Monday, February 8, 2021

Grown - Tiffany D. Jackson

 

Summary: 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. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

My Review: I didn’t read the description of this book before I checked it out. I had obviously read what it was about before I put it on my “to-read” list, so I knew I wanted to read it, but I have to admit that I was surprised when I actually started reading it. Also, is it just me, or do you have a harder time remembering the title of books when you have them on your e-reader as opposed to a physical book? I checked this out from the library on my phone as the physical copy was eons away from being available. One of the reasons I like a physical book is because I can see what it looks like, read the title, feel the thickness, so how much there is left, etc. Oh well. I’m glad I got to read this book earlier rather than later.

I basically tore through this book. I felt like it was really compelling and addressed a lot of pertinent and relevant issues. Although I am not hip to the music scene (lo there has never been one person who ever tried to convince me to become a rock star), I feel like this book not only exposes the seedy, scary underbelly of that environment, but also larger issues the extend beyond just the music scene.

First off, I liked the way this book was written. It was written in a time hop situation where the chapters are either labeled “Then” or Now.” The book is also divided into parts. The “Now” is basically a very imminent crime scene (and this is the first chapter in the book, so I don’t feel like I’m giving too much away) that we are first introduced to where the music star is dead and Enchanted, the main character, can’t remember what happens. This throws the reader immediately into a question of what exactly has happened, who is at fault, who will be blamed, etc. It’s an effective way to suck the reader in for sure! As I’ve mentioned before, I like knowing why a book is organized the way it is and I feel like book did a great job of that. It was very clear where we were in the story, and when the story merged, it was an obvious connection and natural progression of the story instead of something stark and confusing that left the reader wishing for more info.

The story itself is a spooky one—no one wants to find their loved ones or themselves in a situation where they are in physical and psychological danger, but it is even scarier when that person escapes and no one believes them when they describe what happened. In this era of the Me Too movement and the barrel of predators who have been allowed to get away with this for so long are now finally having their reckoning, this book is timely and yet frightening. The Me Too movement has made strides in this, but there is still a lot of work to do in overcoming our prejudices for what people look like on the outside—whether it be color, race, the way they dress, the way they act, etc. It is not okay to dismiss someone’s situation because of your own bias and prejudice, especially when the one accused is in a position of power, and this book brings all of that to light and provides a means for thought and discussion about why this is still happening.

As with many books, I felt like the resolution to this book came in an abrupt manner. The book itself is very detailed and does a great job of building tension and creating a hopeless-feeling situation. I liked the resolution, I felt like it just could have been fleshed out. The book itself is a little over 400 pages, and yet the resolution was within the last 20 pages or so. I don’t think I would have wanted to give up more in the beginning to get more at the end, but I do think a few more pages and a little more detail would have made it feel not so abrupt.

I think this book is exceptional and a great read for older teens and adults alike. It certainly gives the reader a great place to start a conversation and inner dialogue about how these things happen, our prejudices, and maybe our willingness to believe others when they bravely step forward.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

For the sensitive reader: There is language, violence, sex, and drug use. This book is certainly for older teens and not for sensitive readers. The content is disturbing, but mostly for the fact that it is completely (and frighteningly) relevant.

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