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A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty: A Novel Hardcover – January 25, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"A mesmerizing tale of a family coping with the revelation of a secret that will change their lives. . . Jackson's most absorbing book yet, a lush, rich read with three very different but equally compelling characters at its core."―Kristine Huntley, Booklist (Starred Review)

"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."―Library Journal

"A Southern charmer, laced with humor, mystery and affairs of the heart.... A valentine to the bonds of family!"―Family Circle

"Snappy dialogue with a Southern twang, spiritual uplift and undeniably likable characters."―Kirkus Reviews

"Highly immersive... a compelling page turner."―Publishers Weekly

"[There are] hundreds of moving parts in the machinery of Jackson's intricate mystery, all deliciously unraveled one tantalizing clue at a time."―Gina Webb, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"A deeply felt, engaging story."―The Atlantic

"Three generations of Slocumbs grapple with deep-buried family secrets in this entertaining Southern whodunit."―All You Magazine

"Highly immersive... a compelling page turner."―PW

"Jackson's signature style-the feisty, bighearted voice of Gods in Alabama and Backseat Saints-propels this funny, dark whodunit, where strong women who've made bad choices band together to come out on top."―Melissa Ruggieri, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Engrossing... A mystery, comedy and drama wrapped up in one."―Katie Lewis, Bookpage

"Gripping."―Chris Waddington, The Times Picayune

"A quirky mystery that serves up a delicious blend of likeable characters, plot twists and life as seen through the eyes of three remarkable women in a Southern family, namely Mosey, Ginny, and Liza. The dialogue is authentic and the writing insightful and unexpectedly witty."―Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen

"A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty proves again that Joshilyn Jackson is one the best writers of the new generation. This spellbinding novel unfolds through the voices of three women in one family: a grandmother, a mother, a young daughter. Jackson renders each of these women with vivid tenderness, ferocity, and great humor, so that the family itself becomes the fourth vital character in the story. You will find yourself rooting for them all, to the very last page."―Mark Childress, author of Georgia Bottoms and Crazy in Alabama

"An unforgettable story of generational dysfunction and sloppily buried secrets."―Theresa Weaver, Atlanta Magazine

"Reading A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty feels a lot like falling in love: giddy and enthralling and a little bit dangerous. It's a heart-thumping mystery, an edge-of-your-seat drama, and a fiercely sweet comedy all at once, with a fistful of crazy-brave characters who reach from up the wild pages and grip your heart. I loved this book about what it means to be a family for its big heart, its pitch-perfect dialogue and the clever plot twists I've come to expect from Jackson. Book clubs take note: Here's your next pick!"―Sara Gruen, NYT bestselling author of Water for Elephants and Ape House

"Madness! Mayhem! Laughter! Tears! Emotional rollercoasters, old lies and an unmarked grave propel the Slocumb women into action. Joshilyn Jackson's signature style explodes in A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY. Buckle up and enjoy!"―Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Very Valentine

About the Author

Joshilyn Jackson, a native of the Deep South, has worked as an actor and an award-winning teacher, and is now a writer and a mother of two. She is the author of gods in Alabama; Between, Georgia; The Girl Who Stopped Swimming; and Backseat Saints. Jackson lives with her husband and children outside of Atlanta. Visit her website at

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First edition (January 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446582352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446582353
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #906,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times Bestselling author of six novels, most recently SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY

Her short novella, MY OWN MIRACULOUS, is the prequel to her latest title, and is available as an e book and an audio download.

She lives in Decatur, Georgia with her husband and their two kids. She loves Bourbon and Hot Yoga (not together) and she has more dogs than you. Unless you have three.

She's also an award winning audiobook narrator.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Genevieve Graham on January 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'd never read anything by Joshilyn Jackson before and was honoured to receive an ARC from our shared agent. I'm now a fan. I'm off to buy the rest of her books today.

"A Grown-Up Kind Of Pretty" dives fearlessly into the lives and psyches of three completely different women, including one who has suffered a massive stroke. The personalities of these women, shaped through hard, grasping lives, are so real, so accessible it makes it entirely natural to love and hate just as fiercely as they do. I roared at Jackson's straightforward humour; her dialogues are quick and smart and completely perfect. I thought I was tough, going through the book and living the women's pain without shedding a tear, but she got me in the end and the tears came from much deeper than I'd ever have expected.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Julie A. Smith on January 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The novel starts out with Big (Virginia), 45 years old and her fears that something bad is going to happen. After all, something bad seems to happen every 15 years. She had her daughter Liza when she was 15 years old. In turn, Liza had her own daughter Mosey when SHE was 15. Liza had a massive stroke at Mosey's school dance when she was 30, and she is still recovering, unable to communicate and struggling to remember the tiniest things. With Mosey now getting ready to turn 15, Big worries that Mosey will repeat both her own and Liza's behavior, and end up pregnant at 15 as well.

