After reading Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson, I knew I would be a fan of her work for life. Her first book was a sucker punch to my feels. Her second was one that forced me to sit back and really take in the words she wrote. It shook me, never wonder about that, but it really made me think about things.
Short recap: Claudia is the only person who seems to have noticed that her best friend, Monday, is missing. Claudia keeps asking and keeps asking but nobody seems concerned that they haven’t seen Monday either. Claudia knows something is terribly wrong so she sets out to find her best friend, regardless of what she might find.
Let it be known that Tiffany D. Jackson can write. This girl has gift for the written word. And while I loved the premise of this story, I felt the execution was lacking a wee bit. I did become confused with the timeline of the story. It is presented in a way known as “Before” and “After” and even “2 Years Before the Before”. That made it a little difficult for me to truly follow what was happening. The momentum was broken and as a result I lost a bit of interest. I was still vested and I still had to know what happened to Monday, but the way in which the story was laid out was a head scratcher. By the end of the story, I understood why Jackson did what she did, but it made for a jagged story.
I did like Claudia’s character and her loyalty to her best friend. Talk about a redeeming characteristic, wow. She was the only character that I really liked. The boy that Claudia becomes friends with was okay but I don’t think Jackson should have focused so much on Claudia trying to flirt and date the boy from church. That did not add any depth to the story for me. There were a lot of adults throughout the story but I was not a fan of any except Claudia’s teacher. I found it a bit strange that no other parent or adult chose to believe Claudia. They admitted they had not seen Monday but chose not to act. Was that because these were young African-American girls in a bad neighborhood so it wasn’t a big deal? Was it because Monday came from a severely broken home and her Mom was a waste of space?
The ending of the story is the huge reveal and shocker – NOT GIVING ANYTHING AWAY – but there was one thing that was revealed that left me wondering what was going on. Maybe it was just me but I didn’t feel it was explained very well and to this day I’m still wondering what was going on. If you read the book, you may know what I’m talking about. If you do, message me! I might need you to explain it to me.
No matter what critic I give in this review, I really did like this book. It was so thought provoking and eye opening, not to mention deeply disturbing. The topics Jackson writes about are real. This story is absolutely no exception. I am still a fan of Jackson and I will still continue to read/review her books. I love the voice she has brought to YA because I think it is necessary. I hope Jackson and her stories are here to stay.
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!
This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:
Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
A gripping, relentless, and timely new novel from critically acclaimed author of Allegedly, Tiffany D. Jackson, about the complex mystery of one teenage girl’s disappearance and the traumatic effects of the truth.
Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.
As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?
I adore this author and loved her first book, Allegedly, so I’m super excited for this book. How about you?
This is one of those books that had been on my radar for a while. I hesitated because there were such mixed reviews that it made me pause on reading it. Finally, it peaked my curiosity enough that I opted to borrow from my library. I’m so glad that I did. Mind you that this is not an easy story, nor does Jackson sugar coat anything. This is a raw, powerful, and compelling story. There are chapters/scenes/times when I wanted to skim or skip because it was so tough to read but that usually makes for the best story.
Short recap: Mary B. Addison killed a baby at the tender age of nine years old… Allegedly. There was no true and factual evidence that proved Mary killed the three month old and Mary never talked about it. That was enough for the courts to convict her regardless. Now a teenager in a half-way house Mary’s life has taken a turn nobody saw coming so will that finally give her the power to find her voice? Will she finally be able to talk about what really happened all of those years ago?
This book was unputdownable. Is that a word? No? Well, I’m making it a word. I was hooked from the start. The story is told from Mary’s POV and this girl had a lot to say, even when she didn’t say a word to anyone. After being convicted and put in “baby jail”, Mary’s life was harsh and terrifying. That’s putting it nicely. The horrible conditions of the group home in which these girls lived blew my mind. The fact that the other girls in the group home were nastier, meaner, and more cut throat than Mary was nothing short of eye opening. Mary was always picked on and the target of the other girl’s hate because she killed a baby. Allegedly. Mary spends a majority of the book trying to figure out a way to get out of this hellish group home life, even more so after she finds out she is pregnant. That is when it clicked in her mind that nobody would let her keep her baby because she had been convicted of killing a baby. Allegedly. Mary’s character was wonderfully complex, broken, and fragile. I loved reading everything from her POV as it made the story more believable. It made me want to cheer her on when it came to finding her voice and speaking the truth of what happened so long ago.
The way the story was told was also incredibly compelling. It was woven together from newspaper articles, police interviews, fragments and excerpts of books, court transcripts and more. This really helped to give depth and perspective to the overall story and cast a shadow of a doubt on Mary’s alleged guilt. Even Mary’s own mother walks around ashamed of what her daughter did. Allegedly. That was a story line I could not get enough of … Mary and her mother. Those two together were like a can of gasoline and a match. It was a matter of time before things came to a head and someone blew up.
Not only was this a powerhouse of a story of what happens in a group home for severely trouble teens convicted of committing crimes, it also shed light on the criminal justice system and the foster care system. It was all believable and realistic. It did not sugar coat anything or make me believe that everything always works out for the best. It reminded me that not every person who works for the criminal justice system and/or the foster care system is a good person. Some people are just nasty no matter what. It added an extra layer to this story that allowed it to really sink it’s claws into me.
Jackson knows how to research and write a hell of a compelling story. This had me on the edge of my seat until the very end. That ending… WHOA! That ending! This book alone made me a Jackson reader for life. I absolutely cannot wait to read what she comes up with next. If you have been thinking about reading this story, please do so. I am only kicking myself because I wish I had read it sooner.