By now, you’ve heard our exciting news: it’s launch week for Tiffany D. Jackson’s ALLEGEDLY!!
ALLEGEDLY has been killing it in trade reviews. In fact, it’s earned FOUR starred reviews. (That’s sort of a big deal.) And for great reason. My favorite is this line from Kirkus: “Searing and true.” Those two words sum up Allegedly so succinctly. Allegedly is a book that will make you feel, which will stay with you, and will resonate deeply.
In one of my former lives, I worked with kids like Mary, Allegedly’s main character. I was a counselor in a residential treatment program for little kids, ages six to twelve. We took care of children who had done bad things (allegedly!), children who had no place to live because they had blown out of foster care and public schools. Of the girls I worked with, several had stolen, one had even burned down a house. The majority had committed a sex crime. Prior to these offenses, most had experienced extreme neglect and abuse. Reading their files, the question wasn’t, “how did they end up here?” but rather, “how had they survived even as long as they had?” The community we lived in had no other place for these girls – they weren’t welcome in homes or in schools or even a local grocery store. They were labeled and shipped to us and we did our best to give them hope despite the otherwise hopeless future.
Years later, I still have a scar on my arm where one of them bit me. In that instance, it’s the scar that’s notable, not the biting, which was a regular occurrence. I have memories of chasing one down the road when she was suicidal and trying to get hit by a car, of restraining one when she tried to bang her head against a wall, and routinely intervening when they hit each other.
Yet, I fell in love with each of those children. Each night one of us would rock the littlest of the girls. We’d sing to them and read them books. One of the older kids ran a 5K with me and I’ll never forget how damn proud she was of herself. The girls were as beautiful and wonderful and yes, even innocent, as they were broken.
I think of the kids I worked with almost every day, and I remember them with a full range of complicated emotions – everything from love to anger, frustration to sorrow. Allegedly’s main character matched those feelings precisely. Mary is a beautifully and fully drawn character with all of the nuance you would expect of a child and young adult in her circumstance.
So, yes, Kirkus, I’m with you: “searing and true.”
Tiffany posted this picture yesterday on social media. Doesn’t it exude ALL THE JOY?! Big, big, big congratulations to you, Tiffany!! We are so excited for you and can’t wait to watch all the wonderful things that will happen now that your brilliant book is out in the world.
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