce, remarriage, death, and mentally ill or physically handicapped parents. Sherburne's protagonists encounter such difficulties as unwanted pregnancy, involvement with drugs, unrequited first love, and unpopularity. Too Bad about the Haines Girl (1967), one of the first young adult books to confront the problem of teenage pregnancy, is perhaps her best-known work.
In addition to her realistic novels, Sherburne has also written science fiction and Gothic novels. The Girl Who Knew Tomorrow (1970) is the story of Angie, a girl with extrasensory perception who must learn to use her gift without abusing it. Why Have the Birds Stopped Singing? (1974) is a Gothic tale in which the protagonist travels back in time, assuming the identity of one of her ancestors. Both the protagonist and her ancestor are epileptic; Sherburne's sympathetic treatment of this affliction is generally considered the strongest asset of the book.
Sherburne has also published over 300 short stories and verses in various magazines. Her work is often praised for its vivid characterizations and well-developed plots.
(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 1-4, rev. ed.; Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 3; and Something about the Author, Vol. 3.)