Cover Image: Grown

Grown

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Member Reviews

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ebook ARC of this title. 

HOLY MOLY. This book is incredible, and feels especially timely given the lack of justice for Breonna Taylor today. Tiffany Jackson writes a scathing indictment of powerful men (and their aids and abettors) who prey on girls, as well as the criminal "justice" system that doesn't believe those girls. While reading this book, I couldn't help but think of Malcolm X's words: "The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman." Turns out, Tiffany was thinking about those words too. 

Jackson included a content warning at the beginning of the book. This is something that all books should have!
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Tiffany D. Jackson does not disappoint in her newest release. Grown is a twisted tale that pushes the reader quickly toward the ending. There is a lot of sensitive subject matter surrounding the abusive relationships in this book, but they also provide hope for survivors. 

Enchanted dreams of singing in front of sold out crowds and following her passion to become a singer/songwriter. She auditions for a televised talent competition and meets superstar Korey Fields. He is charming, charismatic, and clearly interested in Enchanted's talent...but is he interested in more than just her music? Grown provides a cautionary tale of power struggles, keeping secrets, and trying to grow up too quickly.

This is one of my favorite reads of 2020 so far. Be sure to check out this captivating tale. 5/5 stars
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This book isn't perfect - there's so much in so little space that it feels rushed throughout and sometimes the dialogue is clunky and unrealistic, but damn, if it doesn't grab you and then doesn't et go until the last page. We need more books like this one: thrilling and suspenseful, yet incredibly socially conscious and with an amazing protagonist to boot.
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Awful and brilliant. Grown had me filled with dread and rage and sympathy and horror. I'm absolutely glad I read it, but even in the lightest moments, even in the unexpected beats and twists of the unfolding mystery, that sense of dread made this a difficult read. It's far more and far worse than just a contemporary YA thriller. It's a revelation and an indictment. 

I usually include a content note at the end of my reviews, but this one requires a more prominent placement. Please handle with care. Content notes: main character Korey Fields is loosely based on R. Kelly and situations described in the book are loosely based on the decades' worth of abuse allegations against R. Kelly, including rape of a minor(s), grooming, brainwashing, controlling and isolating behavior, gaslighting, assault and physical abuse, emotional abuse, manipulation, lying, child pornography, revenge porn, misogyny, underage drinking, substance abuse, addiction, enablement, victim shaming, unsympathetic police and community , mental illness, financial stress      

Told with a dual then-and-now timeline, the book opens with now. Enchanted wakes confused in a room covered in blood and Korey Fields stabbed to death on the bed. The then narrative paints a picture of the normal life of 17-year-old Enchanted "Chanty" Jones: hanging out with teammates and friends; suffering the love and indignities of a large, close-knit Black family that holds onto their suburban life by thin margins; desperately longing to develop her undeniable singing talent into a viable career path; and, once superstar Korey Fields spots Chanty at an audition, falling in love and following the 28-year-old Fields on what she hopes is that path. As then draws closer to now, we watch the path lead to that blood-soaked room and into the mysteries, investigations, and revelations beyond. 

Written in 4 parts and 90 short chapters, there's is a tense, break-neck pace to this book that many readers will find engrossing and some will find merciful. It's compelling and relevant, centers the voice of a talented and strong Black girl, and offers an opportunity for so many important discussions about power and abuse, love and consent, race and gender and vulnerability, community, and more. Highly recommended but with serious caveats for content warnings, and a bit of discomfort about this story being read as a thriller or for "the thrill." 

My thanks to NetGalley and Katherine Tegen Books for a digital ARC.
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This is difficult and at times uncomfortable read. Although fictionalized, this shines a light on toxic abusive relationships and the reason some victims stay in them. The story is captivating but might be triggering to readers that have dealt with abuse, rape, and toxic relationships.
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Enchanted Jones has always wanted to sing professionally. She can't even believe her luck when she auditions for an American-Idol-esque competition, and though she doesn't get chosen to move on, she meets the amazing Korey Fields, the most popular and idolized singer. Korey takes Enchanted under his wing in an effort to give her a push onto the music scene. However, the more Enchanted realizes about her new life with celebrity-status, she wonders if this is where she truly wants to be. 

