Rating: 1-5: 4
Genre: Drama/Crime, Mystery
What did you like about the book? I loved the way this was written. It flipped back and forth between Mary in present day and interviews/articles about her when she was 9 (and allegedly murdered a 3 month old). I found myself absorbed in the story and dying to know the truth about Mary’s crime. This book also dealt with themes of race, child/teen prison and recovery, as well as teen pregnancy. While the author doesn’t tie up everything neatly, she highlights how gray these issues can be.
Anything you didn’t like about it? The only thing I didn’t like was that I predicted the ending. There were plenty of breadcrumbs and tips of the hat that I picked up on. I’m not sure if a teen would or not, but I got so absorbed in the story and the drama of Mary’s life that I didn’t care that I solved the mystery before it was spelt out.
To whom would you recommend this book? Older teens who were fans of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars or drama/crime stories. One could also recommend this to someone (perhaps an adult) who is a fan of Orange is the New Black.
Who should buy this book? Librarians looking for books about diverse characters, the child/teen prison system, crime mysteries, unreliable narrators, or teen pregnancy.
Where would you shelve it? Mystery
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? I think this book is likely to keep getting buzz, so I would say yes (I read it in 2 ½ days). It’s fast-paced and feels like an episode of Law & Order. However, I would give a trigger-warning. There are some scenes of abuse and implied rape that readers may want to be aware of. This doesn’t mean you should read it though, just know that it’s in there.
Reviewer, Library, City, State: Christina, Thayer Public Library, Braintree MA
Date of review: 1/30/2017