A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson
Published by Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of Hachette
Review copy provided by the author
Three generations of women, living in the same home, with only fifteen years between each generation – Mosey is fifteen years old and knows that this is the year her grandmother, Big, and mother, Liza, are convinced that she’ll end up pregnant just like the two of them did in their fifteenth year, so Mosey is just as convinced she will not succumb to the same fate. But when a small grave is uncovered in their backyard, Mosey is left reeling and questioning everything she’s ever known about her life. Big is determined to find answers, because she knows that her daughter has something to do with it, but unfortunately Liza’s mind hasn’t recovered much from her stroke so she’s not able to offer any explanations. As Mosey and Big arrive independently at the same truth, they realize that they must face it together or their family of three doesn’t stand a chance.
I was almost dreading reading this book because upon finishing it, I have now read everything Joshilyn Jackson’s written. And that is sad because I love her books and always want there to be another one. Write faster, Joshilyn!!
So, A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty was everything I’ve come to expect from Jackson’s books and maybe even a little more. At its core, this is a book about family. About what makes up a family – is it the family you’re born into, or the family that you create? About how when something happens to someone in that family (such as a stroke, in Liza’s case), you do whatever you can to take care of them, even if you’ve hated every single decision they’ve made in their life, even if that means rearranging so much of your own life and making huge sacrifices for their benefit. About how just because you don’t love what a family member does, you still love them, and you still must offer up forgiveness and acceptance and love at every turn.
As I was reading this novel, the characters jumped off the page and made their way into my own life and heart. I felt so attached to them, so deeply interested in what this mysterious grave meant for them all, that it caused me to compulsively read this book until I finished it. I couldn’t step away from these women or their secrets because I cared so desperately about what this grave would change about their lives.
Honestly, I can safely say that A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty is my favorite of Jackson’s novels to date. I truly cannot wait until she publishes again as I’ve loved her books so much. These novels are so full of heart, amazingly realistic characters, and snappy dialogue. Her excellent writing and intricate plots (always involving some kind of mystery) are just the icing on the already fantastic cake. Highly recommended!