Rape, abuse, racism, and racial inequalities are important and sensitive topics in this story. The story itself is interesting and compelling, but the message through Enchanted's journey is even more powerful. I highly recommend. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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This book should be required reading for Black girls, women, and anyone who works with them. The author masterfully shared the story of Enchanted Jones, a Black girl seeking validation and belonging in a world that has ignored her. I really appreciate the way that we got a glimpse into her inner thoughts, and how she ended up getting involved with Korey. I have never before encountered a story of abuse and trauma within YA literature. But after reading this book, I know that these are the types of narratives that are needed. Abuse is never as simple as it may seem on the outside, and manipulation is often disguised as love by men who are healing from their own traumas. Overall, I loved this book and highly recommend it!
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17-year-old Enchanted Jones wants to be a singer so badly. When she meets famous musician Korey Fields at an audition, her career and her love life take off. Korey is 28, but the age difference doesn't matter because this is true love - until it isn't. Korey quickly becomes controlling and abusive. I don't want to give too much away, but this book should be considered a must-read for teen girls. It is triggering for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, but I feel strongly that it has the potential to prevent more girls and young women from falling prey to abuse. This book has the potential to save lives by showing teens the warning signs of abusive relationships and human trafficking.  I have so much love for this book. I have read Allegedly and Monday's Not Coming which are also by Tiffany D, Jackson, and while I enjoyed the mind-blowing plot twists in both of them, this one blows them both out of the water. The audiobook is exceptionally well-narrated and I highly recommend it. #Grown #NetGalley
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I had to DNF this book. I've wanted to try reading Tiffany for years, but this was a great disappointment. I got about 20% into the book before giving up. All of the characters felt so inauthentic. They were ignorant of the stupidest things.  As a high school teacher, I was insulted at what she thinks Black teens are like. It just all annoyed me too much to continue.
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Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

Enchanted Jones is a young, talented, aspiring singer, who meets the much older R&B superstar Korey Fields at a singing audition. Enchanted immediately becomes infatuated and gets caught up in the older superstar’s attention and lifestyle. Korey begins to pray on Enchanted and takes advantage of her blind ambition as well as her family circumstances. What begins as a dream quickly turns into a nightmare.

This story, ripped from the headlines, confronts extremely relevant and controversial issues. While understanding the significance, it was not always an easy read for me. It felt at times like an avalanche of occurrence’s and I honestly felt overwhelmed by it – although, maybe that was the point... 

What I really did enjoy is that not only does this novel address extremely difficult topics, it also possesses the elements of a great thriller, which I l really appreciated. There were a number of incidents throughout the book when I was sure I knew what to expect, and how it would end, and I was wrong!  

Whether you’re a fan of YA or not, I recommend reading Grown. This is my second book by Tiffany D. Jackson and it won’t be my last. Both the story and the messages are significant and impactful. We need to speak up, to believe, help, and support each other.  Community is essential, “it takes a village.”  

Thank you to #grown #netgally and the author for my advanced copy.
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This book was hard to read and now review. Definitely check the trigger warnings before you start. This book started as a more typical YA book where girls meets boy. However, it goes into the manipulation and abuse of a man taking advantage of his age and power influence in the relationship to control her and keep her away from her family. The story portrays the stark reality that girls, and Black girls in particular, and expected to act "grown" earlier than others despite still being children. This book was powerful and an important reality to show both for Black girls to know they aren't alone, and other readers to see the damaging expectations society places upon them.
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Grown is not your typical Young Adult read. Tiffany D. Jackson dives deep into issues of sexual assault, substance use, stalking, racism, and the ongoing problem of not believing young survivors of abuse. I highly recommend this book to teens and adults.

Enchanted is a seventeen year old high school student who loves singing. When she finds out about a huge singing competition that allows anyone to register, she jumps at the chance. It's here that she is noticed by famous musician Korey Fields. Korey invites Enchanted into his fold by offering singing lessons, recording time, "friendship," and even invites her on tour with him. The story seems at first like a typical teen romance. However, when it's revealed that Korey is 28 years old and "beet juice" is everywhere, readers know we're in for a ride.

This story is captivating. The evolution of teenage dreams and excitement to reality and horror is vivid. Though the jumping back and forth in timeline was at times confusing, it felt necessary to recreate the trauma that Enchanted was experiencing as she attempted to put together the pieces. The descriptions of sexual abuse, grooming, and eventually captivity resemble the real-life, much-publicized case of R. Kelly. Tiffany D. Jackson notes this at the end, explaining that while there are similarities, this is a much deeper issue. 

