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Grown – Tiffany D. Jackson

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. 

CONTENT WARNINGS: Emotional and physical abuse, mentions of sexual abuse, rape, assault, child abuse, kidnapping, addiction to opioids, domestic abuse in a romantic relationship, grooming, pedophilia, suicidal ideation

This is the first Tiffany D. Jackson book that I have read and it won’t be my last. Grown is an incredibly brutal thriller, an attack on rape culture and a story that is happening way too often in real life.

I finished this book in a matter of days. I couldn’t put it down and flew through the pages in a couple of sittings. The pace of this book is incredibly quick, the chapters are short and the contents in enthralling and horrifying all at the same time.

The fact that this book starts out with a body and a lot of blood turns out to be, in a weird way, a huge relief. Korey is dead at the beginning of this book which does make reading the rest of the book just the smallest bit easier.

Korey, 28, stats out the story flirting, sending inappropriate messages, being affectionate and caring for our main character, Enchanted, 17. As readers we are meant to like Korey as he is cute, talented and is proven to be vulnerable. Throughout all this the age gap remains and if you don’t see it as being a problem at the start, you will being to realise as you continue reading that the power imbalance in their relationship is doing tremendous damage to our main character.

Korey kidnaps Enchanted, cuts off her contact from her friends and family and takes her phone. He forces her to dress in clothes and even roles she isn’t comfortable with. Korey drugs Enchanted, sexually and physically abuses her and gaslights her. All of these things are incredibly painful and sometimes almost impossible to read.

what makes this story even more brutal to read is that this is in no way a made up situation. It is in fact a reality for so many girls, women, men, non-binary, trans and queer people on a daily basis. This book in particular discusses the abuse of some of the most vulnerable in our society; black and poor teenage girls. It is a blatant abuse of power, not just by an individual but by a group, a society and an industry that are turning a blind eye to violence and abuse.

I’m so glad that books like Grown exist. It is accessible for everyone. It gives us the chance to recognise and the chance to fight for injustice and inequality. I only have one criticism for this book. It is so fast-paced that the structure of the plot somewhat crumbles. As we get closer to the end of the story, the more it dissolves into fractures. We tend to only see the most important scenes and any finer details of the story are lost.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to absolutely everyone but only read it if you are feeling stable and safe. It is a very triggering book and goes into detail in topics that are sometimes difficult to read. Grown is such a powerful book that needs to be read by everyone but read with caution!

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