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About the Book
by Tiffany D. Jackson
Published 15 September 2020
Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Count: 384
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
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. Who killed Korey Fields?
All signs point to Enchanted.
Blurb copied from Goodreads.
My Rating: 5 Stars!
First of all, I would like to open with a content warning for this title. Grown opens on a murder scene and features violence, child grooming, various forms of abuse including sexual assault and long term gaslighting, and frequently addresses casual racism. Although this is written for a young/new adult audience featuring a high school senior, it may not be suitable for all YA audiences.
As indicated by the author in the afterward, Grown is a work of fiction inspired by the real-world R Kelly case and drawing partially from her own personal experience as a BIPOC who dated an older man in her teens. As such, although this is once again a work of fiction, it feels very much like the novelization of a real victim’s experience.
Enchanted Jones is the eldest child of a middle-class black family who are trying their best to claw their way to a more prosperous life, and Chanty is expected to go to college and work toward a real, stable career. Chanty doesn’t want that. All she wants in the whole world is to sing. When she tricks her mother into taking her to a TV music show audition under the guise of an away meet for her high school swim team she meets her idol, 28-year-old music star Korey Fields. When she gets the opportunity to tour with him with the promise that someday Korey will help launch her solo career, Chanty’s life as she knows it ends forever.
This book is so raw and real. As someone who lives with PTSD from similar traumas, everything about how Chanty copes and develops throughout this book rings absolutely true to me. The conflict she feels between being afraid of Korey at his worst but loving him at his best and feeling like she’s wrong for not just loving him all the time is exactly what victims of grooming and gaslighting feel.
It feels wrong to say I enjoyed this book because the subject matter is horrifying, but it is so well written that I could not put it down. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who is interested in this sort of story and prepared for the graphic content. Chanty, Korey, and the events of this book may not be real, but this echos the real story of countless people all over the world, and most of them are never heard or vindicated.
I listened to the audiobook recording, so I would also like to comment on the narration. The narrator’s voice is easy to listen to and perfect for this performance. I was never bored, nor was I ever confused about who was speaking. I listened at 1.5x playback speed (my usual for audiobooks) and do feel like I could have comfortably listened both faster or slower, so this should suit all types of audiobook listeners.
Story: 5 stars
Performance: 5 stars
Overall 5 stars
This book is an important work, and it is timeless. Again, I recommend this to everyone who is prepared for the graphic nature of the content.
About the Author
Tiffany D. Jackson is a TV professional by day, novelist by night, awkward black girl 24/7. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Film from Howard University and her Master of Arts in Media Studies from The New School University. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves with her adorable chihuahua Oscar, most likely multitasking.
Photo & blurb from Goodreads.
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