I devoured Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson during my time at the Teachers Pay Teachers conference in Austin. I read bit by bit in the hotel room, but absolutely demolished it on my plane rides home. In this post, I hope to help you match this novel with its perfect reader and answer the question, “Why is Allegedly perfect for your high school classroom?”
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When she was only nine-years-old, the state convicted Mary of killing baby Alyssa. This, even though it was Mary’s mother babysitting. Even though her mother clearly has psychological issues. Even though Mary loved Alyssa more than anything.
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson picks up years later–when, desperate to save her own unborn baby, Mary is finally ready to share the truth about Alyssa’s death. If you have reluctant female readers, then this book is a thriller you’ll need in your high school classroom!
What Drew Me To Allegedly?
Allegedly was actually a student recommendation! That alone makes it “lit” to me–it is already student-tested and approved!
During the first week of a new class, I always try to do speed dating with books in the library. It was during one of these sessions that I was chatting with some students about what they like to read.
A group of the “tough girls” told me that they loved true crime and “whodunnit” stories, so I recommended Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson.
They came back and asked me if I had ever read her other book Allegedly. I hadn’t, but the girls had great things to say. They tried to explain the plot to me, but couldn’t really put it into words (proving that summarizing is still a skill to be taught, even in high school!).
At the end of the semester, one of the girls brought up Allegedly again. So when I made my next First Book Marketplace order, I threw one in my cart. I already know that Allegedly will be a classroom library hit because it was recommended by some of my hardest to engage students!
What Makes Allegedly “Lit” for High School?
Allegedly has many things to attract the high school reader. Firstly, the main character Mary lives in a group home for female juvenile delinquents. Second, at the core of the story is the mystery–how did baby Alyssa really die? Thirdly, there is a boy. A forbidden boy. And an unborn child on the way.
Juicy, right? Your students will think so too!
Like Jackson’s other work, there are just enough twists to keep you guessing and the ending is a shocker!
The story is also told in a way to keep easily distracted students’ attention. While much of the story is told through the protagonist Mary’s words, it is told through flashbacks and old articles, newspaper clippings, and book excerpts.
Who’s the Ideal Reader for Allegedly?
Typically, it is the passionate girls in my class who adore Allegedly. They love drama, relationships, and mystery. They are vocal about their opinions, and they are probably the girls you have to reprimand once in a while for gossip.
I don’t think that means that others won’t enjoy this book, but I think for a teenage girl full of angst, this one is especially juicy.
Otherwise, you can recommend this novel to any students who you know enjoy psychological thrillers and darker stories. It might also appeal to those students who need something that feels “real” in order to connect and stay far away from fantasy and sci-fi.
While the Lexile is a little low for an average teenager, the content is not.
The reading level is perfect for lower-level high schoolers. Because of the content, Allegedly should be left to high school. I would not put this book in a middle school classroom library (or probably in the library of any classroom in a super conservative school).
Allegedly: The Facts
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Setting: Modern-day New York–partially in a group home, partly a nursing home, and with some flashbacks
Main Character: Mary Addison
Page Numbers: 387
If you’ve decided that you need Allegedly for your high school classroom, it is available on First Book at the time of this posting. Or you can order it from Amazon here. If you want to find other dark mysteries for teenage girls, read my classroom review of Broken Things by Lauren Oliver.
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