August 11, 2021 7:36 AM EDT

Mary Addison entered “baby jail” when she was only nine years old, after being convicted of murdering an infant her mother, who is mentally ill, was babysitting. Now 15 and living in a group home, Mary has become infamous due to the media coverage of her trial and endures bullying from other girls and women at the home. After having a sexual relationship with a man she meets through a community service placement, Mary becomes pregnant, and the adults in her life begin discussing putting her baby up for adoption—something Mary does not want, but feels powerless to stop. Only then does she revisit the night that landed her in jail six years ago, relating her story for the first time. Told in no-frills prose, Allegedly, published in 2017, hooks its audience by positioning itself as a gritty thriller before grappling with reproductive rights, mental health and racism inside the criminal justice system, heavy themes impressed upon young readers through the intensity of Mary’s gripping story. —Shay Maunz

Buy Now: Allegedly on Bookshop | Amazon

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
EDIT POST