Enchanted not only represents the #metoo movement to believe survivors of sexual assault but she also represents the intersectionality of being a Black teenage girl. She is treated as an adult ("grown"), which is outright vocalized on multiple occasions as evidence of her consent and guilt. The commentary that Tiffany D. Jackson provides through this narrative is deeply important to realize how the many identities of survivors - especially race in relation to age - can prevent justice and necessary support for those in need of being heard and healing.

Thank you to Katherine Tegen Books and NetGalley for an advance eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Seventeen is grown, right? At least that's how Enchanted Jones feels. Age ain't nothing but a number to 28-year-old R&B artist Korey Fields. He's a superstar with no one around to tell him no, especially his protégés. He grooms them and makes promises of a successful music career all while robbing the cradle. 

Add locked rooms, sex tapes, high school hangouts and young black female victims to the story. Sound familiar? Then a plot twist! Enchanted Jones wakes up with bloody hands and no recollection of the previous night. Korey Fields is dead!

Grown is clearly inspired by R. Kelly and the very public allegations of abuse. There are way too many similarities ripped from the headlines and documentaries to think otherwise. At first, this was uncomfortable to read and I was unsure whether to continue. It was the opening chapter that kept me reading. I had to finish and see who killed Korey Fields.

Bookhearts, be warned this new novel mentions abuse, assault and addiction. It can be triggering and difficult to read but it respectfully addresses the issues. Thanks to the author for using her literary voice. Well done! And applause for this gorgeous book cover that originally grabbed my attention. It's great to see a black woman with natural hair (recent big chop, maybe?) wearing a pair of gold door-knocker earrings grace the cover. I see you, grown brown girl! 

Happy Pub Day, Tiffany D. Jackson! Grown is now available.

LiteraryMarie
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*The review below is being done on a Netgalley Advanced Reader's Copy of Grown. This review is my own, and I have written it in my honest opinion. 

​Grown is the first book that I have read by Tiffany D. Jackson, and I have to say it was AMAZING! Grown is about a seventeen year old girl named Enchanted who has a beautiful singing voice. During a televised singing competition, Enchanted is approached by the world famous entertainer Korey Fields. Korey is dazzled by Enchanted's voice, and they exchange numbers. One thing to know about Korey Fields though is that he is twenty-eight years old...which makes his communication with Enchanted dangerous. 

Korey offers to take Enchanted under his wing in the music business, and this could be the opportunity of the life-time for Enchanted and her family. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse once Korey becomes a little too obsessed with Enchanted, and he begins to control her interaction with others. When Enchanted joins Korey's tour, she begins to see her family less, and now even her parents cannot get through to her. When Korey is killed, Enchanted becomes a person of interest, but she cannot remember what happened that night. I wish I can say more, but you have to read the book to let Enchanted tell you her story. 

I had found this book hard to read at times, not because it was bad, but because it was so life-like. This book is important to read because it discusses topics of consent, healthy/unhealthy relationships, family, and self-worth. Even though I am not a teenager anymore, it still holds the reminder of what relationships should look like. Since Enchanted is a woman of color, this book also gives us a picture of some of the challenges we encounter. Enchanted is an incredible character on a wild journey, and I am so glad I got the opportunity to read this before release.
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This is an amazing book and certainly lives up to its hype. The first third or so reads like a breeze, and like a dream. It's fun and exciting, and only the reader gets the full sense of foreboding as main character Enchanted gets groomed by the predator pop star. The middle third is VERY hard to read in parts, and trigger warnings abound. I loved the end, and I really appreciated how Jackson managed and manipulated the reader's expectations so that, at some points, we were meant to question Enchanted and her understanding of reality and truth. The way this novel depicted  gaslighting AND used it as a narrative device was fascinating, and not something I've seen done in YA much.
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Tiffany D. Jackson Retrospect- Updated
Disclaimer: This review of Tiffany D. Jackson's Grown serves as an update to one of four of my favorite posts on this site. It is a post I wrote when Let Me Hear A Rhyme came out, last May. At that time, I wrote not just a review of Tiffany D. Jackson's second book, but a collective homage to Tiffany D. Jackson's work, as an author, and I hope, as a person. I initially became of Tiffany D. Jackson when her first book, Allegedly came out, when I attended, what would become my last educational conference- ALAN-YA.
Coincidentally, it is also where I discovered: Adam Silvera, Neil Schusterman, and Holly Black. While I was already well aware of their work. I also had the tremendous honor of meeting, and hearing, both Jason Reynolds, and Angie Thomas speak. My point, and I do have one, is that I have always been a staunch and vocal advocate for Tiffany D. Jackson's work for reasons that I could not always find succinct words for. However, I happened to see Jeff Zenter speak on a panel and he couldn't have put it more perfectly.
Zenter said (and I'm paraphrasing only because at the time I wrote the original post, it had been over a year ago) when you read any of Tiffany D. Jackson's books, she has the ability to take the vegetables (social issues- the most difficult of them, in multitudes) that we need and have to eat. But she does it in a way that wraps those vegetables up in a story that makes the reader feel like they are eating ice cream (that being a wickedly, twisted and entertaining story).
 
