When your bookish friend (Hey Megan!) tells you that a book gave her the creeps and yet she still highly recommended it, you take the recommendation. I found that Hoopla had Allegedly on audiobook, and the minute it started playing, I knew I was going to be hooked for two reasons. The first- because Bahni Turpin was the narrator, and she’s fantastic. The second, because the first chapter darn near slaps you in the face.

Mary Addison killed a baby when she was nine…allegedly. She’s (almost) sixteen now, out of baby-jail and in an abusive group home with a half dozen other underage convicts, and still hasn’t come to terms with what happened all those years ago. People know her name everywhere, have followed her case, have even proposed to create a movie about the alleged murder- but Mary can’t fathom how anyone would understand what happened that night, when the only ones who were there were herself, Alyssa the baby, and her mother.

Her only refuges are books, her job at a nursing home, and her boyfriend Ted. With Ted, she feels safe and loved- two things she desires most. When she finds out that she’s pregnant with Ted’s child, she’s determined to rise above her past and give “Bean” a family, home, and good life. She decides, with Ted’s encouragement, to try to take the SATs to see if she can get into college. Then, when her group home manager and case manager find out about her pregnancy, the state gets involved- they won’t allow an alleged baby murderer to be a mother. Mary gets a lawyer with the help of her roommate, a new girl in the home, and they take on the case, delving into the past to find out the truth about how Alyssa died that night. However, the deeper they go, the more Mary realizes that she can’t keep protecting her mother if she also wants to keep her baby.

It’s a dark, twisty, gritty, gripping novel, and I was hanging on every word. Even though it is considered young adult, there are some very serious adult themes in the novel, and I certainly wouldn’t consider it fluffy- so don’t let that label/reputation fool you. There’s a lot of heavy content, a lot of abuse and violence mentally and physically, and to me is meant for a mature audience, even though the MC is sixteen.

Jackson’s writing is fantastically crafted, as the truth about the murder is slowly revealed. The whole time, I wasn’t sure if Mary really killed the baby, or if she was covering for someone else- and I definitely didn’t see the end coming. It was certainly one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to this year, and as always, Bahni has such a way with bringing her characters to life.

If you’re looking to squeeze in an audiobook by the end of the month, I recommend this one fully- you won’t be able to stop listening!