Allegedly. She didn't say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn't say.
Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn't really "home"--no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.
There wasn't a point to setting the record straight before, but now she's got Ted--and their unborn child--to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary?
In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the gray areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, acknowledging the light and darkness alive in all of us.
"With remarkable skill, Jackson offers an unflinching portrayal of the raw social outcomes when youth are entrapped in a vicious cycle of nonparenting and are sent spiraling down the prison-for-profit pipeline. This dark, suspenseful exploration of justice and perception raises important questions teens will want to discuss." -- School Library Journal
"Searing and true. Effectively joins Ava DuVernay's documentary 13th and Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow (2010) to become another indictment of the penal system's decimating power beyond its bars and, more subtly and refreshingly, a pro-reproductive-justice novel." -- Kirkus Reviews
"The characters are complex, the situation unsettling, and the line between right and wrong hopelessly blurred. It's also intensely relevant, addressing race, age, and mental illness within the criminal justice system. Well conceived and executed, this is an absorbing and exceptional first novel." -- Publishers Weekly