Hello, my lovely book friends! Today I thought I would bring you a Flashback review. I originally read and reviewed this novel back in September 2018.
Why am I bringing it up again, you may be wondering?
That’s easy. Because I love this book and still think about it to this day. Also, this novel introduced me to one of my FAVORITE YA Contemporary authors. Tiffany D. Jackson’s writing takes me places and I love every minute of it. Read my full thoughts below and I hope, if you haven’t already, you’ll seriously consider picking up some of Jackson’s work!
Allegedly was Tiffany D. Jackson’s debut novel!?
Yeah, think on that for a while. This. Is. A. Debut.
I am still reeling from this book. It’s one of those stories that sticks with you long after you turn the final page.
Following teenage protagonist, Mary Addison, after she is released from ‘Baby Jail.‘, she now resides in a group home and is trying to adapt to surroundings.
Mary Addison entered Baby Jail after being accused, and prosecuted, for killing a baby that she was helping her mother take care of.
The majority of the book is stream of consciousness narrative, which generally is hit or miss for me. This is a definite hit and how it should be done.
It was incredibly moving to hear Mary’s remembrances of various parts of her childhood, her challenging relationship with her mentally ill mother, and of her alleged crime.
The rest of the book cleverly fills in the blanks with an excellent assortment of mixed media sources, such as police interviews and court transcripts.
I thought the blending of these two styles together was executed perfectly to reveal the truth at the heart of the story.
The thing I appreciated most about this book was the way it reflected upon the juvenile justice system. Shining a much needed light on the hopelessness and desperation these kids experience, not to mention the general systematic failures.
Behind every case number, inmate number and statistic, is a story. This is just one.
Mary Addison is a whip-smart, mixed race girl, who struggles with low feelings of self-worth and faces a boatload of obstacles.
Her codependency with her mother and her mental illness was so raw. I truly felt for this girl. I was drawn into her story. It was such a struggle to get through some sections, but completely worth it.
It was so well done that at times, I would be so wrapped up, I had to remind myself that Mary Addison is FICTION. Sadly, for a lot of kids out there, too many kids, this story is all too real.
I did listen to the audiobook for this and DAMN, Bahni Turpin can make you feel all the feels. She is so talented and truly brought the story to life for me. I was listening to Mary as far as I was concerned. I could not recommend this audiobook highly enough.
Loved it, loved it, loved it!
Tiffany D. Jackson is one hell of a writer!