A Grown-up Kind of Pretty

Looking for a last-minute Christmas gift idea?

Surprise, surprise–I’m going to recommend a book!

I recently finished Joshilyn Jackson‘s latest novel, A Grown-up Kind of Pretty, and it was an enjoyable, engaging read.  The story takes place in Mississippi and centers on three generations of women and their struggle against secrets, small town expectations, and their own mistakes.

The story is well-written and modern, the characters are real and accessible (which is especially helpful as the narrative moves between the three main protagonists), and there’s just enough of the essential elements (Love! Family! Sex! Mystery! Crime! Tension between social classes! Friendship! Identity struggles!) to draw you in–and keep you hooked.

But, I have a confession: I almost gave up on this book. I misunderstood the prologue, assuming the book was going to be centered on a custody battle, and the prospect of a mother losing her child was too much. So, the book went back to the bedside table, abandoned for a few weeks. But, I it beckoned to me (read me, read me, it chanted), so I packed it in my bag for a recent business trip. On the plane ride home, I settled in to try again, and before I knew it, I was captivated. The miles just disappeared, as I immersed myself in Jackson’s compelling story. It was a great lesson for me about always giving books a second chance.

I was enthralled by the trio of women–Big, Liza, and Mosey–and their fierce love for one another. As a mother and a daughter, I could relate and appreciate the choices they make to protect and help one another.

I hadn’t read anything by Jackson before, and now, I will keep her in mind when I am looking for something to read. (On her website, you can see a list of her books.) A Grown-up Kind of Pretty is a great book to stick in the Christmas stocking of a girlfriend or your mom (in fact, as soon as this blog post goes up, I am handing the book over to my Mom who has already claimed it for her next read).

If you’re interested in giving the book a try, you can download the first chapter here.

Happy Holidays, dear readers, 
and all the best for any last-minute shopping you have left to do!

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher to review, but all the thoughts expressed here are my own.