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Monday's Not Coming

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"Jackson’s characters and their heart-wrenching story linger long after the final page, urging readers to advocate for those who are disenfranchised and forgotten by society and the system." ( Publishers Weekly , "An Anti-Racist Children's and YA Reading List") From the critically acclaimed author of Allegedly , Tiffany D. Jackson, comes a gripping novel about the mystery of one teenage girl’s disappearance and the traumatic effects of the truth. Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help. As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

432 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 22, 2018

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About the author

Tiffany D. Jackson

14 books5,972 followers
Tiffany D. Jackson is the New York Times Bestselling author of YA novels including the Coretta Scott King — John Steptoe New Talent Award-winning Monday’s Not Coming, the NAACP Image Award-nominated Allegedly, Let Me Hear A Rhyme, and her 2020 title GROWN. She received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University, her master of arts in media studies from the New School, and has over a decade in TV/Film experience. The Brooklyn native is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,290 reviews
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,536 reviews9,776 followers
May 24, 2023
PLEASE READ THIS BOOK.



As with Jackson's debut novel, Allegedly, this extremely moving YA Contemporary story is heavy and emotionally, I'll admit, a lot to process.



Following a young girl, Claudia, after the disappearance of her best friend, Monday, Monday's Not Coming is sure to tear at your heartstrings.

Tackling real life issues, Jackson never shies away from hitting the reader in the face with reality; hard.



This book hurt my heart, mind and soul. It was so good, so important and so intense. I need more people to read it. I need everybody to read it.

PLEASE READ THIS BOOK!!!

Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
March 23, 2019
Extremely touching. This book strikes a beautiful balance between a sweet story of friendship and profound story of loss and confusion. Review to come!

CW: racism, homophobia, substance use, abuse, domestic violence

I absolutely adored this story for it's strong message of friendship. Claudia and Monday have such a deep connection. All of the flashbacks containing scenes of Claudia and Monday persevering against bullies, making sense of who they want to be, and just sharing genuine moments of an innocent childhood friendship warmed my heart. The author did a fantastic job of creating two complex characters with a strong relationship, which enabled the story to be as impactful as it is.

I also loved the bit DC black culture incorporated into the novel through go-go music! Claudia and Monday love this subgenre of funk/r&b/hiphop that originated in the DC area. Claudia's passion for this music added a sweet, passionate layer to an otherwise gritty story. It helped to lighten the mood, expand on the setting, and introduced me to a gene of music that's pretty cool.

My biggest gripe with the novel was the non-chronological timeline. This story jumps around between "Before" "After" "1 Year Before the Before" "2 Week After the After" etc. I personally found this decision to be confusing and unnecessary. This format is a fantastic tool for many novels, but I don't feel the author succeeded in what she was trying to do. I understand the reasoning for this creative choice, but it did feel like it served no significant purpose. I would have enjoyed the novel more if the timeline had been better structured.

My only other issue was one of the final plot twists of the story. I believe this story would have been much stronger without the addition. For me, it was just not explained well and starkly stood out compared to the well-developed story that was established.

Despite the charming theme of friendship, Monday's Not Coming is tragic and devastating. It's intensely gripping, but deals with some vivid imagery that's hard to process. I'm not only referring to the violence of this novel, but just watching a young girl be so concerned about a friend and have almost no one take her seriously caused a constant lump in my throat while reading. It's emotional and hard-hitting, which makes it such an instant recommendation from me. If you're looking for a young adult contemporary to make you feel deeply and think critically about the world we live in today, Monday's Not Coming is a novel you won't want to miss.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Teen for a promotion unrelated to this review. I had no obligation to read and review this book. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for daph pink ♡ .
929 reviews3,016 followers
October 30, 2021
A painfully intelligent tale of child abuse, love and best friends with a few complications but if we ignore them it was WOW, SIMPLY WOW.

If you read the synopsis there is this comment by Laurie Halse Anderson "mesmerizing punch in gut" ACCURATE !

Before we begin here is trigger warning :- child abuse / homophobic comments / depiction of poverty / verbal abuse/ bullying/ torture / anxiety / trauma / parents neglect

It's important to tell because I don't want any of you to experience any anxiety or emotional pain! Because I felt emotional pain so bad, I cried like literally cried my eyes out , it was so emotional and painful to see these 14 year old kids going through so much !
Plot
The novel follows the story of two best friends more like soul sisters Claudia , a middle schooler suffering from dyslexia and Monday( it's a name of character and her siblings are April, Tuesday and August ), child of single household mother who is suffering from issues , Monday is smart in all aspects of life like studies, boys, partying everything !
But when in year 8 Monday didn't came to school after summer breaks Claudia starts searching for her and everyone seems to act strange and nobody tells her where she is?

Chapter titles

It's first time I am talking about chapter titles , but the way the chapters are named it waa so innovative and creative , like I was really impressed by the revelation which will lead to discovery of why the chapters are named this way .

Writing

I really really liked her kinda solid way of expressing the feelings of characters. I liked how she used the specific verbals of region like use of some indegionus slangs and words.

Why it is a really good y/a genre?

This is something I wanted to talk about this book is so painful that while reading it my heart felt heavy and weak, it really touched me like some events of abuse were horrendously painful .
I felt that Claudia was naive like my heart was shattering when she was pulled from track , like when she was going in right direction and something bad happens to her and she is again pulled back to her bubble and Monday omg right from the starting I knew something was wrong but you have to keep that burden in your heart till the end to know it !

