What does it take to be a grown up? To tell you the truth, when I was a teenager, I would always assume that I already knew what I was doing and what I should be doing. In my head, I had my life under control. I used to think that acting like an adult was the same as being an adult until reality hits hard.

Grown Summary

How much are you willing to sacrifice for your dreams? Will you still pursue it with your life at stake? Grown is a young adult mystery thriller that explores abuse of power, victim-blaming, manipulation, and above all, achieving one’s dreams. This book provides a very metaphorical storytelling of a seventeen-year-old aspiring singer, Enchanted Jones, who is caught red-handed for the murder of a famous celebrity. Divided into four parts, the story goes from hopeful, to horror, to relief, and finally to realizations.

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Content Warning: Sexual Abuse, Rape, Assault, Child Abuse, Kidnapping, and Addiction to opioids

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Chasing this dream has turned into a nightmare.

grown-by-tiffany-jackson-book-cover
Grown Book Cover

Ariel In Land: A Closer View Of The Characters

This stunning cover features African-American protagonist Enchanted Jones, the main character of the novel who is a big fan of Disney movies, especially The Little Mermaid. She and her siblings bond over these movies which I find absolutely adorable. She is always with her best friend, Gabriela who later plays a very confusing role. The story is told in Enchanted’s point of view so I was able to learn what she thinks and how she analyzes everything that’s happening around her.

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It was both pleasant and heartbreaking to read in her perspective as we go back and forth to her best memories with her grandmother and worst experiences in the latter part of the novel. That being said, the supporting characters were not given emphasis in the narrative which is totally understandable given the real focus of the novel; Enchanted herself.

There’s nothing normal about being trapped in the house, taking care of kids you didn’t birth.

This line encompasses the actuality of being the oldest child in a household. As the oldest, Enchanted is responsible of looking after her younger siblings while her parents are away all the time. With that, she feels like she is growing up too fast. She was a believable well-rounded character who found a passion in songwriting and singing.

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grown-main-character-representation

Me Too Movement: Age DOES Matter To An Extent

Korey Fields is twenty-eight years old.

How could someone be so angry one minute, then love me so hard the next?

Legendary R&B artist Korey Fields discovers Enchanted in an audition and offers to be her mentor. Enchanted, believing her dream is finally about to happen, convinces her parents to let her go with Korey on a world tour. From there, she gets to know the real Korey, who wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Relationships like this with no guidance and no clear motives tend to have a dominant partner and that’s where a person’s age should be taken in consideration.

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It was really hard to read the second part of the story where it all went downhill. All the manipulation process Enchanted went through was narrated in a non-exploitative way. Tension, misunderstanding, and anxiety rose from there until the final pages. The ending was confusing and left a lot of questions in my mind.

Final Thoughts

Me Too Movement aids survivors of sexual violence by connecting them to resources. It gathers sexual violence researchers that could help victims all over the world. Grounded to reality, Grown highlights the reality of how girls can be manipulated, particularly by grown man, how detectives interrogate victims more than the suspect, how music labels try to cover up situations that could ruin their reputations, and how women are afraid of voicing what they have been through. The book was a reminder of how little we know about the world, the importance of knowing what’s right and wrong on our own, and the weight of our decisions.

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8.2
Score

Pros

  • Important themes
  • Easy to follow narratives
  • Multiple formats (voice mails, investigation dialogues and messages)
  • Realistic fiction

Cons

  • Unresolved plots
  • Not entirely a mystery thriller
  • Underdeveloped side characters (grandmother, siblings, parents)
Thrill
6
Characters
10
Setting
8
Mystery
7
Message
10

Final Verdict

Despite the plot holes, Grown is a bold YA book that talks about very sensitive yet important topics. Tiffany Jackson did a great job of letting this book accessible to young readers. It spreads awareness and open up conversations everyone needs to hear.