Posted in Shattering Stigmas

Welcome to Shattering Stigmas 4.0

October has rolled around once again. Everyone has their “spooky” names on Twitter, people are coveting their ridiculous pumpkin spice products and, at least here in the Northeast, there’s a subtle chill in the air and the leaves are tinged with yellow and red.

And it’s time for a new year of Shattering Stigmas, an annual two-week blogging event dedicated to ending the stigma against mental illness through the sharing of personal essays, media and book lists centered on mental health. If you’re new to Shattering Stigmas, welcome. If not, thanks for coming back. Either way, thank you for your support of this project and I hope you find it useful in some way. Posts will be going up every day until October 20.

Shattering Stigmas was started by the lovely and wonderful Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight three years ago and none of this would be possible without the immeasurable amount of work she has devoted to it since it began. I took over the organization of it because I firmly believe in the power of these stories and the power of offering people a platform to speak their truths without shame and judgement. We can all learn by listening to each other with respect and empathy.

I am not alone in organizing Shattering Stigmas this year. I am joined by four amazing co-hosts who have put an equal amount of work and energy into this project: Madalyn @ Novel Ink, Kitty @ Jelly Fable, Ben @ Ace of Bens and Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books. Without them, Shattering Stigmas would not be possible. Be sure to check out their blogs and follow them to keep up with all of the amazing posts people wrote for us.

I hope that over the next two weeks, you’ll read and engage with as many of the posts you can as we continue the conversation about mental health. Each year, I’m so struck at the honesty, courage and power that our writers bring to their pieces. Listen to our stories. Share your truth. End the stigma. And thank you for your support.

Enter our *international* giveaway for a mental health read of your choice!

Interested in more Shattering Stigmas posts? Check out this post that Ben, another of our amazing co-hosts, put together listing every single Shattering Stigmas guest post and giveaway so you don’t miss a thing!

Posted in Book Review

Review: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

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Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, HarperTeen, 496 pp.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Content Warnings: Emotional abuse, child abuse, depression, performance anxiety, death of a dog

If you enjoy books that have queer protagonists, a whole lot of wit, even more heart, media elements and capture the essence of being a nerdy, overachieving teen…well, you’re going to love this book. Alice Oseman’s newest YA novel Radio Silence is the quirky, poignant and unforgettable story of two British teens, Frances Janvier and Alex Last, who make a podcast together. This is one of those books that I’ve read and its characters and messages have stayed with me. There’s mystery. There’s a touch of romance. There’s a lot of anxiety and angst. Overall, this is a book that brims over with hope. Also, it’s a boy-girl friendship book where there’s no romance. Huzzah!

Let’s start off with the representation in this book. There is bisexual and demisexual (on the page!! My only complaint is that it didn’t appear sooner in the story, especially since I picked up on what was going on pretty early in) representation. I really like the way that the characters discuss their sexuality and that they are given the agency to describe how they identify and what that means to them in the story.  Francis is also a WoC. Finally there is representation of depressive symptoms in the book that felt quite strong, especially since they are related to the anxiety and difficulty of transitioning to college, which is a topic I wish was more present in YA.

Central to the plot of Radio Silence is the podcast Universe City, in which an androgynous protagonist is searching for meanping in an unforgiving world. I loved the parts of the book that showed the characters filming the podcast, how they discussed and developed the storyline of the show, the representation of the online fandom of the podcast and discovering what the podcast meant to the character who created it.  I’m being intentionally vague in discussing the details so as to be as spoiler-free as possible. I want y’all to enjoy every twist and turn like I did.

Another aspect of this book that I really liked was the setting. The book is set in a small Wnglish town but the characters travel to numerous larger towns and cities, including London. I really enjoyed getting to read a book set somewhere else in the world.  I was a little confused by how their school system worked because I’m not familiar with the British educational system, but it was easy to catch on.

I also really loved the quirkiness and preoccupation of the two main characters with grades and school work. This was the first time I saw the part of my teenage self that would stress herself out over studying to the point of literal insanity in a book and it was great. Francis and Alex are also super nerdy and I loved the descriptions of how they became friends through their shared neediness. Its part of what made these characters so unforgettable. There’s also a message about how multiple paths can lead to success in this book, which I think is important for teens who live in a world where getting good grades and then going to and succeeding in a specific type of college in a specific type of program is presented as the best possible option and they are somehow lesser than if they don’t achieve that, which is absolute fucking bullshit.