Apart from being a really good y/a mystery book , it also give a glimpse of romance both toxic and healthy , like there were so many parallels , examples of good parenting and bad parenting , I really like how this book covered a wide range of genres

The book give us insuring lessons that are unrelatable to people but they are important to know!!

I would highly highly recommend this book !
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
May 28, 2018
This is the story of how my best friend disappeared. How nobody noticed she was gone except me. And how nobody cared until they found her . . . one year later.

This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. Even though I disliked the ending of Jackson's Allegedly, it was still a strong, gripping and important book, and I couldn't wait for the author to write something else. What's most disappointing about Monday's Not Coming is that it is an important book, but it isn't very strong, and it definitely isn't gripping.

Jackson rips another plot from the headlines-- this time about the unexplained and unquestioned disappearances of young black girls in Washington D.C. In this particular story, Claudia's best friend - Monday - never shows up for school one day and no explanation is given as to her whereabouts. The school have removed her from the system, her phone no longer works, and her family seem reluctant to give answers. It is almost as if Monday never existed.

It's a compelling premise, to be sure, but the novel's confusing timeline paired with lots of padding drained every bit of tension and urgency out of the story. Where Allegedly had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish, Monday's Not Coming failed to make my heart pound and my jaw clench like the author’s first book.

Sadly, it is one of those books that has an intriguing premise and a shocking reveal, but simply does not know what to do with those several hundred pages in the middle. As we wait to discover what happened to Monday, we must suffer through many superfluous scenes that did nothing to further the story. We are taken through Claudia's everyday life and into flashbacks of her friendship with Monday, but it all feels like filler.

Claudia, at 14-16 years old, is younger than the protagonists I'm used to in YA, but her narrative felt younger still. There were parts where I felt like I was inside the head of an 8 year old. It made it difficult to settle into the flow of the book.

But worse than that was the constant jumping around between different timelines. There's Claudia in the "Before", as she is discovering that Monday has disappeared, Claudia in the "After", which is later when she knows what happened, and then we get chapters like "Two Years Before the Before", which not only sounds stupid, but also makes for a very confusing read.

Eventually it becomes apparent why the author decided to do this, but by that point I'd already struggled too much. And, to be honest, I find myself once again raising an eyebrow at the ending, rather than being impressed. Readers of Allegedly will be poised in anticipation of some twist and, just as I thought it weakened the ending of that book, I feel like we are again presented with a reveal so out of left field that it's more "seriously?" than "oh my god!".

I'm sad this book didn't quite live up to the premise, but I acknowledge that Jackson is writing some very brave and important stories. I'll be on the look out for more.

TW: Abuse; domestic violence; homophobic slurs; drug use.

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Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.2k followers
January 8, 2021
First 5 star book of the year. This was really hard to read at times but WOW was it incredible. Tiffany D. Jackson does hard-hitting contemporary like no other.

TW: child abuse/neglect, miscarriage, pregnancy complications, homophobia, slut shaming
Profile Image for Patty .
818 reviews370 followers
July 24, 2018
** 4.5 stars **

I don't know if I'll be able to write an actual review using words. I'll try but until then I leave you this. PLEASE READ THIS BOOK.

Me before reading Monday's Not Coming:
Please please please please PLEASE don't let this ruin me.
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Me once I started reading:
Damn. Tiffany D. Jackson ain't easing into this?!
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Me getting confused by the Before, Before the Before, After, One year before the before:
Wait...so does this before chapter take place right after the last before chapter?
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Me when shit starts to hit the fan:
OH no. no. no no no no I CANT
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Me wanting to hug Claudia:
description
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Me when the details came out:
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Me at the end:
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DAMN. WHAT A READ.
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TIFFANY D JACKSON. WOW
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Profile Image for Gabby.
1,228 reviews26.6k followers
October 4, 2020
This is my first book from Tiffany D. Jackson, and I’m super impressed. Lately I’ve been avoiding all things YA, but I’ve been recommended this book so many times I finally decided to listen to the audiobook, and I’m so glad I did. This story is heartbreaking and touching and so powerful. We follow this young girl named Claudia who’s best friend Monday goes missing, and she is trying to figure out why it seems like nobody cares.

I was really intrigued by the mystery of where Monday went, but I also just really adored their friendship in this book. I also had a friendship like this in high school where you’re just really close with one person and your friendship is all consuming and without them you feel lost and like you lost a part of yourself too, so this hit really close to home in that aspect of it. This story is getting a lot of criticism because of the amount of time the author spends developing this characters in flashbacks as opposed to building the mystery, but I thought the flashbacks were great and only made me care so much more about the characters. I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style she did with the chapters going: ‘before, after, before the before,” because it made it a little confusing at times but since I was listening to it on audio it didn’t bother me as much as it probably would have if I read it physically.