 
Thank You To Katherine Tegan For Arcs of Let Me Hear A Rhyme (at the time) and Grown in exchange for an honest review
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This is essential because I don't believe anyone in publishing (not young adult or adult) is doing what Tiffany D. Jackson is doing. I said that when Let Me Hear A Rhyme came out and I stand by it on the day that Grown releases.
 
The rest of the original post will continue after my review of Grown. And I hope that everyone will check it out because one of the things I learned when I posted it, and still find to this day, is that a shocking, disturbing, and depressing amount of people still don't know who Tiffany D. Jackson is, or her of her gifted work.
And if I have to scream my throat raw? I will do whatever I have to do, to change it. If Katherine Tegan was willing to send me a case of books. I would carry them in my car, and I would drive them to schools, libraries, wherever they wanted. I'd carry them with me and leave them mailboxes, hold giveaways and pay for postage.
I do everything I can when I'm throwing books and on my website. That is a given. But if there was more? I would do it. Without a blink of an eye.
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Six Months... Nine?
I keep saying six months. It has actually been more like nine months that I have been gagged to shut-up. Part of that is my fault, fine. The second I downloaded Grown, I stopped everything. Then I did not leave my couch until it was done. That is Tiffany D. Jackson. Once a year, I get this amazing experience where I am not only engaged in social issues where I am forced to value my "verbal shocks." Verbal is in quotes only because I'm reading. But I am, also, entrenched on an entertainment level that should be illegal. The combination of the two? For those of you reading it, in 2020. Let it be a "bright" spot on your bingo card. Bright is in quotes because of Grown's topic. It isn't bright, obviously.
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Disclaimer:
I am always very clear when reviewing a book where things are outside of my lane on what I should and should not discuss. I mentioned it in the original post that this is "technically," serving to update. I am going to go ahead and state that claim again, along with an additional one.
1.	In the third section, I am going to list the themes and social issues that Grown addresses. However, I am not going to comment on them because I don't believe that is my place, to do so. As far as these themes/social issues go, I believe it is my job to shut-up and listen to the community, about them. There are a couple of them that I have read about (non-fiction) or seen media curated by Black Creators. However, that does not make me an expert in any way but in #2.
2.	If you are white like I am. And you read the below list and want to come into my comments with comments such as
o	But white women experience a, b and c...
o	The same comments are made about all women
If #2 is you? Please disavow yourself of the notion that you are going to make those comments on this website. 
I invite discussion. I definitely invite others from the Black Community to tell me if anything I've written is harmful, incomplete, or misinterpreted. For whatever my list is, below. I am still looking through my lens, and am sure to have missed important themes. I will, without question, rewrite, fix, or take it down, until it is correct. 
However, whatever the experience is of the white woman? That same experience, for Black Women, is ten times as harsh and life-threatening, soul-crushing, than for us. That is not invalidating anyone else's life experiences. It is the truth. I have, without a doubt, suffered a couple of these traumatic experiences. They still haunt me. I don't believe it is the same level of trauma as if I was a Black Woman. So, no. You will not come on my site and start that conversation. 
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Grown By Tiffany D. Jackson
Grown *to start* is based on the events surrounding R. Kelly. The girls he abused for decades while making everyone believe they could fly. I remember that song being played at dances. As I got older, I remember hearing it and thinking, but wasn't he accused, if not convicted, of raping underage girls? Why am I hearing this song a decade and more later? It never made sense to me. I never listened to it because I was sure it was the same person. It had to be. I wasn't going to support it. But it bothered me, a lot. It wasn't until the recent airing of Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly that I found out everything that had happened in all the time between those school dances and when I became batshit confused as to why that song was still on the air, and in commercials.
Within that initial starting point, Tiffany Jackson weaves many more themes and racial (micro or otherwise) that Black Women and Teenagers face in society, inner-struggles that Chanty expresses in her inner-dialogue with herself. It is also played out in her interactions with others. Again, I'm going to list them out and also, where I can, pull a couple of quotes that led me to list them (I may not be able to because of spoilers, in some cases). But beyond that, again, I'm not going to analyze them, because it isn't my place to.
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Themes
I don't know if themes are the right word for everything in this list (probably not) but I don't have a better word at the moment.
1.	Rape and Sexual Assault
2.	Mental Abuse and Abusive Relationships (which often includes #1)
o	How it starts with all the shiny promises and then slowly deteriorates
o	Almost without you knowing
o	And then the other personality comes out after you've lost touch with all you care about
o	They've been fed lies, you've been fed lies
o	And that makes "you should just leave" not so "you should just leave
3.	With one and two: Drug Addiction- without even knowing until you are addicted because it is slipped to you.
4.	Older men that are attracted to younger girls, period.
o	Putting the blame where it belongs.
5.	The pressure of (and perception or reality of) to bring your family out of poverty
6.	Status symbols in entertainment and their inner-circle of protectors- again the money factor of what they provide those people to look the other way
o	When it starts- I'm sure a lot of people are going to want to judge Chanty for believing this older, famous singer could be interested in her
