Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Grown by Tiffany D Jackson

Grown by Tiffany D Jackson
Release Date - September 15, 2020
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Korey Fields is dead.

When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn't how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.

Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.

Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?

All signs point to Enchanted. 
I knew I wanted to read Grown the instant I read the synopsis. A murder mystery always piques my interest and even more so when it has something else folded into it. This combines a harrowing story of an abusive relationship with a very satisfying mystery to create a compulsively readable book.

The first thing that I need to discuss is the writing. It is executed in such a way that makes the pacing flow really smoothly. The reader is invested in the story from the beginning because of the way everything is set up. Tiffany D Jackson makes it look effortless and that is all just a testament to her talent.

Enchanted has big dreams. She wants to be a professional singer. She has the voice to back up these dreams. I appreciated the care that was taken to make Enchanted feel her age. She always reads like a kid. A fifteen year old but a kid nonetheless. This ensures that the reader never for one second forgets the dynamics of what is happening between her and Korey. Her regular teen worries and hopes are just another element that works to hammer home thr message of this book.

There is a fine line to be walked in books like this. Ws see everything through Enchanted's eyes and as a result the reader has to see how easy it is to fall into this kind of relationship. They have to see the side of Korey that Enchanted sees. This also has to be contrasted with showing that this is an abusive relationship right from the beginning. This book does this perfectly. There are so many red flags but it is entirely believable that Enchanted would not see them until it is much too late. As an adult I can see the power imbalance due to both the ages of the characters and the difference in status. I am not sure I would have seen those red flags as clearly as a teen which is the entire point of the novel. No matter what he knew better. 

The content warning in the beginning is not to be taken lightly. This is an abusive relationship in many different ways and the book shows many different kinds of abuse. It tackles verbal, physical, and sexual just to name a few. It is a tough, but important read. We hear stories like this too often. Young girls are sexualized and preyed upon and yet they sometimes are not even seen as victim thanks to society wanting to make excuses that often blame them for what happened. It all fits into rape culture and it was refreshing to see it presented in such a clear cut way.

The other element of the book is the mystery of what happened the night Korey Fields was murdered. The mystery is taunt and written in such a way that makes putting down this book almost impossible. I was pleasantly surprised that the answer to the question of what happened was not as straight forward as I was anticipating and that the ending packed a satisfying punch when it landed. A book like this needs to nail the ending and that is more than accomplished here.

Grown may have been the first book I've read by Tiffany Jackson but it will definitely not be the last. I had no clue that Tiffany's books would hit my true crime loving sweet spot but now that I do I will be making my way through her back catalog. I highly recommend this one if you like a good murder mystery and books that deal with tough but important topics.

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