Friday, January 12, 2018


Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (2017)

Mary Addison has been placed in a group home after 6 years of "baby jail." She was convicted of manslaughter at the age of 9 for allegedly killing a white baby who her mom was babysitting. Mary doesn't really speak and hasn't spoken out about the truth of that night, but now there is something larger at stake. She has a boyfriend, Ted, and they are expecting a baby. When Mary is told that she won't be allowed to keep her baby, she decides she needs to finally start talking about what really happened.

This is one of those books that just sucks you in from the beginning. It's a teen book and is written in a typically easy-to-read style. I read the whole thing in a 24-hour-period. I could not put it down.

Mary's experiences in the group home are just awful. The counselors are uncaring and make life difficult, and the other girls are even worse. All Mary wants is to take the SATs so she can get into college and make a better life for herself, but one of the other girls is set on sabotaging her efforts. Mary is much happier at the nursing home where she volunteers, which is also where she met her boyfriend. Ted is also there after trouble with the law, but they don't share those parts of themselves to each other because they both just want to move forward. When she becomes pregnant, they make plans together for how they will live and take care of their baby, though Mary worries it won't be as easy as he says.

There is a lot of lying in this novel. Between Mary and Ted, Mary and her mother, basically everyone. The whole environment of the story is toxic and is everyone is just trying to look out for themselves. Mary's relationship with her mother is especially interesting and weird and I just don't know what to think of them. Her mother is very religious and upstanding, but made me vaguely uneasy through the whole story, especially because of how she treated her daughter. Is she actually a good person? What is she not saying? What is Mary not saying?

I've been wanting to read this since it first came out and I'm glad my book group picked it - I think we're going to have a very interesting discussion, especially about the ending. My mind isn't made up regarding the ending so I'm especially eager to talk about it with several people at once. It really is a good book group choice! It also raises a lot of questions in my mind about the juvenile justice system.
Regardless of how I settle on the ending, I found it to be a unique story that was very easy to get lost in.

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