Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

Grown cover image

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson (9780062840356)

This gripping novel for teens takes readers into a world of high-rolling musicians and the abuse and exploitation of Black girls. Enchanted, age 17, is in high school, on the swim team and dreaming of making it big in the music industry. When she lies to her mother to get her to take her into the city for an audition, Enchanted doesn’t get the spot but does catch the attention of legendary R&B singer Korey Fields. As Korey begins to shower Enchanted with attention, her parents agree to let Enchanted leave high school and tour with Korey. What starts as a rocket to her singing career, quickly turns to a relationship with Korey. As Korey becomes more and more controlling, Enchanted finds herself unable to contact anyone for help, held against her will, and manipulated into staying. When Enchanted wakes up to find blood all around her and Korey’s body nearby, she needs to figure out what happened that night and what she did.

Jackson writes with such raw power here. She harnesses growing tensions, fear for Enchanted’s life, and reader’s horror at the situation that Enchanted finds herself in. Jackson shows how even a close and caring family can be conned into allowing their daughter to travel with an adult man and be taken advantage of. She shows how the families too are manipulated, beaten down and forced to be separated from the children they love. Readers will recognize many of the details in the book in the recent exposures of R. Kelly’s abuse of young Black girls.

Enchanted is a marvelous depiction of a seventeen year old. She is a mix of child and adult, yearning to be even more adult, to launch her life and be seen. But she is certainly still young, naive and innocent as Korey manipulates her, drawing her deeper and deeper into the world he has crafted to control her. The book is almost suffocating as their interactions become more and more abusive, leaving readers looking for a way out alongside Enchanted.

Powerful truth about Black girls and their place in the #MeToo movement. Appropriate for ages 15-18.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Katherine Tegen Books.