The ending was shocking and I know I probably should’ve seen it coming but I didn’t, and I was nearly crying listening to the audiobook while I was driving. I can’t wait to check out more books from this author!
Profile Image for Bookishrealm.
1,909 reviews4,782 followers
October 24, 2021
There aren't many books out there that make me cry, that make me feel so incredibly broken. I shouldn't be surprised that Tiffany D. Jackson was able to do it with this book. She's one of the best writers in the game out the moment who deserves all the respect in the world. TW: homophobia, child abuse, miscarriage, slut shaming

Monday's Not Coming is an intricate book. A book that focuses on two very heavy subjects: the unexplained disappearances of Black children and the broken system that often allows the children to slip through the cracks. The story takes place from the perspective of Claudia who worries when no one begins to notice how her best friend Monday has disappeared. As Claudia attempts to solve the mystery of her missing friend, the story unfolds layer by layer bringing the reader to a devastating conclusion. This is no easy book to read and while I, as a reader, had a small suspicion of what the story was about there is no way I could have imagined the way in which Jackson would craft this story. Although it can be quite hard to find the beauty in such a devastating story, I really appreciated the complexity of the relationship between Claudia and Monday. Their friendship is beyond the average relationship. They are soulmates, two individuals destined to be bound to each other. It is the very core of their relationship that makes the story even more heartbreaking. One interesting component of this book is that it refrains from the typically structured timeline. It is told in the "before", the "after," the "year before the before," and what appears to be a month by month timeline. For a lot of readers, this manner of structuring the story is confusing. However, I found it to be interesting especially with the plot twist. In a lot of ways, I feel like this isn't a book that can be read once to fully grasp its purpose. In my opinion, the confusion is an intentional writing tool to help the reader really empathize with Claudia's experience.

Another interesting aspect of this book was the writing. I truly believe that Jackson is one of the best YA writers in the game. This is extremely evident in this novel. Claudia has this fascination with colors and while that doesn't seem like a big deal, it is extremely relevant to Jackson's character development and the lens through which Claudia sees other characters. In fact, I believe that the use of color is also utilized to portray the complex trauma that Black women often face. This trauma fundamentally changes them as people. The changing of colors while describing these women is extremely important to understanding how often Black women and girls go unnoticed while facing drama. While reading this novel, it never ceased to amaze me that Jackson was able to beautifully write something that would ultimately be so heartbreaking. I caution readers to understand that there isn't much that you can do to prepare yourself for the ending. It's sad to realize that the reality of this book is the reality of so many young black girls and women.

Naturally, Jackson is an autobuy author for me and I can't wait to dive into more of her books. I highly recommend this one.
Profile Image for Ellen Gail.
839 reviews376 followers
June 4, 2018
How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?


Allegedly scrambled my brain with a spork. Monday's Not Coming went for my heart instead.

I haven't had a case of the post-book sads this bad since I finished Living Dead Girl. The book hangover is going to be real.



Monday's Not Coming isn't a perfect book. The timelines can get confusing. The big twist didn't have quite the impact that Allegedly did. But the emotion beneath it all rang clear, and that's what made the book for me.

Red flags.
Not blush red, orange red, wine, or ruby red. No, bloody red flags. Did you see them, Claudia? Did you?
Did you see any red flags?


With a ripped from the headlines flare, Tiffany D. Jackson's sophomore novel has a lot of solid, potent hits. I know nothing about being a black girl growing up in DC, but the story feels real and tangible. Jackson's writing is beautiful, cause duh, I knew it would be. It's often painfully real. Claudia, her mother, and Ms. Valente all felt like spectacularly clear characters. Even if I haven't lived it, I could still feel them through the pages (or Kindle, in this case).

"I want you to take a good look at this board," Carson said, his voice hardening. "Over the last few months we've had dozens of girls around here reported missing, close to fifty in one week. Alleged kidnappings when most of them just run off away from home 'cause they can't do what they want."
"But shouldn't you still be looking for them anyways?"


It's very much a story of failure, of cracks in an already broken system. How do you move on in life when your best friend in life is suddenly gone? Should you move on? Adolescence is hard enough without having to fight for your friend when it feels like you'll always be fighting alone.

Really, the story's only big drawback for me is the timeline.



When you have "before" "after" and "one year / two years before the before", it's pretty easy to get lost. It would really pull me out of my immersion when I had to pause and say, "wait, what? where / when are we right now?" And some of that is clearer later on and some isn't. But it could definitely prevent some people from getting into the book at all.

Overall I'm so pleased with Monday's Not Coming, even if it did make me cry. Tiffany Jackson will continue to be an author I'll keep an eye on, (although not literally - I'm absolutely terrible at stealth).

Quotations taken from digital review copy and is subject to change.
Big Thank you to Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss for letting me read a drc!
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,074 reviews13.3k followers
January 10, 2021
TW for child abuse, miscarriage, homophobia

