Genre: Young Adult | Mystery
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
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? She wouldn’t say.
Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.
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 must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary (goodreads)?
Allegedly stays with you long after you finish the last page.
Plot: Holy crap, this book. Did you read the first line to the synopsis? That's the overall tone and it was absolutely gripping!
As a child, Mary was convicted of killing an infant; as a result, she did some time in juvvie and then was sent to a group home until she graduated high school. While the summary mentioned the consequences of a black girl being accused of killing a white baby, I found that this book didn't really focus on race relations, instead, Allegedly followed Mary and her day-to-day life. The mystery of this novel was that no one truly knew what happened the night the police found Mary and her mother with a dead infant, there were only assumptions and speculations.
Jackson's career involves television and horror films and that translated well for Allegedly. There was always the sense of not really understanding the full story, and Jackson's world was so gritty that I couldn't put this book down well past my bedtime (and I enjoy my sleep, so that's saying something).
Characters: Jackson's characters were real. These girls were the unfortunate result of a state system not providing the best care for young people. They were crude, they were cruel, and they were deemed a burden on society. Mary; however, was determined to make the best out of a shitty situation. She was smart and set to go to university so that she could provide for her boyfriend, Ted, and their future child. What I loved about Allegedly was that there wasn't a clear-cut division between "good" and "evil". I don't know if I can really say that there are any "good" characters, just people trying to survive given their circumstances, which made them all the more interesting.
Worldbuilding: This New York was dirty and wasn't exactly welcoming. Jackson's writing is phenomenal, that is unquestionable, and I absolutely loved how she described Mary's sheltered life. I felt like I was with Mary on the outside looking in and hoping to live just one day like a "normal" teenager.
Short N Sweet: Tiffany D. Jackson's Allegedly is haunting and will keep you on your toes. I'll be more than happy to scream with you once you finish this novel.