Book Review: Allegedly

After loving Monday’s Not Coming I just had to try the other audiobook of Tiffany D. Jackson that my library had. That book is Allegedly, her debut. It is a Young Adult mystery / thriller with very, very dark themes, and it worked well in audio format. Did I really expect to pick up a book about a girl that allegedly killed a baby when she was nine years old? Not really. Do I regret it? Absolutely not.

Star rating: 4 stars

Mary B. Addison killed a baby when she was just 9 years old, or so they think. She lived in baby jail for 6 years, before ending up in a group home with other girls that committed crimes of varying severity. The book delves into Mary’s past through various interviews and records from after she killed Alyssa, along with Mary’s only reflections on what happened. I loved this multiple source approach to Mary’s character, it was difficult to tell what the truth was.

Mary has a complicated relationship with her mother, and this is one of the main things the book centres on. She was often neglected as a child, and her mother had an abusive boyfriend who assaulted Mary too. Mary’s mother visits her every couple of weeks at the group home, displaying signs of mental illness.

Group home life isn’t easy for Mary – her story is famous (there are books about it and it is studied in law schools) so the other girls don’t like her. She spends her time reading and prepping for the SATs, hoping to make a better life for herself despite her criminal record. She also volunteers at a nursing home, where she meets Ted, her secret boyfriend (a very morally grey boyfriend, to be honest).

At the beginning of the book, Mary finds out she’s pregnant and it changes her mindset on what she was accused of as a child, wanting to prove herself innocent so her child is not taken away from her. Mary meets sympathisers and haters throughout the story and I found myself as a reader torn about her character. The book is really thought-provoking in terms of personal morals and ethics.

Overall this is an exceptional debut, and I appreciated the story being told through audio. It was a bit long and repetitive at times, but I was really desperate to know what the ending would be!

Thanks for reading, hope everyone is doing well. I’m in lockdown again, which means working from home a lot. Keep safe.