I read Grown in one setting. That’s normally the case with Jackson’s books and Grown is no exception. It is a powerful examination of grooming, toxic relationships, and sexual assault. Check out this book review to see all the reasons I couldn’t stop reading!
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: (quoted from the book) mentions of sexual abuse, rap, assault, child abuse, kidnapping, and addiction to opioids
Tiffany D. Jackson is the queen of tension and that hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach. Grown is a powerful, heart wrenching, and emotional story about privilege, racism, and grooming. Jackson opens with Korey Fields’ death, but that single incident is one that has strings unraveling to months before. To Enchanted’s dreams and musical talent. To manipulations of consent and emotional manipulation. To a society that protects perpetrators and normalizes behaviors.
Grown is multi-layered discussing economic inequality, the ways opportunities are not equally available and the exploitation of lower classes, all the way to the ways victims stories are pulled apart and the lack of protection. Enchanted has big dreams, to be a famous singer, but she has to constantly balance her family’s needs as well as the feasibility of her dreams. Then Korey Fields notices her and her world changes forever. As readers, we can see between the cracks of their relationship. Recognize the red flags, but also deeply empathize with Enchanted’s connection to Korey as well as her dependence.
How those double standards, those measures of control, those threats, read from an external point of view. How boundaries are eroded piece by piece. Limits which are pushed through falling into a chasm of empty promises. How it can feel when one feels special, when someone feels like a lifeline, and that dependency turns sour. As someone who has experienced a small fraction of these, Grown is even more emotional. So many times, you hear things like “not that kind of girl” or “that would never happen to me”. But these things start small. They build up. One of the reasons I loved Grown was that I wish it had existed for me when I was going through it.
What follows is a story about feeling like you’re grown enough to follow your dreams, the behaviors of grown men, and what age, experience, and wisdom mean. A system that protects men and perpetrators and discounts women. Of those secrets that everyone knows, but no one does anything about. Grown is a powerful story that will keep readers engrossed until the very end.