This was one of the hardest books I've ever read and it was heartbreaking as Claudia went on a journey of trying to find out what happened to her best friend, Monday. The narrative structure was very interesting and I didn't really have that hard of a time following it until the end. We would jump around Claudia's life from before Monday went missing to after and then in between. There was something that happened at the end that made the timeline harder to follow and I do wish at that point that I had picked this up physically instead of on audio so that I could pay closer attention to what time we were in. That is honestly my only complaint about this book, though. Other than that, this book is a very dark, raw story that takes a look at how society does not give these Black girls who are disappearing the justice and time they deserve. My heart broke for Claudia and Monday, especially seeing as what happened to Monday happens in our real world and it is our own fault it is happening. Be emotionally prepared to read this book because it will hit you in the gut and you won't be able to stop thinking about it any time soon.
Profile Image for Melany.
436 reviews70 followers
June 8, 2022
Absolutely breathtaking book. This had me crying. Literally, I am so shook. I loved that I stumbled upon this book as Tiffany D. Jackson is now one of my favorite authors. This book had me feeling so many emotions and truly worried about how children are treated in their own homes now. I just want to take them all and love on them. As a Mom, this one was hard to read the ending. I cried, a lot. The author's writing style is absolutely going to put you in a trance. This was my first book I've read by this author but I will absolutely be reading her other books now!
Profile Image for Lois .
1,756 reviews466 followers
June 7, 2019
I really liked this. While it does contain mystery and thriller elements, this felt more like an exploration of community relationships, classism and respectability politics. As well as the major issues that this book draws attention to, some of which are spoilers, but the obvious one is the lack of attention paid by authorities to missing black girls. This is a real issue with devastating community consequences. I was very over protective of my teenage daughter as a result.
Profile Image for Jess Owens.
303 reviews4,388 followers
May 27, 2021
I have feelings !!!

4.5/5

TW: child abuse, child neglect, PTSD, death of a child

Wow. This was intense. Claudia and Monday are best friends, they do everything together. They love to dance, Monday does Claudia’s hair, Claudia does Monday’s nails. They’re basically sisters, they’re inseparable. Claudia spends summers in Georgia with her grandma and she and Monday always write letter back and forth over the summer. The story steers with Claudia arriving home after the summer and Monday hadn’t written to her all summer. She immediately is asking where’s Monday and no one has any answers and no one seems to care.

I always a nagging feeling while reading this but couldn’t figure out what exactly happened to Monday. This was super fast paced, I think the short chapters really helped with that and I read it in 2 days. I loved that Claudia had such supportive and loving parents but they still had rules and expectations for her. I love that there was a love interest that was a smart and kind young man and not a jerk. I loved Claudia and Monday’s relationship and how they looked out for one another.

Besides trying to figure out what happened to Monday, watching the emotions that Claudia goes through is so heartbreaking and stressful. It made me so anxious to turn the page because I didn’t know when she would be let down again or find out something disappointing. I loved that Jackson weaved in happy moments with Claudia and Monday with the sadder, stressful moments of looking for her. The narrative structure really kept me on my toes because it was present, past and past past if that makes sense.

After finishing I have this sinking feeling in my gut because while this is a fictional story, so much rings true to real life. I don’t want to say more because the journey of this story is so important. Just be mentally prepared to read it because it can be a lot but I think it’s a book worth everyone’s time.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,399 reviews11.7k followers
June 23, 2020
I swear, I haven't been this continuously anxious since watching HBO's "The Night Of." This book filled me with dread, and maintained this dread almost all the way to the end. This is a story of Claudia who is searching for her best friend, her only friend, her soul sister, Monday. Only, it seems, nobody cares about Monday - not her parents, not authorities, not the school. Well, they sort of care, but every request to check for Monday's wellbeing simply falls through the cracks. Beyond that, it is a story about loneliness and a complex friendship, very well done.

Listening to Monday's Not Coming also renewed my disdain for another YA mystery that I'd just read with my book club - A Good Girl's Guide to Murder - where this teenager is running around cracking cold cases, confronting criminals, uncovering new evidence all while indulging in a white savior fantasy. In Monday's Not Coming, Claudia knocks on every door, tries to involve every adult she knows, just to be stopped by negligence, non-disclosure policies or plain bureaucracy. It was heartbreaking, and it was realistic.

I think this novel is slightly over the top, and one of the twists should have been dropped and would have probably made this a better book. But even as it is, it is a very strong novel that introduced me to a new author whose works I am excited to follow.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,457 reviews8,559 followers
November 7, 2022
What a powerful book about a painful topic. Monday’s Not Coming follows Claudia, a young Black girl living in Washington D.C. whose best friend Monday goes missing. The story describes Claudia’s sorrow about Monday’s disappearance and her search for the truth about how her friend vanished.

I think this book did a great job of addressing several important issues: the lack of attention paid to the violence inflicted upon Black girls, love in friendships and grief about friendships, and the impact of gentrification. Claudia has a distinct voice, the plot is tense and felt worth following, and Tiffany D. Jackson touches on topics of disability too. While the book’s shifts in timeline didn’t always make much sense to me, the overall importance of the topic and the consistent quality of writing kept me invested and impressed.
Profile Image for Maddie (Inking & Thinking).
170 reviews126 followers
February 25, 2021
⭐️ 3 Stars ⭐️

SPOILERS AHEAD!! BEWARE!

TW: Racism, homophobia, substance use, abuse, domestic violence

I really wanted to love this book but this book just ended up being mediocre and confusing especially towards the end. It has such an important story and deals with heavy topics such as Abuse, domestic violence and drug usage. It deals with a story of a girl just wishing she could be with her best friend and wanting to know what happened to her.

One of the major problems in this book is the timeline. The first section of this book is "The Before" which is what happened when Claudia was trying to figure out what happened to Monday and where is she. Then we have "The After" which are the events after Claudia found out what truly happened to Monday. We also have other sections like "One year before the before" and "two years before the before" All these different sections make the timeline confusing and throw you for a loop. This also makes the ending super confusing with all these timelines because we find out that Claudia has been reliving Monday's disappearance two years since she found out that Monday died. But we also get these scenes at the end where it shows what happened right after Claudia found out what happened to Monday and it just messes with the timeline quite a bit making it confusing for the reader.

