I stayed up all night because of this book. I started it, got very upset and needed to take a breather. This was at about 3 in the morning. I put it away and tried to get some sleep but I barely got any. So in the morning, I adulted for a little while and then gave up and decided to just finish this book since I couldn't stop thinking about it. It's always hard to review Tiffany D Jackson's books without spoilers but I am going to try because... WHAT A BOOK!
First, let's take a moment to appreciate this cover. This is definitely one of my favorite covers ever. The simplicity, the beauty, the melanin.... thank you to the artist.
Summary ( You can grab a copy here) :
Korey Fields is dead.
When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn't how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.
Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.
Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door.
This was a quick read but it is heavy. There are quite a few sensitive topics that are discussed but I do think that the author handles them with care and a lot of empathy. I do recommend powering through if you can because it is worth the read. Here is a list of things that could be triggering:
Rape, abuse (physical, mental, and emotional), child endangerment, drug use, sexual assault, mental health, discussion of suicide.
Now, let's get into this book:
We need to put some respect on Ms. Tiffany D. Jackson's name because no one does it like her. This is not my first novel of hers so I was expecting greatness. Monday's not coming and Allegedly both set the bar really high for me and then the cover of this book just raised it even more. I bought this book blind, and I do not regret it.
I always find T.D.Jackson's books easy to read and that's saying something because she also has a habit of writing really heavy novels. The format that she uses, though, makes it easy to follow the story and to just get through the book quickly. This one for example, has really short chapters so you feel like you are breezing through it. The book also alternates between our main character's point of view and other bits of text from other sources that make it easy to understand what Enchanted didn't actually witness - Things like transcripts from the police station, a letter and group chat conversations... etc.
I related to Enchanted's story in many ways.
It was very easy for me to put myself in her shoes. I think many of us can look back today and remember a time when grown men that had no business being near us were saying, suggesting and even doing things that we did not know were wrong. I remember very clearly being in middle school and thinking that I did not need to be treated like a baby anymore. So, like other teenage girls ( including Enchanted) when I was told that "I was mature for my age" or "that I did not look my age" , I assumed it was a compliment. I thought that it was someone finally noticing how <<Grown>> I am.
Enchanted's character was really brought to life!
One thing that I've seen people complain about is the fact that the heroine is told that she is mature for her age but then her thoughts and actions seem to contradict this. That was actually one of my favorite things about this book because I think that's very realistic - Especially when it comes to young black girls who have taken on certain responsibilities. I think that was certainly the case with this book. Enchanted, like many first daughters spends a lot of time helping around the house and with her siblings which then makes it very easy to assume that she also knows how to take care of herself and she does.... but only to a certain extent because she is still 17 and pretty sheltered.
The writer does a good job in my opinion at showing this with the language that she uses and the naiveté of her thoughts. The way that she behaves with her siblings and her sense of responsibility can be interpreted as mature but then the way that she quickly becomes enamored with Korey and her lack of understanding for certain things reminds you that she is a teenager. A very sheltered one, at that.
This novel took me on an emotional rollercoaster.
I wanted to punch Korey, I wanted to hug Enchanted, I wanted to show Shea that it was not her sister's fault, I wanted to comfort her parents; I wanted to reach into this book and just help them avoid all this pain. As an adult, I could smell the B.S and I saw all the things that were used to rope her in and manipulate her but I also understood that a teenage girl like Enchanted could never have seen any of it coming.
This book touches on a lot of other topics including abuse of power, repressing memories, navigating the world when you are black and barely part of the class. I can't really go into details without spoilers so I encourage you to read this book and reach out to me if you want to talk about it.