4 starred reviews!
Orange Is the New Black meets Walter Dean Myer’s Monster in this gritty, twisty, and haunting debut by Tiffany D. Jackson about a girl convicted of murder seeking the truth while surviving life in a group home.
Mary B. Addison killed a baby.
Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it?
There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary’s fate now lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary?
★ “With remarkable skill, Jackson offers an unflinching portrayal of the raw social outcomes when youth are entrapped in a vicious cycle of nonparenting and are sent spiraling down the prison-for-profit pipeline. This dark, suspenseful exploration of justice and perception raises important questions teens will want to discuss.”
★ “Searing and true. Effectively joins Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th and Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow (2010) to become another indictment of the penal system’s decimating power beyond its bars and, more subtly and refreshingly, a pro-reproductive-justice novel.”
★ “The characters are complex, the situation unsettling, and the line between right and wrong hopelessly blurred. It’s also intensely relevant, addressing race, age, and mental illness within the criminal justice system. Well conceived and executed, this is an absorbing and exceptional first novel.”
★ “Suspenseful without being emotionally manipulative, compelling without resorting to shock value, this is a tightly spun debut that wrestles with many intense ideas and ends with a knife twist that will send readers racing back to the beginning again.”
“Seen through Jackson’s dark portrait of the legal system and the failures of parents and social workers, Mary’s environments are as grim as the stories that play out in them; readers fascinated by procedural dramas will be thoroughly hooked.”
“I have to admit, it’s been a while since I’ve been this rattled by a story. Tiffany D. Jackson chips at the world, then cracks it, then shatters it into shards of discomfort and complexity for the reader to grapple with it. Allegedly, undoubtedly, will linger long after it’s over.”
“A well-executed, powerful journey into the claustrophobic life of a young girl trying to navigate what little is left after the world has judged her, and what she will do to escape it.”
“A riveting, gut-wrenching thriller and a stunning debut.”
“Tiffany Jackson’s timely and chilling debut will haunt you for a long time. An extraordinary new voice.”