Another thing that bothers me in this book is that Claudia is supposed to be 14-16 years old. But when we get into her head, she acts like an 8-year-old. The way she acted and presented herself made her seem a lot younger than her actual age. I would have liked her behaviours to be more consistent with that 14-16yr old age because it would make more logical sense. This made it very difficult to get into the flow of the book.

Another thing about this book is that we get lots of scenes that don't further the plot or story. We get scenes with her relationship on Monday. We get scenes of her being at school, her at the party, her at dance and her relationships with her mom, dad and Michael. I would have enjoyed it more if we had more scenes where she was digging into where Monday is and being like a detective in a way. To me, I think that would have made the book more compelling and this would have better executed the plot. Don't get me wrong this book has a great premise, but it could have been executed so much better. Instead of having most of the book be filler, you could shave that down a bit and add more of Claudia being a detective, looking at all the clues to figure out where her best friend went.

The ending is supposed to be this huge twist that is supposed to shock you by finding out that Claudia has been reliving Monday being gone for 2 years. It comes out of nowhere and doesn't really have any set up for it. With the timelines, this made the ending even more confusing and had me questioning that any of the events Claudia experienced before were even real.

Again, Tiffany D Jackson does an excellent job of writing about sensitive topics and showing that the world isn't all butterflies and rainbows. Her writing makes you think about the ugliness in our world and how we can try to stop the injustices before they get out of hand. I quite like it when we were given each month and it would describe each person as a colour. I found that to be interesting and something new, I had not seen before. We also see this overwhelming theme of friendship and see the lengths Claudia would go to find Monday. I quite enjoyed the friendship aspect of this book and ending it with finding out Monday died makes it truly more devastating and heartbreaking.

TW: Racism, homophobia, substance use, abuse, domestic violence
Profile Image for JwW White.
194 reviews
November 15, 2022
I read this book for three reasons: 1) a good friend read it and desperately wanted someone with whom to discuss it, 2) it received a lot of attention due to the success of the novel that preceded it and, 3) it received the Coretta Scott King Book Award. While I found the book interesting, I became increasingly frustrated by its many huge flaws—so much so that overall I had to give it only one star (in contrast to the bevy of readers who have uncritically lauded it with praise).

Despite her success with her previous novel, Tiffany Jackson shows far less talent as a storyteller with this book. (At the end of the book Jackson credits Jesus for having given her ideas, which leads one to question both the macabre things on Jesus's mind as well as his less-than-godly talents at modern-day storytelling.)

Throughout this novel, Jackson demonstrates a penchant for trying to create originality and nuance via clunky movement forward and backward in time. As other reviewers have noted, basing chapters on when events happened—in a nonlinear and spastic fashion—leads to significant confusion. The reader must try to contend with "The Before," "The After," and even "Before the Before" with no specific direction of what those time periods are supposed to reference. Most readers assume that they correlate with the disappearance of Monday and what happened to her (which should be obvious very early in the text for any reader possessing brain waves). Yet while trying to weave a story around the mystery of Monday's disappearance via clues from jumps forward and backward in time, the author consistently shines a 100,000 watt spotlight on what actually happened to this character (including a lie-down freezer incongruously placed in the middle of Monday's mother's living room and less than subtle references to its troublesome contents). In doing so, Jackson diminishes if not destroys the (primary) mystery at the heart of the text. A better writer would have subtly foreshadowed seminal events via a carefully crafted story.

Similarly--and without giving away anything that is not already well established in most of these reviews--readers learn that Claudia has a significant learning disability (more on that to come) in a way that lacks any nuance. Early in the text Jackson reveals Claudia's dyslexia by dropping excerpts from her diary into the text in random places. These diary entries, which are grossly misspelled and in a pseudo-handwritten font, are not integrated into the text but dropped (much like the novice writer "drops" quotes into an essay without preparing the reader for them in any way). This approach to giving insights into a character does not seem like crafty storytelling so much as it does laziness on the part of the author.

Second, and relatedly, the author has created characters that are, for the most part, two dimensional. The main character of the story, Claudia, is so poorly developed that the reader has trouble empathizing with what she supposedly feels: terrible grief. All we know about Claudia is her general age (8th grader), that she has a loving family, that she loves to dance, and that she is excessively obsessed with her best friend (the latter a fact that Jackson tends to point out at least once per page). Claudia's parents are little more than stereotypes of the perfect African American family (hard working, family-focused, and church-going). The title character, Monday, always remains an enigma; as a character she is not at all fleshed out or explained other than being smart and from an abusive household. That Monday is Claudia's best friend and more (a "soul sister") is obvious because Jackson repeats this ad nauseum; what is missing is any description of the affective traits and contexts that have drawn these two girls to each other. Because their connection was so poorly explained, good readers are not at all surprised that Monday has harbored so many secrets from Claudia or that the latter seems incapable of drawing obvious conclusions about her friend; with their connection being author-driven (said rather than shown), readers have little reason to be surprised that their connection is largely superficial. Adding to the two-dimensional nature of the novel is the fact that Monday's family is as cliched as Claudia's except in the other direction. Monday's family comprises every bad stereotype of the poor, urban, African American family including an extremely violent welfare mother, a father who is absent for many years because he cannot pay child support, and a "ho" of a sister.