o	But - why? I will comment just because of celebrity. I have no issue believing that a 17-year old could meet someone famous and be blinded to the fact that they are getting texted by their favorite singer. Then that person is wooing them, offering their dream to them. And then not wake-up to reality, until it’s too late. Some teenagers would find that sketchy. But MANY, myself included, probably, would have been pretty blind.
7.	When you take all of the above. You have to look at: Blaming the victim
8.	With Grown, the cover is important.
o	There is a lot around wigs that he wants Chanty to wear and a lot of inner dialogue around how she feels, and how it makes her feel
9.	High-school reality (and I'm just going to throw a couple of quotes out)
Parkwood High School is the only private one in the county that doesn't have a strict dress code, but the student handbook specifically says no hats, no short skirts, no "distracting" hairstyles.
Yeah, I can read between the words unsaid there, too. I solved that problem by shaving off my locs. But somehow, my presence is still distracting.
My goggles are tight, but on purpose. I hate when chlorine slips through the crevices and I end up with red eyes like I've been smoking a blunt. Not that I'd know what that's like but being one of the ten black students in the entire school.... the stupid assumption would be too easy.
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Characters
Chanty is a girl with a dream. She wants to be a singer and at the very moment, that dream doesn't come true? Along comes this handsome star and he offers her everything. Chanty thinks she's grown. But she isn't. Through her actions and dialogue. Tiffany Jackson demonstrates that she isn't it. But see, it doesn't matter. That isn't the point. He knew better, as the hashtag goes. Or at least, he sure as hell should have.
Chanty wanted so much to believe in this dream. That he was her everything. Her dream, love, and forever. And when her friends and family warned her, distrusted it. She believed it for them until they believed it too. And then Jackson wrote Korey as perfectly as she wrote Chanty. The Jeckell/Hyde personality switched on and off that gave me blood-curling whiplash.
He wasn't the Korey in the study that sang with Chanty, related to her, and wooed her into believing he was her everything. Now he was barking at her to get off her phone. He was convincing her that every time he snapped at her, it was her fault. And that her family and friends weren't showing up because they didn't care. When really, he wasn't telling them. And that's just the start of how good he played the nice Korey and how sinister the true Korey really was.
I can't talk a whole lot about the supporting cast without spoiling a lot. When you see them, though? They are essential and powerful. I'll leave it there. Tiffany Jackson will tell you the rest.
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Multiple Worlds
It isn't just that Tiffany Jackson created multiple places- where Chanty came from, her high school, her home. And then the life she has with Korey, on the road. And then what life is like when he turns into the Korey she can't recognize. The one she blames herself for.
Jackson also builds emotional worlds. Chanty is forced to compartmentalize some much of what is happening to her out of a sheer need to survive, because of the trauma that is inflicted. In the moment that it starts and as it continues to worsen, Chanty is constantly in a state of trying to sort things out. There are multiple fronts hitting her at once that are severely traumatic. And again, I can't say what all of them are, but they cause a dynamic within her mind.
Because it is a first-person narrative, it was crucial that readers experience all of these different emotional states through Chanty. Those emotional states are almost as erratic at times as Korey's and because of that, it is disruptive and impactful on whatever physical setting they may be in. That illuminates and heightens the suspense, impact, and reality of not just the ice cream of the story but the vegetables, as well.
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Before I Jump Back In Time To A Year Ago...
From start to end Grown is a fast-paced mystery, a thriller that doesn't stop. It will keep readers enthralled from the first word till the last. That is wrapped up in various themes that speak to the Black Girl/Woman experience. That means that it is just as important for white women, as much as Black Women to read it. Because we need to stop being ignorant, blind, or uncaring to these plights. We need to shut up and listen. We need to understand more and better.
Also, we need to read more diversely within diversity. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn comes out today, for example. It is not entered in Black Trauma. Read it, too. I am. I'm creating a whole table for non-trauma centered works by Black Authors/Black Main Characters at the bookstore. Both are essential. Both need to be lifted up. There are so many amazing works coming out. Whatever your genre, your reading preference (no one is asking anyone to read genres they don't like- I am not- you don't have to- there's plenty to find), find books that will remove your blinders and those that are just great reads. And review them, share them, discuss them. Support them.
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Now... From May 2019--- 
Before I Get To Let Me Hear A Rhyme By Tiffany D. Jackson
First, both Allegedly and Monday's Not Coming came out before my blog started. So, this is the first Tiffany D. Jackson book I have had to review. It is everything and more. Second, it has become woefully aware to me during my time reviewing books, how few people are aware of Tiffany D. Jackson's work and that breaks my heart.
I couldn't do justice to Let Me Hear a Rhyme without at least introducing those that are not yet aware of what makes her work unique; the epitome of reaching those that otherwise have not the exposure, or do have the ability to ignore injustice with a riveting plot that seizes you from the first page, and doesn't let go until the final gut punch that leaves you breathless and renders you forever changed. Last, it is impossible to review any book by Tiffany D. Jackson without giving away the entire book. The less you know going in, the more you'll enjoy it.
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                        Allegedly And Monday's Not Coming By Tiffany D. Jackson 
 
