Book Review: Grown by Tiffany D Jackson

Tiffany D Jackson is an African-American author of young adult novels dealing with important social issues. Grown is her fourth novel and is quite obviously inspired by the “Me too” movement and issues around the rape culture.

What’s It About?

It’s about Enchanted Jones, a 17-year old girl who loves singing. She also happens to be very talented. She catches the eye of a well-known singer, Korey Fields. Needless to say that Korey is way older than Enchanted. It quickly turns out that he’s interested in more than just her singing and his intentions aren’t pure.

In terms of themes the book is quite rich. The reader has to be prepared to deal with some uncomfortable thoughts on and images of sexism, rape culture, sexual abuse as well as misogynoir (misogyny against black women, specifically). At the same time it’s a thriller so the book is fast-paced and structured accordingly to its genre.

Why Should You Read It?

Should is a strong word here. I feel that the book deals with many important topics. Having said that, I felt many things were overly explained. I got the impression that the author was trying to show people how wrong certain judgements made about women as victims are. Unfortunately, at points some dialogues or scenes feel slightly scripted/artificial. They seem to be there to prove the author’s point.

Regardless of its shortcoming it’s a good read and it definitely makes you think. I’d guess a lot of readers will feel guilty of some thoughts the characters express or have. The protagonist’s growth is interesting and it’s certainly a kind of coming of age novel. I’m not sure how relatable she is for your average teenage girl, seeing that the story is also a thriller and the protagonist’s “special friend” is a famous musician.

In the grand scheme of things, this book also makes you think about dating people when there are major inequalities between the two. When does abuse of power start? How can there be not a certain kind of abuse when two people have drastically different positions in life? Certainly puts “A Star Is Born” in perspective…

What’s Wrong With It

What I said up there. I feel the author underestimates her audience and makes things too simple and obvious. I think this novel could benefit from some subtlety. It’s also psychologically plausible without being all that credible. But then again it’s a thriller so perhaps you can’t expect it to be any other way.

Overall Verdict

I’d give it a go, if you’re looking for a fresh read that’s easy to follow. It’s also a good overview of women’s issues in today’s world.

I have a very strong feeling this isn’t the best book by Jackson. Her most notable work is her debut novel Allegedly. I’ll read some more stuff by her and report back.

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