A major complication related to poorly fleshed out characters is that the main character, Claudia, seems not just to have a learning disability but severe cognitive incapacity. As noted above, Jackson creates significant cognitive dissonance for her readers by trying to create mystery while at the same time giving copious and obvious clues as to what happened. Much of this happens though the narrator, Claudia, thereby making the reader wonder about Claudia's ability to think (her thinking often seems to be that of someone in early elementary school than on the cusp of high school). The hero of Jackson's story seems less heroic and receives less empathy from readers because she is so consistently incapable of seeing the evidence before her. For example, on numerous occasions, Claudia sees that her best friend has terrible bruising on her back and even bite marks, yet Claudia readily believes her friend's assertion that she fell out of her bunk bed yet again. Claudia learns that Monday has, on occasion, escaped her tenement home by jumping out of a second floor bathroom window; yet rather than seek out a logical explanation, Claudia instead illogically assumes that Monday did so as part of a "fire drill" (as if it is normal for people to jump out of windows during those all-too-frequent home fire drills). Unfortunately, there are too many more such examples to mention.

Third, because the author relies on stereotypes, inconsistencies, and ignorance of contexts to make her plot twists, many readers will find the entire story implausible. Just some of the copious examples in this 400 page text:
- Claudia's charter school has a full time nurse (not likely) who fails to report obvious examples of child abuse as all school personnel are legally required to do;
- no one at Claudia's school, including school counselors and nurses, either report or follow up on a missing child;
- no one in the school district looks into Monday's year-long truancy;
- school staff witness violent in-school fights and yet choose not to report them or punish the assailants;
- Claudia's school is so competitive and focused on test scores that it fails to recognize her glaring disability when, in fact, those contexts would highlight her deficiencies;
- Claudia's favorite teacher, an English teacher, somehow never recognizes that this young woman cannot read or write and repeatedly uses bad grammar (mainly "ain't");
- Claudia's obviously attentive parents are flabbergasted to discover that their daughter cannot read or write at 14 years old and consequently blame the school (they apparently never examined their daughter's school work or ever had her read anything to them);
- the recently retired school nurse, who could otherwise help Claudia understand Monday's disappearance, is suddenly incapable of remembering anything because she has advanced Alzheimers;
- Claudia has gotten through seven or more years of public schooling by relying on her friend Monday to do her work for her (these two girls just happen to always be in the same classes doing the same projects);
- none of the teachers in all of Claudia's seven years of schooling ever assigned in-class written assignments, essay or short answer tests, or read-alouds that would have highlighted her inability to read or write;
- no fewer than eight people in Child Protective Services are fired ex post facto for not doing their jobs, thereby allowing the tragedy that sits at the heart of the novel (throughout the story, all public service agencies are not just bad, they are criminally negligent);
- Monday's sister knows what happened to members of her family but fails to report it because she fears the dissolution of that family (a family that is so dark and violent that readers wonder why all of them wouldn't run away at the first opportunity);
- when Claudia has a pseudo break-down, the school nurse administers a narcotic sedative via a shot (in what universe does this story take place?);
- one of the two police who eventually investigate Monday's disappearance is the same cop who patronizingly refused to listen to Claudia's concerns earlier on (and Claudia does not disclose this later when it would be important);
- and the list of inconsistencies goes on and on and on.
These rampant inconsistencies make me believe that Jackson either didn't do her homework to discover the realities of schools, social services, etc. or she chose to ignore those realities to forward her plot. Regardless, they are too blatant and too frequent to give this book any plausibility to the mature reader.

Finally, the end of the novel only seems to double-down on the problems noted above. The far-from-stunning conclusion to the novel tries yet again to make use of a time switch (in this case of Claudia having been in some sort of pseudo-coma for two years). This makes the jumping back and forth timeline all the more confusing; readers have to try to reconcile "The Befores," the "Afters," the "Before the Befores," etc. with yet another dimension--one that is never explained--thrown in. Not only is this confusing, it again seems like a convenient and stereotyped way for the author to wrap things up. Why not throw in amnesia as a plot twist (it is so common after all) even though it doesn't explain much.

What is most troubling about this terribly flawed novel is that the underlying theme--the abuse of children within their home--deserves far better treatment than it gets here. By playing out this theme with stereotypes and highly implausible story devices--and by mixing this theme with numerous other tropes about inner-city Black life--Jackson instead does a disservice to this all-too serious issue.

I am sure that many uncritical readers will have liked this book (the same type of consumers who feel that the movie "Traffic" is really deep). Like that movie, however, this book hits you over the head with stereotypes and cliches and does the true issues--the ones that are highly nuanced and intertwined with mainstream culture--a gross disservice.
Profile Image for kate.
1,146 reviews924 followers
May 19, 2018
Monday’ Not Coming was utterly devastating, gripping, dark, intense and it messed with my mind on multiple levels. The various relationships and characters in this were superbly written, with voices brilliantly human and real. This had my heart beating 1000x a minute and breaking in equal measures. I will say that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the structure of the book and therefore found the timeline a little hard to follow at times. There were also some potentially harmful plot points, which was definitely a shame and I personally didn’t think those narratives, and the language used along side those, added too much to the story but those things aside, I think this is an incredibly poignant, relevant and important novel and one which was a rollercoaster from the first page and one I throughly enjoyed.

