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  • ISBN-13: 9780446582353
  • ISBN-10: 0446582352


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Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2011-09-26
  • Reviewer: Staff

The Slocumb women suffer from an unfortunate curse: every 15 years something bad happens. Ginny gave birth to Liza when she was 15. And Liza had Mosey when she was 15. Now it’s Mosey who’s 15, and she’s nervous. But the curse strikes in a different form, bringing a stroke to Liza that renders her mute and crippled, leaving her husband “Big” to care for her. Wanting to put a pool in the yard for Liza’s water therapy, Ginny has a willow uprooted, unearthing the bones of a baby—Liza’s baby. This macabre discovery sends Mosey, Ginny, and Big in search of answers about the baby and Mosey’s identity. Their quest, told in alternating points-of-view among all main characters, uncovers an old feud between Liza and best friend Melissa, an illicit affair, the vengeance of the thwarted party, and drug addiction long hidden. Along the way Mosey puts her life in danger and learns a thing or two about family. Jackson’s newest (after Backseat Saints) is highly immersive, evoking the suffocation of rural Mississippi and using a teen pregnancy mystery to create a compelling page-turner. While Jackson doesn’t entirely avoid clichés, the care that she’s taken in developing the relationships between the Slocumb women makes up for it. (Jan.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Southern secrets

Ginny knows that trouble is bound to find the Slocumb household this year. After all, she’s turning 45, and every 15 years brings a pregnancy or other heartache to the family. This year is no different: A child’s bones, dress and toy are found buried beneath their backyard willow tree. The scandalous discovery sends Ginny into the arms of a married former love; drives 30-year-old Liza—already stricken nearly silent by a stroke—to regain her language and expose the truth; and sends 15-year-old Mosey and her best friend out to unearth the mystery of her past.

New York Times best-selling author Joshilyn Jackson’s A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty shows the strength of these Mississippi women—and the ties that bind them. Alternately told in their three voices, the story is Southern in vernacular but modernized in a way that other Southern stories often are not. Like Jackson’s previous four novels, it presents the real South in a tale that is less interested in the stereotypical poverty, hackneyed regional idioms (think “knee-high to a grasshopper”) and unbearable humidity than in the lives of three fiercely brave women, who just happen to be Southern.

The Slocumb women’s choices aren’t always the right ones, but they know that even bad decisions are theirs to make. After all, sometimes the path to contentment is a winding one, and the journey chronicled in A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty includes a dangerous road trip, a forest sex lair, swimming pool physical therapy, poison, handfuls of pregnancy tests, drugs, text messages and attempted communication through photographs. But through it all, the Slocumbs have each other’s love and support.

Jackson’s engrossing fifth novel is a mystery, comedy and drama wrapped up in one.

 
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