Summary: Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
I was a bit scared to read Jackson’s Grown, because I’ve read a couple of her books and they were absorbing, but difficult to read because she tackles heavy subject matter. I was worried about getting my head into a potentially triggering plot, but I survived.
At a singing audition, 17-year-old Enchanted Jones catches the eye of superstar musician Korey Fields, who is 28. Korey promises her a future in music, but the starstruck teen is quickly swept into an illicit relationship with drugs and abuse. That is until Korey Fields is found dead with Enchanted on the scene and all fingers pointing at her.
This book is a roller coaster! It did not feel like it was over 300 pages as I sped through it, and refreshingly (for me, at least), the profanity level was mild, which is a big con for me with Jackson’s books.
Jackson does an excellent job of showing how a teenage girl can get wrapped up in a relationship with an adult — a superstar adult, with strong pedophile tendencies, no less. I loved that this story condemns statutory rape, but isn’t necessarily judgmental about “dating an older guy.” For instance, Enchanted’s best friend Gab is dating a college student whom she met when she was 15 and him 17. Rather, readers see clearly how the power dynamic differs when it comes to Enchanted and Corey’s relationship.
Music plays a huge role in this book, as Korey and Enchanted go on tour together, and the book references several classic songs and gives a peek into what the business of making music looks like. Enchanted is naive, and eager to get into the industry, but she quickly realizes that once you get in with the wrong crowd, things can go south fast.
I liked that Enchanted had a “normal” family, because it shows that even in loving families, teens can keep secrets. Even older teens are still children and make naive choices. Enchanted is also a swimmer in her high school’s team, and she’s a baldy, which isn’t a look I’ve often seen represented in young adult literature, or even in literature. This book is just packed with difficult topics, from mental health to body image and financial instability in the family.
Overall: Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
Grown is a powerful addition to a growing list of books about sexual misconduct, inspired by the events of the R. Kelly case. This mature young adult novel (seriously, best for older teens and young adults) is timely and important, and would have saved many young women a lot of heartache if they had a book like it as teens. I would recommend this for anyone who can handle reading about such gritty topics (see content warnings), those who enjoy YA books about music, and anyone who is a fan of Jackson’s writing. Although it’s also a thriller, this book is different from her usual work (more heart, I think), but still packs a lot of the punch and yes, there’s still a shocking twist at the end.
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I received an electronic Advance Reader’s Copy from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review.
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Have you read Grown or anything by Tiffany D. Jackson? I really liked Monday’s Not Coming. Which one of her books is your favorite?