My biggest issue with this book was its length. Its long for a contemporary and I’m a fan of boos that are pretty quickly paced. This book seemed to drag on for me and it felt like it took me forever to finish it, which ultimately took away some of the joy I had from the story. Still, its a solid read and I really enjoyed the fun, twisty, heartbreaking story. It is definitely a book that I am going to be recommending for a while.

Posted in Book Review

Review: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

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Top Ten by Katie Cotugno, Balzer & Bray, 320 pp.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ 1/2

Content Warnings: social anxiety, brain injury & trauma, absentee parenting

I love cute and fluffy books with a streak of dark. However, I am also a bit tired of the childhood best friends falling in love trope. This sums up my complicated feelings about Katie Cotugno’s newest novel Top TenI really liked it. It has a bisexual female protagonist with social anxiety that was the first representation of explicit social anxiety I have read in YA. It has a cute, soft jock protagonist as well. The writing was good and the setting was lively. It is told in the format of a top ten lis and in a non-linear format. And yet, for me the spark just wasn’t there. The overarching reason for my review of this book is that I personally did not connect with it, but I feel like I there’s a lot of good in it that I want to gush about.

Top Ten is the story of Ryan and Gabby, who formed an unlikely friendship their freshman year of high school after they accidentally meet at a party. The novel begins with Ryan and Gabby hooking up shortly after their high school graduation and then jumps around to various major moments in their friendship. This is a book full of heart and heartbreak, friendship and romance. It’s cute and it’s fun and it has some serious discussions about issues that I haven’t seen widely represented in YA.

I loved the representation of Gabby’s social anxiety because it felt very similar to my own. I share her fear of social situation and parties. It was reassuring to see a character that was so similar to me on the page. I also loved the representation of Ryan’s struggles with concussions as a hockey player. Student athletics are so underrepresented in YA and I haven’t really seen the health issues associated with student athletics represented in YA, so that was something interesting to see.

Overall, I really liked the writing style of the book. The dialog was well-written. It was descriptive and the scenes flowed well. I just think the non-linear narrative didn’t work for me because it lacked the natural build up of a linear narrative. If you’re looking for a fun contemporary romance with quirky characters and a lot of heart, then I would definitely recommend this book.

Posted in Book Review

Review: Water in May by Ismée Williams

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Water in May by Ismée Williams, Amulet Books, 320 pp.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 1/2

Content Warnings: Doctors’ offices, scenes in hospitals and intensive care units, pregnancy & birth, violence, infant death.

Every once in  a while, I read a story that’s truly special because it exposes the best of humanity in the worst and unfairest situations. One such novel is Ismée Williams’ debut Water in May, out today from Amulet. Fifteen-year-old Mari Pujols is pregnant with the baby who thinks will save her family and change her future. Then she finds out that the baby has a severe and potentially fatal heart defect. Suddenly, Mari must make tough choices about her baby and her future in this riveting tale of family, friendship, motherhood and resilience.

I first want to acknowledge that I love this is a book written by a former pediatric cardiologist and a WoC that features a Latina protagonist. The book features a list of Dominican slang in the front and the language and culture of Mari’s Dominican family and group of friends shines through the pages of this book. If you are looking to read more diverse books, I highly recommend this beautifully written novel that shows the experiences of a WoC and inner city teen life.

My favorite part of this book was Mari and her voice. The writing was so rich and descriptive. I loved how there was both strength and vulnerability in her voice. Mari is a fighter with a past criminal history and a complicated family history. Her mom is an addict, her dad is in prison and she has a fraught relationship with her abuela. I found myself rooting for Mari from the first page.

I also loved her three friends (Yaz, Teri and Heavenly) and the ways that the four girls loved and supported one another. If you are looking for a book about girl power and strong female relationships, then Water in May is the book for you. I even liked the depiction of Mari’s relationship with her baby’s father, Bertie, and found the way their relationship changed to be one of the most tearjerking parts of this emotional read. The parts that take place in the NICU are also particularly emotional, but William’s description of procedures and nurses and the overall environment is spot-on.

