Book Review: A Grown Up Kind of Pretty

Author: Joshilyn Jackson

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2012

Format: Audioobook, Read by the author

Genre: Southern Fiction

My Rating: A

I have just spent twelve and a half hours with Joshilyn Jackson and, I swear, I am now a full-fledged Mississippian. I loved every minute of my visit. She is not just the author of A Grown Up Kind of Pretty, she is also the reader on the audiobook. I hope you can hear my new Southern accent when I say, “It was such a pleasure to spend so much time with this delightful woman and her friends.”

The friends I met are three women, three generations in this small Mississippi town. I identified with and was so sympathetic to all three. First there is Big (Ginny). Big became pregnant when she was only fifteen. Then her daughter, Liza, also became pregnant at fifteen. Big is convinced that bad things happen every fifteen years. That’s why she’s keeping an eagle eye on her granddaughter, Mosey, who just turned fifteen.

The reason Big is carrying all the parental responsibility for Mosey is that Liza suffered a stroke that effects her speech and one side of her body. Lisa seems to do much better when she is abler to have physical therapy in a pool, so Big decides to put in a pool in the backyard.

The first thing they must do is get rid of a big willow tree. When that happens, all hell breaks loose. A small chest containing the bones of a baby are discovered. The police become involved and old secrets are also unearthed.

I loved the character of Mosey, the fifteen-year-old. She can roll her eyes and misbehave like a classic fifteen-year-old, but she’s also smart, intuitive and a faithful friend. When her mom, Liza, learns of the bones, Mosey hears her plaintive moan, “My baby, my baby.”

If those bones belong to Liza’s baby, then who is Mosey? Mosey and her good friend, Roger, begin some amateur detective work. As the story progresses, more and more secrets are discovered. The story is told alternately from the perspective of each of the three characters. Each time the perspective changed, the reader/author announced the name. It was not the least bit confusing. The dialogue, both internal and external, was sweet and spicy. It obviously came from an author skilled in Southern dialect and colloquialisms.

I highly recommend A Grown Up Kind of Pretty. If at all possible, experience the book in the audio version. You’ll love Joshilyn Jackson even more.

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