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A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty

Grand Central. Jan. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780446582353. $25.99. F
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Jackson (Backseat Saints) has written an unusual Southern family saga revolving around three generations of lonely, hardscrabble Slocumb women. Grandmother Ginny is the glue that holds them together when her ex-drug addict daughter, Liza, has a severe stroke, leaving her voiceless except for a few vowel sounds. Fifteen-year-old granddaughter Mosey is the same age her mother and grandmother were when they had their daughters, but Mosey isn't like her forebears; she's scarcely been kissed by a boy. When Ginny decides to pull out the old willow tree in the backyard to make room for a pool to use in rehabilitating Liza, a shallow grave is uncovered, revealing a small skeleton dressed in tattered baby clothes and unleashing a series of events for which Liza seems to have an explanation—but she can't tell. The story is told in the alternating voices of the women as the mystery unfolds.
VERDICT Liza, as the unreliable narrator, is used to perfection in this warm family story that teeters between emotional highs and lows, laughter and tears. Book groups will eat this up. [See Prepub Alert, 7/18/11.]

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