Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Posted February 20, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 4 Comments



by Tiffany D. Jackson

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books on January 24, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary


I have a lot of feelings about Allegedly. It made me mad, it made me sad, and it twisted and turned me around.  Several hours after finishing the book, I’m trying to decide at which point Mary was an unreliable narrator.

First of all, it’s really well-done.  Allegedly is a debut, but it’s well-written and well-researched, enough to feel like it was was created by a seasoned author.  The language flows and adjusts itself well to different situations and speakers.  Additionally, the narrator (Bahni Turpin) is fantastic – she also read Children of Blood and Bone and did a great job with that as well?  I feel pretty confident recommending her as a narrator.

Tiffany D. Jackson really makes you fall for her characters.  Mary Addison is a timid, quiet girl.  The only times she causes trouble is when she needs something – a distraction, for example.  She was convicted as a little girl for killing a baby, and Allegedly deals with her appeals and the reason why she decides to appeal in the first place.  There are, of course, twists and turns along the way that pull you deeper and deeper into the grip of the novel.  Jackson excels at false leads and unreliable characters.  Because the characters are typically what makes me fall for a book in the first place, I can’t tell you how exasperating I find it to grow to trust a character… then be betrayed.

Exasperated in a good way, mind you.  I was totally sold on every moment of this book.  Allegedly betrays the reader’s trust time and again.  As I mentioned, I’m still not sure if the final twist is the truth or a lie.  I can’t stop thinking about it.

Beyond the fictional aspects of storytelling, there are important topics to be discussed here.  For one, there’s the story of a young black girl who killed a white baby.  Aspects of race play strongly in the way people perceive Mary, as well as the way she was sentenced.  There’s conversations about mental health, child abuse, teenage pregnancy, and the poor state of many group homes.  There’s also mention of spousal abuse, attempted rape, and of course the headline, infant homicide.  Allegedly is not for the faint of heart.  But it’s very well-written and in many ways, heartbreaking.  And infuriating.  I have a lot of feelings about it.

The only place this would lose a few points for me is in the pacing.  The first 30% is a bit slow.  It picks up after the halfway point, once the plot starts to unroll, but a little bit of perserverence is required at the beginning.  It’s worth it, though.  I promise.  As a whole this is an under-rated, under-read book and deserves some attention.  If you’re looking for an intriguing, meaningful realistic fiction read, I urge you to give Allegedly a try.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★ 1/2
Narrator: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★


What was the last heartbreaking, underrated book you read?  I’d love to give it a little bit of love and add it to my TBR – let me know in the comments!

Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Bloglovin’ | LibraryThing



Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

4 responses to “Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

    • Amber

      It is pretty intense. Honestly, the audiobook was at the top of my “available” list before I swallowed my procrastination and decided to read it. It’s a mixed recommendation – it’s certainly not a “feel good” book, but it has an important story and gives you something to think about. Definitely don’t read it if you don’t think you’ll enjoy it. <3