Book Title:
Allegedly
Book Author:
Tiffany D. Jackson
Publishing Date:
January 24th, 2017
Publisher:
Katherine Tegan Books
Date Read:
January 23rd, 2017
Source:
eARC from publisher via Edelweiss - Thank you!

Synopsis

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 church-going 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 five 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?

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.

My Review

Allegedly was one dark and twisted book that was a total page turner for me.  It made me go from hating the narrator, to loving her, to not having any idea how I felt.  It’s probably one of the darkest books that I’ve read in ages, and that’s saying something.

Allegedly tells the story of Mary B. Addison, who is currently in a group home because she allegedly killed a baby when she was nine years old.  She’s been to “baby jail” already, and now she is biding her time until she turns eighteen, which is just two years away.  But the question is, did she do it?  Did she actually kill an innocent baby?  Or is there more to the story that hasn’t been told?

“Guess birthdays don’t mean nothing in a group home.  I mean, it kind of makes sense.  Hard to celebrate the day you were born when everybody seems to wish you were never born at all.  Especially after you come into this world and fuck it all up.”

Wile Mary is serving her time, trying to stay alive in a group home full of girls who make her life hell, she is also working on planning for her future.  What will life hold for her once she gets out of the group home?  Will she ever be able to go to college, or is that a dream she will never get to achieve?  What lies in store for her and her boyfriend, whom she works with at the nursing home?

When she discovers that she’s pregnant, she isn’t sure what’s going to happen.  Will she keep the baby or be forced to give it away?  After all, she did allegedly kill a baby, so she isn’t sure how things are going to play out for her.  Struggling to keep her relationship with Ted, the eighteen year old she works with at the nursing home, a secret, Mary has other things on her plate now – she’s pregnant, stuck in a group home where she fears for her life, and has no idea what her future holds for her.  She wants to go to college and make a life for herself, as well as fight for her right to keep her baby.  But with the conviction of manslaughter on her shoulders, and only her and mother to know what really happened that night, how will it play out for Mary?

Mary is a completely unreliable narrator who weaves you in and out of a story that is full of more twists and turns than I thought possible.  I loved not knowing how to react to Mary – she was unpredictable and made the story such a great one to get lost in.

The relationship she had with Ted in the novel seemed very realistic.  I wanted the best for the both of them, but at the same time I found myself wondering if they were ever going to get that happy ending.

“I kept thinking, is this what boys do, make you feel naked with all your clothes on?  And the way he smiled at me, like he was honestly happy to see me, reminded me of a time when someone wanted me.  I would have given anything to have that again.”

The relationships in Allegedly are all so complex, making them so much deeper than your typical YA relationships.  Mary is forced to deal with the shortcomings of everyone she trusted, like a problem that she faces with Ted, and the realization that all she wanted was to feel loved.  The relationship she had with her mother was painful to read about, as well, and while her mother came to the group home to visit her, you can tell that the only reason she was there was for appearances.

While her and Ted’s realtionship was kind of sweet at times, I honestly hated his character, especially after it is revealed what he was in a group home for.  What he did was absolutely horrible.

But the thing that makes this book such a psychological roller coaster is that for years, Mary sat back and took the blame for killing a baby.  But now, years later, she decides that she wants to open the case back up again.  She comes forth with new information that she claims to remember, even though it seems sketchy.  There is just so much in this book that will throw you for a loop, and I mean that in a good way.  It kept me guessing and I loved every minute of it.

The only thing I wasn’t particularly keen on was the ending.  I kind of felt like the ending of the book was a bit thrown together just for shocks, and I guess I wish there would have been an ending that made the story even stronger.

Allegedly is a really heartbreaking and painful book to read, and if you do pick it up (which I highly recommend you do), you’re going to be in for a ride from the very first page until the last.

4 stars
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8 Responses to Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

  1. This book wasn’t really on my radar. The synopsis just didn’t pull me in. Your review commenting on the unreliable narrator aspect of the story did. It’s the reason I would read this book now. Great job!
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    • Kelly says:

      Thanks! This was just a difficult book to review without giving too much away in terms of spoilers. I hadn’t originally wanted to read it until I saw some other people giving the book such high praise, and I can see why – totally worth the read!

  2. I cannot wait to read this book! I’ve heard great things about it and it sounds like one that I’d love!

    • Kelly says:

      It’s definitely one that’s going to pull you in and keep you on the edge of your seat! I can’t wait to see what you think when you read it!

  3. Kirsty says:

    I am such a sucker for books like this. I love how quickly I get through them. I’ve heard a few things about this book but your review for it is really amazing. It’s made me want to go and buy it right now! I’m going to have to read it as soon as I can.

  4. I am so stoked to read this book. It sounds like quite the ride and I for one am excited to get on. Thanks for your thoughts!

    • Kelly says:

      It’s definitely one of those books that bring a lot of excitement during reading – I honestly didn’t think there was a dull moment throughout the entire book!

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