Mosey, however, is determined that SHE will NOT follow in those footsteps. Despite being a virgin, she has a supply of pregnancy tests that she uses "just to be sure".

When a silver box with infant bones is found on Big's property as the willow tree is being removed to put a pool in for Liza's therapy, the mystery of where the bones came from and whose bones they are pulls at Big and the reader as Mosey and her friends work to figure it out as well.

Told in the alternating POV's of all three sassy women (Liza in third person, Big and Mosey in 1st), this tale of three women from "the wrong side of the tracks" is authentic and heartwarming, full of wit as well as sadness. You will cheer them on, and, applaud Big's strength as she faces the person who could tear her Mosey away from her.

I LOVED all of them. Closing the pages on this one was difficult, as I'd instantly become immersed in their story. I cheered Liza in her small steps to recover from her stroke and laughed at the way she "played" her mom sometimes. Big has a huge heart full of love and protectiveness for her family (a lioness, that woman!). Mosey is an awesome teen, and her quirky friendships made me smile.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Uniquely Moi Books on January 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This one is to be highly anticipated. A well thought out mystery/suspense that'll leave you in shock. Jackson has thought of everything you could ask for in a book! Full of danger, love, heartache and hope.

In this remarkable story you will meet all three Slocumb women. Everyone calls the oldest in the family Big. Next we meet Big's daughter Liza, and finally the remarkable Mosey. Mosey is Liza's daughter, following in the bad line of Big's theory of the fifteen year doom.

They are upon the fifteen year mark and Liza has suffered a stroke. So bad off, she can't even talk, much less walk on her own. That's not where this story really starts though. It's when Big wants to cut down Liza's tree to put in a swimming pool for her therapy. Mosey begs her not to because that tree isn't just any ol' tree, it's special. Liza went to that tree for many reasons. To think, be alone, and even to put her sobriety pins on it. She was a part of that tree.

Mosey just can't get Big to change her mind. Mosey thinks the tree is better for Liza, Big thinks the pool will be. Alas, the tree comes down. And that's when everything goes downhill. As Liza comes screaming out the back door, a tiny little box is found with something inside. Something that will question just who Mosey is.
Everything has just been turned upside down. Their whole world and everything they knew.
What did Liza put in that box?
And how can Big fix it without Mosey finding out the truth?
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Marinan Brewer on January 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the fifth book Jackson has written. Of the 5, I believe this is her best, so far.
You certainly don't want to put the book down until you are finished. It holds you and pulls you along with it.

Quite a lot of detail work was done by jackson to pull this one off so perfectly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Ballance on April 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I haven't read a story this good in years! It's a mystery and a love story and a story about the strength of women all infused with so much humor that I laughed outloud! I literally could not put it down.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jenny on July 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful, warm, amazing book. The author has created characters that are imperfect, understandable, and real. Highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sheila A. Dechantal on March 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
Fifteen year old Mosey Slocumb wants to be like other girls her age. She wants to have close girl friends, she wants to date boys, and she wants to have a mom and a dad who love her to the core.

But none of this seems to be in the cards for her.

Mosey lives with her grandmother "Big" Virginia who feels that something bad happens every fifteen years. Why she had her own daughter, Mosey's mom, Liza, when she was 15. Liza in turn had Mosey at 15 and when Liza turned 30 she has a massive stroke, that seems to carry a lot of mystery around it.

Then as if life is not mixed up enough, while a pool is being put in for Liza's therapy a small box of infant bones is found during the dig and life takes yet another spin...

Whose bones are they and who holds the secret to that answer?

This is my third book/audio by Joshilyn Jackson. I have listened to Gods In Alabama, and Backseat Saints. All three of these audio books are narrated by the author and if you are an audio book person you are going to love her narration. If you are new to audio, these books would be wonderful starters as she is a captivating read.

A Grown Up Kind Of Pretty is a bit different from the previous two books I read. Because of Mosely's age and occasional first person narration of the book, you could almost call this a YA read. Almost. Big is also a first person narrator of the book and Liza comes in as a third person narration, mainly recalling the past and what she wishes she could change. The result of this style of writing is impressive as you are hearing from the three generations of women with only 15 years between each of them.
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