 
What I can do, is what I did above. I can talk about "the vegetables." I can even tell you about <some of> the ice cream. I tried not to do that with the first two novels for fear of this post becoming a novel unto itself. However, that is about as far as I can go. And that isn't nearly enough.
 
 
 
 
Recently, I had an incredible conversation about Tiffany D. Jackson's first book, Allegedly, with someone that broke down at least a half-dozen social issues including, but not limited to, the juvenile incarceration system, the profiting prison system, mismanaged group homes, post-incarceration leading to the broken cyclical system of poverty, and who is responsible for how broken these children become. Thus, leading to the further actions and consequences of a system based on keeping marginalized people down rather than providing support, solutions and ways to lift them up- breaking that cycle.
Were that conversation repeated around Monday's Not Coming,  I have no doubt that it would repeat. However, the discussion would surround the blind-eye of justice in DC when it comes to missing African American girls. In addition, the broken Child and Protective Service Agencies that serve not just DC, but cities across the nation because these are the social issues that inspired Jackson's second novel.
Stats and quotes regarding Monday's Not Coming below:
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April 2019 Stats On Missing African-American Girls
In an article published in April 2019 by the Washington Informer the following stat was given:
More than 424,066 girls of all races have gone missing since the beginning of 2018, according to NCMEC. More than half of that total are women and girls of color, according to BAM, which, like NCMEC, rely on statistics from the FBI.
You would think someone would have developed a task force or do something. But no. That number has just continued to grow. In an article from Bustle (I highly suggest you read the entire article... Jackson stated:
I incorporated the way kids slip through the cracks in the system, the way there is no immediate sense of urgency when black teen girls go missing, and lifted parts of their tragic end. I also focused on the media bias when it comes to reporting about missing white children vs. missing children of color. Coincidentally, when I turned in the book to my editor, the hashtag #missinggirlsDC had just gone viral.
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Let Me Hear A Rhyme
So here is what I can tell you about Let Me Hear a Rhyme. In regards to everything mentioned in Jackson's previous works? Checkmate. 
Steph is a budding musician with so much to give to the world when a senseless shooting ends his young life. No one is talking about it, no one seems to care. Least of all the cops but his closest friends and sister want answers. Aiming to find out what happened and let his music see the light of day, they find his unfinished songs and give them their time in the sun. Starting in clubs, everything is going great until a label hears it and wants to sign Steph.
Except, of course, Steph is dead. Why let death stop you? The plan is hatched and they go along with dead Steph signing a record deal with said record company oblivious to their dead star. When the secret of Steph's death and the circumstances around it come to light? Everything starts to unravel, and spiral out of control. Soon the trio realizes that trying to outrun death is one thing. Outrunning the secrets left in the wake of death, secrets still held by the living is impossible.
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Privilege and Judgement- SHUT UP
Before continuing, I need to qualify the following because while I was born and raised in Brooklyn, before moving to the Midwest at 32, I am Brooklyn-Italian, white- Caucasian.