The storytelling and pacing is also spot on. Williams did a great job juggling all of the subplots in this book. The descriptions are great. The dialog is spot-on. There are twists and turns you won’t see coming. I also loved how at the core of this story is a doctor, Dr. Love, who fights for his patient and a mother who fights for her child against all odds. If I am going to read a book that I know will be emotionally taxing, I like it to be full of hope and inner strength. Water in May did not disappoint. It exceeded all my expectations and left me in tears. I hope it’ll leave you teary-eyed as well, with joy and a little bit of sadness. There are more moments I loved in this book that I would love to gush about, but read this book first and then find me and we can gush together. This is the kind of book I don’t want to spoil. I want you all to take this intense and powerful storytelling journey and enjoy it as much as I did.

Posted in Book Review

Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

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Dear Martin by Nic Stone, Crown Books for Young Readers, 224 pp.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Content Warnings: Police brutality, racism, gun violence, gang violence, grief & loss 

This book joins All-American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and others that deal with the topic of black teens confronting issues of racial inequality and police violence in twenty-first century America. However, these novels don’t feel like “issue” books because of the tremendous grace and empathy with which they were written. Powerfully voiced and emotionally written, Dear Martin by Nic Stone is a force of a novel about Justyce, an intelligent black teen dealing with the loss of his best friend Manny during an altercation with an off-duty police officer.

I read this book in one-sitting and was in tears by the end. This book is powerful and it packs a punch in such a short length of a book. The dialogue was fantastically written and felt like actual teens speaking, which is harder to find in YA than it should be. I loved the brutal honesty of Justyce’s letters to Dr. King.

My only issue with this book was the length. While I enjoyed it being such a short read, it just felt like there should have been more of this book. While a lot of books would benefit from being 100 pages shorter, this one would have benefitted from being 100 pages longer. The major plot point of the book doesn’t take place until halfway through. The first half felt like a lot of context and build-up and the second half felt very very quick. I would have liked the pacing of this book to be a little bit more even.

Overall, I loved this gem of a book. It was packed with so much feeling and was written with such urgency that it was so easy to get lost in it in the opening pages. If you a white book blogger who wants to learn more about racial issues in America and why they are important, I highly recommend reading this book instead of trying to get free education from PoC on Twitter. This book approaches discussions of race with nuance and subtlety that taught me so much, and I am so grateful for this reading experience. I highly recommend this book and also recommend you seek out and boost #ownvoices reviews of this book as well.

Posted in Book Review

Review: 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

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27 Hours by Tristina Wright, EntangledTeen, 400 pp. 

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Content Warnings: Colonialism, violence, death

This review doesn’t need a hook because I’m just going to say it: Tristina Wright’s novel 27 Hours is my overall top pick of 2017. Keep in mind that I read this book in June and I know I’m not going to change my mind. This book stole my heart in the best way and if you are reading this, I hope you are either requesting, buying or begging your friend to loan you a copy of this book ASAP.

Pitched as “queer kids in space” (there are no allo cishet MC’s and it’s AMAZING), 27 Hours is a stunning, high concept sci-fi novel about a mismatched band of teens who must save the human population on their alien moon in the course of a single night. The narrative structure of this novel, told hour by hour, kept me on the edge of my seat until the end. I’m not usually a science fiction reader, but this book literally made me want to go out and read every good science fiction book I could get my hands on. I still haven’t totally ruled that out.

Let’s talk about the characters because I love each and every one of them. If you’re a fan of Six of Crows or novels with big casts that have characters with lots of personality, then you are going to LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. Rumor is arguable the main main character of this book. After watching his dad sacrifice himself to monsters, he escapes his city on a mission to save his moon. He’s so full of angst and broodiness. So much love for him! And then there’s Jude, a book who has lived among the chimera in the trees. He’s soft and amazing and adorable. There’s Trick, who’s protective and adorable.

And *happy sigh*, there’s Braeden, who’s smol and bighearted and so, so, so freaking ace. I read this book after two books with ace rep that disappointed me and hurt me in ways that I didn’t even know were possible. One of them made me feel the worst about my orientation that I have ever felt in my entire life and this book, and Braeden’s rep in particular, validated me and healed me ways that I vitally needed. Legit, he fiddles with his black ace ring in the fourth paragraph of his first chapter and I had to throw the book down because I do that ALL the time and I never expected to see it represented in a book. I was in actual happy tears. I can’t tell you all how much it means for me that Braeden exists as a character. He was the kind of ace rep I’ve always wanted and needed.

