Review | Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson


by Tiffany D. Jackson

YA Mystery, Contemporary

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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? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

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 must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

Tiffany D Jackson is one of my auto buy authors, for sure. I just love her books so much and her writing style. Surprisingly, however, her debut was the last of her books that I read. I love Grown so much back in September that I literally had to read Allegedly straight away because it had been on my TBR pile for so long!

Allegedly has one of the most hooking premises I’ve heard in a long time. When Mary B. Addison allegedly murders a baby whilst her mother is babysitting, her whole world is forever changed. But the public perceived only one side of the truth, and now Mary is all grown up and adamant to tell the truth of what truly that happened that night.

Well, as always, simply put, another fantastic book from Jackson. I’m surprised it took me so long to finally get around to this, but I’m so glad I did. The story was thrilling from the very first page to the last, and at no point did I find my eyes tore away from the story. She really knows how to take control of the narrative as a writer and completely enchant her readers.

I think my favourite thing about this book was the characters – which, knowing Jackson’s books, I shouldn’t even be surprised. She had such an eclectic and unique cast of characters who I equally rooted for and despised – from Mary herself to Momma to the vicious girls in the group home and even the questionable Ted. All of these characters were developed and fleshed out so well that they really added to the experience of reading this, and they almost made it seem like it was a real story being told in front of my eyes.

As much as I did enjoy this, I have to say I think this might be my least favourite Tiffany D. Jackson book out of the four she’s written. Not that it was bad, but one thing about this that I wasn’t too keen on was the constant twists and turns. Jackson is no stranger to a plot twist, but I felt there was a constant state of distrust from the very first page that maybe took me out of the story a bit and left me a little confused. Very effective way of portraying these certain types of characters, but, I don’t know, I think it sort of left a bitter taste on my tongue.

Saying that though hurts because I think Tiffany D Jackson is a wonderfully talented writer and I can’t wait to devour her entire future bibliography!

ARC Review | Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson


by Tiffany D. Jackson

YA Mystery

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Korey Fields is dead.

When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.

Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.

Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?

All signs point to Enchanted.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Wow. Grown is Jackson’s fourth book, and after reading and loving her last 2 books, I had a strong feeling that this would be no different. And it is safe to say, I was not wrong.

Grown follows the story of main character Enchanted Jones (who just has the most gorgeous name, right?) and after she meets legendary R&B singer Korey Fields and he wants to take her under his wing, things start to take a dark route and Enchanted soon comes to learn the difference between love and lust.

I thought this book was written in the most excellent way. To read about such a horrid story that happens unfortunately to so many young girls is one thing, but for the writing to actually make my skin crawl is a whole other level of talent. This is absolutely Jackson’s best work yet. I loved how the entire time we got this story through the perspective of Enchanted and I thought it was so brilliantly nuanced for her to be so naive to Korey’s intentions yet at the same time the reader couldn’t have picked up on it further. I feel as though each word was picked so meticulously that if even one letter was changed, the story would have lost its effect.

I loved the mystery in this novel too. I definitely think that’s one of Jackson’s many strengths. From reading her other books too, I noticed she always has the perfect blend of mystery and contemporary. One never outshines the other and I think she balances them really well. I kept wondering about the mystery and the true story the whole time, but I still cared for Enchanted and wanted to know her story. I also loved the repetition of ‘beet juice’ (you’ll definitely understand when you read!)

Overall, another exceptional novel from Tiffany D Jackson and I can no longer say I’m going to be surprised when I love a book that she writes. Full of raw emotion and a harrowing storyline, this is definitely a must read. In fact, if you haven’t read Jackson’s back catalogue, what are you even doing with your life?! Go, go, go!

Grown is out in the UK on the 15th of October!

Review: Let Me Hear A Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

let me hear a rhyme

Let Me Hear A Rhyme

by Tiffany D. Jackson

YA Contemporary, Fiction

Biggie Smalls was right. Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are okay letting their best friend Steph’s tracks lie forgotten in his bedroom after he’s killed—not when his beats could turn any Bed-Stuy corner into a celebration, not after years of having each other’s backs.

Enlisting the help of Steph’s younger sister, Jasmine, Quadir and Jarrell come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: The Architect. Soon, everyone in Brooklyn is dancing to Steph’s voice. But then his mixtape catches the attention of a hotheaded music rep and—with just hours on the clock—the trio must race to prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.

Now, as the pressure—and danger—of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, together they need to decide what they stand for before they lose everything they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.

Damn, I am in love with Tiffany D. Jackson’s style of writing. She has such an authentic and honest voice when it comes to writing YA, and I really think this is the age range she should be writing, it’s perfect for her!

The only other Jackson novel I’ve read is Monday’s Not Coming, which I absolutely loved. But after reading this, I’m making it a personal mission to read her debut and follow whatever releases she follows Let Me Hear A Rhyme with.

I’ll admit that the book started off very slow and it took me a while to get into it, but once I did, it was addictive. I didn’t want to put it down! I thought what Jackson did really well in this book was she set the scene extraordinarily well. It’s set in the late 90’s and you can tell she did her research and made sure everything was pitch perfect with the tone, references and general landscape of Brooklyn, New York.

This follows the story of three teenagers, Quadir, Jasmine and Jarrell, who after the death of their best friend Steph, vow to keep his dream alive by giving him the fame his talent deserves, even in death. I thought this was such a clever idea and honestly unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The tension was built really well in this too because the whole time I was waiting for them to get caught or their secret to be revealed. And even the mystery of Steph’s murder kept me really enthralled too.

I loved also how Jackson incorporated music into the novel and her characters’ lives. R&B is not really a genre that I’m a fan of, but I loved how essential a part it was of this book. She even got one of her friends, Malik-16, to write some lyrics for the book and I thought this was a lovely addition. Stuff like that in books, like raps, or texts, or e-mails, I find always make the book more exciting.

For fans of On the Come Up, this one is sure to hit you right where it hurts. Out in paperback on June 11th!