Friday, July 13, 2018

Review: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Title: Allegedly
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Year Published: 2016


Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 387
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2018 Google Reading map)USA (NY)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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 Marty and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn't say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. There wasn't a point to setting the record straight before, but now she's got Todd-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 trusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary?

Review: The reviews I have seen of this book have all been good so I was looking forward to reading it. It took me a little while to get into it, but I think that was me and not the book because yesterday I read most of it without stopping, reading way past my bedtime so I could finish it.

This book is intense and take a look at our juvenile justice system as well as social welfare, child abuse, and relationships. Even though the topics are dark and Mary's life is really, really terrible, I didn't feel depressed when I finished. Mary was put in jail (mostly solitary confinement for her "safety.") from age 9 to 15 and when the book takes place is living in a group home. The social workers, women who run the group home, and her probation officer are all awful and overwhelmed with the amount of work they have. The other girls in the home are not nice either. But, through it all, Mary has faith that she is meant for more.

I think what keeps the reader going is that Mary is bright and unfailingly determined to get out of her situation. She has a volunteer job, is studying to take the SATs, and see a future for herself. Maybe it's because she knows she didn't commit the crime for which she is doing time. Or did she? As she says, all the accounts say "allegedly."

I liked the way this story unfolded, bits at a time, with Mary slowly coming into her own.

Challenges for which this counts: none

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