This is a beautifully written, important book that deserves more attention. When Mary was eight, she killed the baby that she and her mom were babysitting…allegedly. After she’s released from jail as a teenager, Mary lives in a group home where she is harassed endlessly by the other girls. Meanwhile, she can’t remember what happened that night that baby Alyssa died- the night that landed her in jail for years.
This book is about a lot of things. It’s about a mother’s responsibility to her child, it’s about the corrupt prison system and the state, it’s about the mistreatment of blacks in the justice system. I loved Mary as a character who wants to take the SAT and go to college, who loves her mother and finds the strength in her to trust those trying to help her despite everything that’s happened to her.
Sometimes I find it hard to connect with YA because it can be superficial. This is not the case at all with Allegedly. Mary is a character in a position where she can’t even attend high school or afford an SAT prep book. It’s a perspective I’m not used to reading in YA. This is a heartbreaking and eye-opening read that I recommend to everybody.
VERDICT: 5 stars