HarperAudio. 2020. 819p. ISBN 9781799941194. $34.99. F
This title includes a content warning for sexual abuse, rape, assault, child abuse, kidnapping, and opioid addiction. Jackson’s (Let Me Hear a Rhyme) latest has all that and worse: the gruesome opening chapter introduces 17-year-old Enchanted Jones as she confuses the blood of murdered megastar Korey Fields for beet juice. She might have thought she was grown when she insisted on building a singing career with Korey as mentor. True to her name, enchanted she hoped her life must be, to receive his generous financial support for her struggling family. Reality proves to be a never-waking nightmare, as Korey’s initially sweet, thoughtful façade reveals a manipulative monster preying on young girls. Narrator Joniece Abbott-Pratt has no easy job here, but her raw, emotional involvement offers an affecting enhancement to an urgent performance. Her versatile voice catches just the right pitch: straddling Enchanted’s naivete and sudden maturation, the doubt-filled frustration of her elusive friend Gabriela, and the bitter bite of additional victims. Just as effortlessly, Abbott-Pratt drops to Korey’s sly wheedling and rage-filled growls, and quickly ratchets up to parental disbelief-turned-desperation.
VERDICT Rife with crucial issues, Jackson’s newest YA bestseller will require multiple formats to satisfy audience demands.
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