a grown-up kind of pretty by Joshilyn Jackson

If the fairies stole a baby, they left a changeling behind, and, often the secret was never discovered. In Joshilyn Jackson’s new Southern mystery – a grown-up kind of pretty – the removal of an old willow tree in Mississippi uncovers baby bones wrapped in a familiar blanket, and triggers an investigation and a family crisis.

Fifteen years old is a danger year for the three women in the story. Ginny (known as Big) becomes an unwed mother at 15; her daughter, Liza, does the same when she reaches that age. Now, Mosey, Liza’s daughter, understands that the discovery of the makeshift grave in her Grandmother’s backyard means that she may not follow the same route – because she is not her mother’s daughter.

As Big and Mosey look for clues, each discovering different possibilities, Liza, stricken by a stroke, struggles to speak to tell them the truth. You may be distracted by all the red herrings and the down home accents as the mystery unfolds,

If you enjoy Jackson’s brand of what she calls “redemption infested stories,” a grown-up kind of pretty offers a quick read with all the strings neatly tied in the end.

Another Jackson Book: Backseat Saints

National Book Award Winners 2011

National Book Award Winners for this year were announced at a ceremony hosted last night in Manhattan by John Lithgow:

Award for Young People’s Literature: Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Award for Nonfiction: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt – “how a 15th century book lover was the catalyst for the Renaissance’s rediscovery of classicism.”

Award for Fiction: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward – “12 days in the life of a poor African American family attempting to weather Hurricane Katrina in coastal Mississippi.”

Award for Poetry: Head Off and Split by Nicky Finney