Moving on…….Dahlia is a black trans girl who is sweet and kind and I had so much love for her. Nyx is a pansexual Deaf girl who can hear the moon speak to her. She was my second favorite character in this book and from her love for Dahlia to her friendship with Braeden, I just couldn’t. It was all so good.

I am in awe and admiration at how Tristina pulled all the elements of this plot together. It is so intricate and complicated with interwoven subplots. Seriously, just based on power of storytelling, this book is a masterpiece.

I also loved the setting. I’m not usually a fan of books that are set in space, but this one just left me wanting more and more and more of this world. From the forest people to the colonies to the HUB’s, it was all so vivid and beautiful. I’m really, really looking forward to more books set in this world. Plus the writing is amazing. Seriously.

In terms of my critique, the only critique I had about this book was that while Braeden is clearly identified as asexual, it feels like he is aromantic as well and that’s never mentioned in the text. I wish that his romantic orientation was clarified in the book because if is aroace, aroace readers deserve that explicit identification.

Additionally, Aimal from Bookshelves & Paperbacks wrote an amazing and nuanced review that critiques the race rep in this book that I think everyone who reads 27 Hours should read because it raises some really crucial issues.

Overall, my heart is bursting with love for this book. While it’s not perfect (and no book is), this is the book that was clearly written with the intent of inclusivity and damn good storytelling. It’s the kind of book that so, so, so many different kinds of teens will be able to find themselves in. If you want a book about love, friendship, family or fighting for what’s right, this book is for you. Also a note that I look forward to whatever Tristina has out next, because I know I’m going to be reading it.

27 Hours is out October 3, but you can pre-order now it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local indie!

Posted in Pitch Wars 2017

#PimpMyBio Post

 

IMG_7847.JPGThis post is going to be a bit of a mess because 1) I’m not really sure what y’all want/need to know and 2) this is my first time doing #PitchWars (and I’m highkey excited about it). Starting with the basics, my name is Taylor, I’m 22 and I live in New Jersey not far from NYC. I’ll be submitting Talk to Me, my YA contemporary romance that features queer, mental illness and disability rep. It tells the story of a socially anxious boy who meets a queer, aphasiac girl who steals his heart, but helps him find his voice. Now let me tell you a bit more about my book and then me! Since I love top ten lists (I have books of them), let’s try that format!

10 Facts About My Story!

1. Talk to Me is a YA contemporary romance about three teens who are all experiencing some kind of identity crisis and it’s only when their lives intersect their senior year of high school that they start to figure out. It’s an atmospheric, neurodivergent love story about art, secrets, pranks and kissing. 🙂

2. My three narrators are Grace, Zach and Mason. Grace is a sassy artist who has expressive aphasia and selective mutism, so she doesn’t speak or write. Zach is a math nerd and baseball player with social anxiety who can’t speak up for himself. Mason is Zach’s best friend; impulsive and brooding, him and Grace share a secret past.

3. My chapters are labeled one-point perspective, two-point perspective and three-point perspective based on how many of my characters narrate in each one. The names come from the systems of ocular perspective and I chose to do this because Grace is an artist!

4. Zach’s social anxiety is #ownvoices. It was interesting to write a character with social anxiety like mine and focus on the subtleties of it and how it affects the decisions he makes and relationships with other people.

5. The story takes place in Western New Jersey and is loosely based off a small town that I visit often because of its independent book store.

6. Grace’s experiences as a painter were very much informed by my own experiences as an artist.

7. Family is a huge part of the book. Grace, Zach and Mason’s families aren’t perfect, but it was interesting to write imperfect parents who really do love their children even if they make stupid or seemingly unfair choices. I wish parents were more present in YA!

8. The easiest part of writing this book was writing Grace’s voice, because her voice is most similar to me as a person, but still different. There are pieces of me in Zach and Mason, too.

9. The hardest part of writing this book was getting the plot down and figuring out the arc of each character. It was a fun challenge, though!

