Parents' Guide to


By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Gritty, powerful thriller about girl jailed in baby killing.

Allegedly Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 7 parent reviews

age 16+
Was a great twist at the end. Very insightful look into the life of kids incarcerated. I couldn't put it down.
age 17+

Unsuitable for younger teenagers

The dark theme makes it entirely unsuitable for younger readers. It is most certainly a "New Adult" book.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (7 ):
Kids say (8 ):

While Allegedly is a gritty, gripping page-turner about convicted baby killer Mary Addison, it is about so much more. Readers will see how the juvenile justice system often fails the kids it's supposed to help. Themes of family, abuse, PTSD, teen pregnancy, mental illness, juvenile justice, and the ripple effect of loss are explored. Readers get a realistic insight into the uphill battle juvenile offenders face in trying to get their lives back on track. The book picks up with Mary living in a group home after her stint in jail. The group home is brutal, and the barrage of hatred and setbacks Mary experiences gets exhausting and repetitive at points. It's true to life, but it's hard to read.

The story is told from Mary's point of view, and the colloquial narration and teen dialogue ring true, with rough talk and swearing. Her relationship with her mother is heartbreaking. For all Mary's gone through, her childlike faith in her mother is sweet as well as maddening. The romance between Mary and Ted is tough but believable. It provides a few bright spots in the story. He has his own history and issues, but he's trying to do right by Mary and change his own life while helping her change hers. The tension in the story comes from Mary revisiting her memories of the night baby Alyssa died. She's not sure she can trust her memories, but she's not sure she can trust her mother, either. Nor can she trust a system that was anxious to put a 9-year-old girl behind bars. Documentation from her court case and media coverage is woven into the story and helps heighten the suspense. The twist toward the end throws the book offtrack. The story would have been better served by the introduction of some of the surprises sooner, but for many readers, it might entice them to read the book again to pick up the clues.

Book Details

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