‘Grown’: a masterfully crafted punch in the gut

July 18, 2022

TITLE: Grown
AUTHOR: Tiffany D. Jackson
GENRE: Contemporary
AGE RANGE: Young Adult
PAGES: 400pg
PUBLISHER: Katherine Tegen Books

Award-winning author Tiffany D. Jackson delivers another riveting, ripped-from-the-headlines mystery that exposes horrific secrets hiding behind the limelight and embraces the power of a young woman’s voice.

When legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots Enchanted Jones at an audition, her dreams of being a famous singer take flight. Until Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night. Who killed Korey Fields?

Before there was a dead body, Enchanted’s dreams had turned into a nightmare. Because behind Korey’s charm and star power was a controlling dark side. Now he’s dead, the police are at the door, and all signs point to Enchanted.

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“No child should ever take the blame for a man’s actions.”

This is one of the best YA contemporary books I’ve ever read in my life and I’m not sure how I could possibly do it justice with a review. Grown was my introduction to Tiffany D. Jackson’s books, and I’m legitimately a little bit sad that it took me this long to pick up something by her, because I adored everything about it: the writing, the characters, the plot, the commentary, all of it. The dialogue flowed so smoothly, the characters felt real, and the entire storyline mirrored reality in a painfully accurate manner.

I suddenly miss the smells and tight quarters of my house. Burning sage, roasting rosemary, and Daddy’s aftershave. I even miss sharing a room with Shea. But I can’t go back home.

Not only was the writing itself incredible, but these characters… Chanty and her family tugged at my heart so hard, especially her dad in a few specific scenes. I feel like books don’t depict great father/daughter relationships all that often, and there were a couple of moments with Enchanted’s father that had me in tears over how much he cared and how broken-up he was by the entire situation. (It also served as a solid reminder to outsiders looking in at true crime scenarios that the parents of a teen/child victim aren’t always oblivious or neglectful — sometimes, we don’t get to see how hard they’re fighting behind the scenes to bring their baby home.)

Trying to reclaim your life is a lot like drowning. You attempt to stay above water as waves of new information hit you sideways, carrying you further into the unknown. People throw life preservers, but the ropes can only reach so far, and once a riptide catches you by the ankle, all you can do is wonder why you ever thought you’d be OK jumping into the deep end, when you could barely manage the shallows.

And above all else, this book serves as a much-needed reminder for a lot of readers that a child should never be held accountable for an adult’s actions, but too often, we do place the blame on the victims (especially when those victims are BIPOC kids/teens). There were reactions depicted to Chanty’s abuse that I’ve absolutely witnessed people saying about victims in real life, and so many of them were hateful remarks that seem to be especially saved for BIPOC victims (especially young Black girls, who society loves to “age up” and then blame the kids for it). It’s heartbreaking that this book needed to be written, but it did, and Tiffany D. Jackson did one hell of a fine job doing so.

content warnings →

pedophilia, abuse, rape, imprisonment, drugging with and without consent, underage drug abuse, underage alcohol abuse, infidelity

representation →

Enchanted and most side characters are Black; Latinx side character


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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

      1. I definitely plan on reading more from her! It’s just a matter of deciding which one to pick up next because they all sound so good. I’m thinking I may put her new thriller on my fall TBR 🙂

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