4 starred reviews!
Orange Is the New Black meets Walter Dean Myer’s Monster in this gritty, twisty, and haunting debut by Tiffany D. Jackson about a girl convicted of murder seeking the truth while surviving life in a group home.
Mary B. Addison killed a baby.
Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it?
There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary’s fate now lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary?
Mary Addison, a black 15-year-old from Brooklyn, has been locked up in "baby jail" for six years, after allegedly killing a three-month-old white child. Now living in a group home, Mary is bright, quiet, and well behaved, which makes her the target of the more aggressive girls in the home. Her one escape is volunteering at a nursing home and having secret assignations with Ted, a fellow volunteer also living in a group home. When Mary becomes pregnant and faces losing custody of the baby, she comes forward with a startling confession: she didn't kill Alyssa. Threaded with media accounts of Alyssa's killing and police interviews with the nine-year-old Mary, Jackson's debut is reminiscent of the popular true crime podcasts Serial and Criminal: the characters are complex, the situation unsettling, and the line between right and wrong hopelessly blurred. It's also intensely relevant, addressing race, age, and mental illness within the criminal justice system. Well conceived and executed, this is an absorbing and exceptional first novel. Ages 14 up.