Synopsis: Mary killed a baby when she was nine-years-old. Allegedly. She was put into juvie and now, in a group home, Mary is faced with a decision that could change the trajectory of her whole life. Does she tell the truth and and risk someone else’s freedom for her own? Or has she been living the truth all this time and has been fooling everybody?
First Line: Some children are just born bad, plain and simple.
Favorite Quotes: “What does it mean when you love and hate someone at the same time?” I ask.
He laughs. “It means they family.”
Ratings and Review:
I just finished this book. I legit put it down about five minutes ago. I finished reading and immediately hopped on line so everything could be fresh in my mind. If I could sum up this book in three words it would be: WHAT. THE. F!?!?!?!?!?
This is a real time shot of me getting up after reading this book.
I will try not to make my review full of spoilers but can we talk about unreliable narrator?!?! I mean, what the heck, Tiffany? What are you trying to do to me?? I cannot even begin to tell you about the emotional journey that this piece of literature has put me through. It has been one of many highs and lows, peaks and valleys. This book is amazing. It’s beautiful and raw but also haunting and downright sad. There were times I wanted to cry for Mary. Her life was just a complete sack of hot and musty mess.
Mary was accused of murdering a child she babysat, Alyssa. Allegedly. At nine years old, all Mary wanted was to make her mother and Alyssa’s mother proud of her. But one fatal night everything went wrong. As the novel goes on we are never too clear about what really happened that night. There is testimony from people littered through the novel. Doctors and psychiatrists who evaluated Mary and determine there isn’t anything wrong with her. But, if there isn’t, why won’t she talk?? There were quotes from other inmates and guards at the juvenile detention center who spoke on Mary’s character. There were snippets from true crime books written about the murder, newspaper articles, and direct quotes from countless other medical personnel about Mary. But no one out of all these people know the real story.
And the readers don’t find out either for a very. long. time. At one point, I was thinking that I would never find out and that would be the ‘gotcha-gotcha’ of the book. Oh, but no…..Jackson had a bombshell waiting for my unsuspecting self right in the last pages of the novel.
If anything, this novel will make you feel things for Mary that are deep. I am sincerely connected to her characters. The reality of the book uncanny. I truly believe that this is someone’s life story.
My only teensy-weensy issue with this book is the slang that comes out of nowhere for Mary. The reader sees the way she speaks (her thoughts and with her boyfriend) but about mid-way in she begins to speak with slang words. Weird. And then it drops off and she begins to speak like she did in the beginning, and then it’s back to slang. And maybe that’s the point…that the reader never knew the true Mary….ah, too many loopholes. This book is a freaking conspiracy theory waiting to happen!
Read it. And then you’ll be like me, questioning everything.
Bravo, Tiffany. Your debut novel is a game-changer.