10. This manuscript is the one that made me want to really be a writer. It’s brought me to so many experiences from #CPMatch to #PitMad and now to #PitchWars. I’ll always be so grateful to this story and these characters for helping me evolve as an artist!

10 Facts About Me!

1. I recently graduated Drew University with a B.A. in English and Art History. I also minored in French, received specialized honors in English and graduated with Civic Honors. In September, I’ll be starting an individualized studies graduate program at NYU to study Intersectional Feminism in Contemporary Art and Literature.

2. I’m neurodivergent, which makes it difficult to write sometimes, but I get through it with the help of very patient and understanding friends and fellow writers. I try to bring my experiences of social anxiety, generalized anxiety and depression into my stories because they’re the stories I needed when I was a teen and didn’t always have.

3. I’m aro-spec and ace-spec and try to include LGBTQUPIA+ characters in all of my stories.

4. I love to knit and crochet! I always have waaaaay too many projects I’m working on.

5. I love to paint. Basically, I just love to be creative in as many ways as possible.

6. I’m a huge Broadway nerd. I love seeing musicals and plays in the city. Some of my favorites are Dear Evan HansenSpring Awakening, Rent and If/Then!

7. I’m always listening to music when I’m writing. I need background noise.

8. I’m a night owl, so you’ll usually find me writing at 2 am.

9. If I’m not writing, reading, sleeping, crocheting, knitting or painting, I’m probably riding my bike or down the shore.

10. I have ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) so don’t be offended if I’m kind of pushy about where we go if we ever grab lunch. 😉

That’s all you need to know! If you want to know more or see what I’m up to, you can find me on Twitter @tayberryjelly.

Posted in Book Review

Micro-Review Monday: No Good Deed by Goldy Moldavsky

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Book: No Good Deed by Goldy Moldavsky

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

3 Pros: Funny, Great, Diverse Characters, Easy Read

3 Cons: Humor Went Too Far Sometimes, Bit Too Melodramatic, Wish It Had More Substance

Become Best Friends Forever/Punch in the Face/Kiss on the Mouth: I would become best friends with Ashley because she’s weird, but loyal. I would punch Men’s Right because he’s an asshole (name says it all). I would kiss Gregor because he’s sweet but naive and he’s the MC so why not?

Describe this Book in 3 Words: Humorous, weird satire

ONE sentence to convince a total stranger to read/not read this book: If you’re into dark humor and looking for a fun break from the daily news cycle with romance and some soul-searching, this is the book for you!

Posted in Book Review

Review: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

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You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner, Knopf, 304 pp.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 1/2

We should all know by now that diversity and accurate representation are super important in YA. However, diversity in books also makes for kickass storytelling and is a way to start learning about and understanding various types of people. Also, intersectionality is key, meaning showing layered diverse experiences. If you’re looking for a place to start, I can’t recommend Whitney Gardner’s diverse debut You’re Welcome, Universe enough.

Julia, the main character, is a Deaf Indian girl with two moms. Oh, and she’s a kickass graffiti artist. After tagging her school to defend her best friend Jordyn’s honor, Julia is expelled and sent to public school in  where she struggles to make friends and relies upon Casey, an interpreter, to communicate with those around her. Her only outlet is graffiti, which she must keep a secret, and even that seems like it may be taken away from her by a rival.

One of the parts I loved best about this book is its representation of Deaf culture. I can’t speak to its accuracy because I’m a hearie and thus not Deaf, but I felt like I learned a lot about the experience of being Deaf, signing and some of the struggles of living without hearing through reading this book.

Building off of that, I loved Julia’s voice. She’s a teenage girl who doesn’t take any shit, but she’s also vulnerable and still coming into her own. I loved her descriptions of working with her art and her sarcasm. Her personality jumped off the page and I liked feeling like I was going on this journey with her, as she learned what it meant to be both a friend and an artist, no matter the cost.

If you’re looking for a contemporary read where romance isn’t the central plot line or even a sub plot line and isn’t totally sad, this is the book for you. It has so much heart and at its core is a tale of friendship and reaching one’s potential, whatever that might mean.

The other characters were all depicted in a way that was nuanced and intriguing. YP was one of my favorite characters. I found Jordyn and Donovan to be super annoying, but I can relate to having a fallout with a friend who you felt closer to than they did to you. I also loved Mr. Katz, as I found that my art teachers were always some of the most supportive when I was in high school. Mee and Ma, Julia’s moms, were also highlights.