TW: homophobia, ableism & fatphobia/body shaming, abuse, domestic violence
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,243 followers
June 4, 2018
I know what you’re thinking. How can a whole person, a kid, disappear and no one say a word? Like, if the sun just up and left one day, you’d think someone would sound an alarm, right? But Ma used to say, not everyone circles the same sun. I never knew what she meant by that until Monday went missing.

This is a pretty heartbreaking novel, but it has it's issues. And that's unfortunate because it has this important message revealing a system that's broken as missing girls are overlooked. (and that word is really disgusting to even have to be used. Who overlooks missing children?! And how is that even okay? The answer is: it is not.) However, it happens and did happen in DC. Although, I know it happens everywhere.

In this story, Claudia gets back from spending the summer at her Grandmamma's house, but all she wants to do is reach her bff Monday. They were supposed to write letters to each other each week Claudia was gone. They even saved enough money to guarantee they'd have the money for the stamps each week. Claudia never heard from Monday. And this is just the beginning...

Claudia goes to school as usual...no Monday. No one has seen or heard from her, but no one except for Claudia even seems to be concerned. Everyone brushes Claudia off. Claudia refuses to take no answer for an answer. She needs to see Monday or hear from her to know that she's okay because Monday wouldn't do this. Not even Monday's mother or sister April help.

The mystery of what happened to Monday did intrigue me. The big issue with this book is the timeline. It makes more sense once you finish the book because it explains things a bit better. However, this isn't any help when you're reading the book for the first time making that not matter much. I got to the point that I stopped trying to make sense of the timeline and just went with it because I wanted to know where Monday was. Come to find out, there is actually three timelines going on at once. The only bits that made sense were the scenes from before Monday ever went missing because that's pretty clear that this is showing us Claudia & Monday's friendship. There didn't seem to be much importance to those beyond that, though. But the different after bits got very confusing about when they were actually happening.

If you haven't read Allegedly yet, do yourself a favor and go do that now. It is such a strong and compelling read. And that was only Ms. Jackson's debut novel. I refuse to let this one change my opinion of her.
Profile Image for Erin .
1,230 reviews1,142 followers
March 12, 2019
Jar of Death Pick # 10(10th finished)

4.5 Stars

Can Tiffany D. Jackson write one book that doesn't make me abandon all hope for humanity?

A couple years ago I read Tiffany D. Jackson's debut novel Allegedly and it gutted me. I literally threw the book across the room when I finished it.

T.H.A.T. E.N.D.I.N.G!!!

I loved it but it ruined me. So when I heard about her next book Monday's Not Coming I was both excited and terrified. Guys! I got this book the day it came out but I refused to read it. I knew I wasn't ready. Over this last year this book has just sat on my shelf daring me to read it but I stayed strong and resisted the urge to read this book. I even started it last month but after reading 25 pages I sat it down because I still wasn't ready. I picked this book up at 12:30 am last night and before I knew it I had read 75 pages.

I was finally ready.

Mondays Not Coming is a hard book to review because everything I wanna say about it is a potential spoiler. I think its best to go into this book with as little info as possible. Of course you're going to quickly come to some conclusions once you've started it but this book has so many layers that it took me to some unexpected places.

Monday's Not Coming is DARK and extremely sad but for most black people it won't surprise you at ALL! This book maybe fiction but unfortunately to a lot of kids this is their real life. I've had a knot in my stomach all day because its heartbreaking how badly society fails impoverished kids.

Mondays Not Coming is well written and a deeply important read.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,444 reviews7,533 followers
November 9, 2018
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Look at that rating! I only have one thing to ask . . . .







I realize I’m a monster for giving this so few stars, but it is what it is.

Before I get ahead of myself let me tell you that . . . .

“This is the story of how my best friend disappeared. How nobody noticed she was gone except me. And how nobody cared until they found her . . . one year later.”

Claudia and Monday were supposed to write letters every week during the summer while Claudia was visiting her grandmother, but Claudia heard zilch. Then Monday never showed up at school and no one seems to be able to answer where she went and HOW CAN A CHILD JUST GO MISSING?!?!?!?!

I think the problem I had with this book was my age. Mind you, I loooooooove some YA, but it doesn’t always work for me. This is an important story and one that needs to be told, but since I’m an old lady it was kind of a slog. I knew what happened to Monday right away, and while I am well aware that children fall through the cracks of the system every day, unfortunately I didn’t really believe the explanation of the big thing that happened here. (I’m really trying not to spoil anything so if you want to discuss, please use the comments section and spoiler tags – and also I will probably forget the details of this within six months so no promises I’ll be able to back up my low rating after that point.) I wasn’t a fan of the many timeline approach (we’re talking the After, the Before, the Year Before the Before, the Two Years Before the Before – it was a lot) and the extra (again, no spoilers) stuff at the end was unnecessary in a book like this (I literally only wrote “rude” for a note which must translate to #hatedit). What else didn’t I like? Ummmmmmm, well heck even the cover if I’m being 100% honest. It probably doesn’t help things that Allegedly completely blew my socks off either. And sophomore novels are haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard. However, if you have a middle-grader and are pretty liberal when it comes to what they are allowed to read (sex and underage drinking are present here), this is a relevant, contemporary book that they may find fascinating/terrifying/combo of both.
Profile Image for Nia.
68 reviews4 followers
May 1, 2023
I read this book in 4 hours. It was so good and sad, I even cried. I was not expecting that plot twist at the end. Such a good book.
Profile Image for Althea ☾.
623 reviews1,952 followers
March 11, 2021
This was a really sad, heavy, and dark read but I can't get over how Tiffany D. Jackson manages to humanize all of her characters while still putting their flaws at the forefront. It makes for an extremely satisfying character development, especially with how she ties her endings so well.