That doesn't give me any right to say I understand or have even learned to understand what it was like then or now to be a person of color in any part of this country, Brooklyn included.
Brooklyn wasn't a picnic for anyone when I was growing up. But that gives me no right or space to claim any voice in this discussion. What I can do? Is shut up, read, learn, and have a sense of moral compassion, empathy, and foremost lack of judgment. 
Anyone who judges Jazz for relating to Malcolm X's beliefs, or why a character falls into dealing drugs? SHUT UP. You want to judge Jackson for writing those characters and their choices? SHUT UP. You had privilege, choice, and didn't know. You weren't there. I don't know and so it isn't my place to say anything. It is only my place to shut up, listen, and learn what I didn't know about any of it and shamefully understand how little I knew then and how little has changed in almost forty years.
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I Wrote This Over A Year Ago... And Yet... 
(I.e I wrote this over a year ago when reviewing Let Me Hear A Rhyme) Police brutality, talented lives cut off too soon, young lives left behind and now traumatized forever, poverty, and desperate "choices" are all dealt with throughout the storyline in Let Me Hear a Rhyme. Testing the strength of friendship, love, and the ability to find where you stand, along with the willingness to fight for it, at all costs are at its core.
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Tiffany D. Jackson Wrote The Shit Out OF It
First, there is interwoven music and pop culture of the nineties that are utilized brilliantly. I won't pretend to know all of it, but I knew some of it and it brought back a lot of memories. Hell, the way Tiffany D. Jackson brought Brooklyn to life as a character in ways that you would only understand if you lived there? It made me smile and rarely, if at all, do I miss my hometown. See people assume that if you are from NYC, you've seen the world. They don't get it. If you live in Brooklyn? Queens might as well be France. You are lucky if you leave your five-block radius in a year, let alone any given day. Jackson gets it.
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The Ice Cream... Wait For It...
How about the ice cream you ask? How can you take all that heavy... the vegetables and make it digestible and accessible... the ice cream? Well. Let me tell you. This is a bit of a contrast to the "ice cream" parts of Monday's Not Coming and Allegedly, which offered the entertaining storyline up in a much more dark and twisted fashion that doubled down on Shonda Rhimes territory. However, make no mistake, this was incredibly twisty and irresistibly fun.
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Remember That Movie? Weekend At Bernie's?
Well maybe you don't

These two guys trying to get ahead in a company find out someone is embezzling large sums of money at this company they work for. Thinking they are going to be handsomely rewarded; they tell the CEO. However, it is the CEO that is embezzling and he's doing it for some very dangerous people.
They have decided he's gotten a bit sloppy. So, when Bernie (CEO) invites the kids over to his house in the Hamptons, he thinks it is so his dangerous crew can kill them.
Except, SURPRISE! They kill Bernie to pin it on the kids. Double surprise! The kids freak out and run around the Hamptons with a dead Bernie all weekend. I'm not saying Jackson got the idea for parts of Let's Hear a Rhyme from Weekend at Bernie’s but, I think I remember a tweet where she mentioned it but don't quote me on it.
ng storyline up in a much more dark and twisted fashion that doubled down on Shonda Rhimes territory. However, make no mistake, this was incredibly twisty and irresistibly fun.