Gardner spun a tale that was pieces funny and sad, but always honest and unflinchingly real. I loved the little details that exposed some of the character’s struggles in a way that was impactful even if they were only a sentence or two. From the discrimination Mee and Ma face to comments Julia must endure at her job at McDonald’s,

The design of this book was also phenomenally done. The girl on the cover actually matches the description of Julia in the book, down to her signature yellow Docs. I also liked that the cover uses Julia’s tag in the book and shows that she’s a WOC. The chapter headings were adorable emoticon faces, which Julia uses throughout the book as well. Finally, the illustrations are gorgeous. I just wish there were more.

This isn’t to say the book was without its flaws. A little bit more background on graffiti culture was needed, as Julia’s concerns didn’t always seem to line up with the situation. Additionally, there were some parts of the book that fell flat for me. Julia should’ve just ditched on Jordyn right away and the drama between Kyle and Julia didn’t come to any kind of satisfying conclusion. The bad guy who turns out to be kind of a good guy trope is getting old. Parts like this felt a little forced, but they didn’t overpower what was otherwise a very strong book.

This book is super worth the read. It’s quick, it’s fairly light and it’s super good. You’re not going to want to miss out on this gorgeous contemporary. Plus, the last scene is super, super cute, but you have to read it yourself to find out why. 😉

Posted in Book Review

Review: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

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Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson, Katherine Tegen Books, 400 pp.

Please note that I was given an advance copy of the book from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Full disclosure: Everyone in my family, myself included, is a huge fan of crime dramas and those twisty crime “documentaries” that run on late night cable networks like 48 Hours. We love to try and guess the turns in the cases and guessing who did whatever crime is being discussed. I’ve never really seen those kinds of stories represented in YA, so I was thrilled to discover Tiffany D. Jackson’s gripping debut Allegedly.

Jackson’s novel tells the story of Mary, a sixteen-year-old black girl who was accused and prosecuted for killing a three-month-old white baby when she was nine-years-old. Living in an abusive group home for troubled teen girls and having recently discovered she is pregnant, she decides to take a stand and try to reopen her case for a second chance.

The best part about this book is the crucial diversity of narrative it brings to contemporary YA fiction. There are not enough YA books that include both representation of urban slang and complex, richly written WOC protagonists who jump off the page. This is one of them. Whether you like or hate Mary as a character, it’s almost impossible to deny that this book and its characters are excellently written. Mary is simultaneously the bright girl she was as a child and the resourceful prisoner she has learned to be. She doubts herself after years of adults calling her a monster, but still tries to find a way to take the SATs so she can go to college. Her narration was tender, perseverant and vulnerable.

The book also takes the reader to communities of black women and the importance of family and friendship, from churches to group homes. The relationship between Mary and her Momma was one of the most twisted relationships I have ever seen in YA. This book is a manifesto for the desperate acts that mothers will do for their children and vice versa. For the sake of not spoiling anything, you’re going to have to read this book to find out more for yourself.

The characters in this book are all nuanced and complex, from the girls in Mary’s group home to her attorney Ms. Cora to her child’s father Ted. This book doesn’t promise likeability, but it delivers on high emotions and high stakes dialog and relationships. It’s a book that will keep you on your toes from start to finish. I pride myself in picking out twists and even I didn’t see some of the biggest twists in this book coming.

My only problems with this book were pacing and its untied ending. The beginning of this book dragged for me and there were a few points where I really had to push myself through the static plot. However, the last bit of the novel started to move a little too quickly and by the end, I wasn’t satisfied that the whole story had been told. I wanted more and felt like Mary’s arc hadn’t been completely finished. It felt like a chapter or two was left off the end, or at the very least an epilogue showing a glimpse of the future.

Besides these snags, Allegedly is a worthwhile read if you are looking for dark, gritty, diverse contemporary YA fiction. It’s a book you won’t want to miss, because it’s one I’m sure people are going to be talking about for a while. And I can’t wait to see what Jackson, who has already shown herself to be a tactile writer and thorough researcher, has to offer in her next novel and the one after that and the one after that.