cover image A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty

Joshilyn Jackson. Grand Central, $24.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-446-58235-3

The Slocumb women suffer from an unfortunate curse: every 15 years something bad happens. Ginny gave birth to Liza when she was 15. And Liza had Mosey when she was 15. Now it’s Mosey who’s 15, and she’s nervous. But the curse strikes in a different form, bringing a stroke to Liza that renders her mute and crippled, leaving her husband “Big” to care for her. Wanting to put a pool in the yard for Liza’s water therapy, Ginny has a willow uprooted, unearthing the bones of a baby—Liza’s baby. This macabre discovery sends Mosey, Ginny, and Big in search of answers about the baby and Mosey’s identity. Their quest, told in alternating points-of-view among all main characters, uncovers an old feud between Liza and best friend Melissa, an illicit affair, the vengeance of the thwarted party, and drug addiction long hidden. Along the way Mosey puts her life in danger and learns a thing or two about family. Jackson’s newest (after Backseat Saints) is highly immersive, evoking the suffocation of rural Mississippi and using a teen pregnancy mystery to create a compelling page-turner. While Jackson doesn’t entirely avoid clichés, the care that she’s taken in developing the relationships between the Slocumb women makes up for it. (Jan.)