Remember That Movie? Weekend At Bernie's?

Well maybe you don't

These two guys trying to get ahead in a company find out someone is embezzling large sums of money at this company they work for. Thinking they are going to be handsomely rewarded; they tell the CEO. However, it is the CEO that is embezzling and he's doing it for some very dangerous people.

They have decided he's gotten a bit sloppy. So, when Bernie (CEO) invites the kids over to his house in the Hamptons, he thinks it is so his dangerous crew can kill them.

Except, SURPRISE! They kill Bernie to pin it on the kids. Double surprise! The kids freak out and run around the Hamptons with a dead Bernie all weekend. I'm not saying Jackson got the idea for parts of Let's Hear a Rhyme from Weekend at Bernie’s but, I think I remember a tweet where she mentioned it but don't quote me on it.

Either Way

I certainly had flashbacks to it that were highly entertaining.  Until it couldn't be anymore.

But as I stated before, there is just no way to explain what that means without all the spoilers and leaving you to form your own view of the vegetables. And that is what Tiffany D. Jackson does. And she's the only one doing it.

It is a better publishing world, a better world period, for having her put the gift of her talent into it. If you don't know her talent. If you don't know the causes upon which she stands? You are doing life wrong.




I said that in May of 2019 and I will day on that hill still today,
and I imagine for as long as Tiffany D. Jackson continues writing books.
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"He knew better." That's the one singular, blazing, brilliant message of this book, and in Grown, Tiffany Jackson drives that message home. By telling 17-year-old Enchanted's story through her eyes, we see every decision she makes and every decision that the world will hold against her in the face of trauma, but we also see the terror of a teenager facing impossible and horrifying situations. 

Jackson took me on a journey where I'll admit I started off reading Enchanted's character as "grown." I was lured into that characterization both from her proud adult-like appearance on the cover and her confidence on the page, but as the story goes on, Enchanted's grown appearance cracks and her youth is revealed in heart-breaking ways. This story will stay with me and has changed the way I read "romance" with YA characters and adult romantic interests forever.

** e-ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review **
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I devoured GROWN  in a single sitting, up past two in the morning because I couldn't put it down. An absolute masterpiece and everyone should read it. This book meant so much to me as a survivor. I can’t imagine how much more it will mean to Black women survivors. Absolutely gutwrenching and poetic and beautiful. It’s been so long since a book made me cry.


https://twitter.com/sosaidvictoria/status/1304785121493618688?s=20
https://twitter.com/sosaidvictoria/status/1305877950399746049?s=20
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Tiffany Jackson definitely never disappoints. “Grown” captures the reader as Enchanted embarks on a journey to fulfill her dreams in the music industry. She definitely has undeniable talent. Unfortunately, she second guesses those gut feelings that warn her of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. The dark reality is slowly revealed and she can no longer turn away from the nightmare she lives. “Grown” is a roller coaster of emotions to anyone familiar with Jackson’s work.
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Grown is ripped-from-the-headlines Young Adult fiction from Tiffany D. Jackson.  

Seventeen-year-old high school student, Enchanted Jones, awakens covered in blood with no memory of what has occurred. Her dream of being a professional singer has gone all wrong. She was ecstatic when esteemed R&B singer, Korey Fields, acknowledged her and became her mentor, that is, until she met the other Korey. Her role model has a “dark” side. Now, Korey is dead and the police are banging at the door. Her hopes and dreams are dead too. Her promising life has imploded. 

Grown is my introduction to Tiffany D. Jackson, and I am impressed with her social commentary. The story alternates between the present and the recent past: Now and Then. This writing technique is especially impactful here. Enchanted is every Black girl with a dream. She is the embodiment of many societal ills. Her story is the hidden burden placed upon many women, but is even more prevalent and devastating for women of color, especially young women and girls. Those without a voice, at least without one that’s heard and believed. Serious issues are explored in this novel. Reality is exposed. Eyes and minds will be opened. I was shattered but couldn’t put it down. I am compelled to rate this novel 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to all readers of Young Adult fiction and anyone who enjoys a good suspense novel. 

My thanks to HarperCollins Children's Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
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