— overall thoughts: 3.5 —
content warnings//
representation: Black characters, Dyslexic character

The timeline of the narrative does go back and forth just like Grown which I loved because it leaves some things to piece together for the readers. It essentially follows Claudia as she figures out what happened to her best friend, Monday, who she used to spend basically every moment of every day with. The plot was definitely intense the whole way through which I love for mystery-thrillers. I do wish that I was more hooked in Claudia and Monday's friendship during the "Before" chapters but I don't think it kept me from crying any less during the present day chapters.

Furthermore, I think this quote perfectly sums up the core theme of the book and the message it tries to get across:

“Rumors are born with legs that can run a mile in less than a minute.
Rumors eat up dreams without condiments.
Rumors do not have expiration dates.
Rumors can be deadly.
Rumors can get you killed.”


In case you didn't know, this is a tragic book.

It is slow-paced, which isn't usually my style and I did think some scenes felt a little redundant in the middle, but it was a great build up that still made me tear up and pause and stare at my wall.

There are definitely complex characters at its center. The way the author portrayed Monday's character made you want to hate her and feel bad for her. Until know, I don't really know which one I feel for her more. Complicated feelings will arise, I don't blame the amount of people who said this broke them.

Tiffany D. Jackson always incorporates familial relationships so well into her story that it makes you feel invested in the cast that much more. I get so easily invested in platonic and familial dynamics in stories so if you're like me, you will feel all of the emotions. Especially for her contemporary/mystery-thriller novels.

I did enjoy Grown more because I felt more personally connected to the story and I think the story felt more layered while being more thought provoking. This was mostly plain old heartbreaking (which isn't necessarily a bad thing in itself).

I wouldn't recommend this if you have a hard time handling heavy topics like grief and abuse but if are fine tackling those, it is a hard hitting read that I'm not surprised it has resonated so deeply with so many people. I lost count of how many times this book made me contemplate my own real life relationships... and isn't that what we all need sometimes? ↢
Profile Image for Christy.
652 reviews
April 14, 2020
I'm rarely a fan of anything YA, but I felt this one was a little bit different than the ones I've read before. I think the mystery aspect of it made me like it better.

Monday is a teen girl who has gone missing. Her best friend, Claudia, seems to be the only one who cares or notices. Claudia tries everything she can think of... and no one seems to want to help, least of all Monday's family. This is a tragic and heartbreaking story. As I was getting to the end of the story, I began to think that it sounded very similar to a True Crime Podcast episode I have listened to before. I went digging and found out from the author that this book is loosely based on two cases about missing black children. This is more about Claudia than Monday though. It really touches on how the friends of missing children/teens cope and deal with the aftermath of such a devastation.

There is many tough subjects within this book, including child abuse and poverty. I did find the past and present aspect to be a little confusing at times. The format was written like: "Before.... After..... Before the Before, etc". I would try other Tiffany D. Jackson's books after this one.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Red_Queen_Lover.
164 reviews42 followers
September 26, 2019
I'm trying this again because my first review was deleted.
This review will have spoilers because I won't be able to stress how important a specific topic is.
Claudia and Monday are best friends,more like sisters. One day,out of the blue, Monday goes missing. Claudia seems to be the only one who notices. We later learn why.
Claudia thinks she's 14. She's 16. And Monday has been dead for 2 years. Claudia turned out to have problems with her memory, which also caused her reading problems.
They find her and her brother in the freezer of their mom's house. They also found over a dozen scars on her when her body is thawed. Because she was abused and killed by her own mother. Her older sister helped put them in the freezer to save her own neck. The mother later tells the reporter that she feels no regret about what she did. That Monday and her son got what they deserved.
Monday had tried to tell someone what was happening. Her mother told her that the government tracked everyone and what they did. So Monday did something clever: she checked out fictional books about characters who were being abused in the worst way. Sadly, only Claudia figured this out.
The important message I'm trying to give you it's this: the one thing Monday failed was TELLING SOMEONE. PLEASE TELL SOMEONE IF YOU ARE BEING HURT. WHETHER YOU'RE DOING IT TO YOURSELF OR ITS THE OPPOSITE. TELL SOMEONE!!!
As usual, if you agree or disagree comment if you'd like!
❤Red
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,727 reviews6,662 followers
May 26, 2018
"Who's really responsible for your well-being? Your family, the government, or your community?"
Monday's Not Coming is a standalone YA/mystery novel written by Tiffany D. Jackson. Although a bit taxing to follow with its three alternating timelines and unfortunately not incredibly engaging IMO, it incorporates very real and important themes related to our most vulnerable resource (our children) falling through the cracks of our nation's various systems. But as the quote above suggests, this book makes you think. Where does the burden lay? How do race, location, gender, and age impact attention and urgency? It takes a village, and we are all responsible. If you feel something isn't quite right, speak. Don't assume. A vulnerable life may hang in the balance. There is darkness and beauty in equal measure throughout this novel and I will continue to follow this author's work.

My favorite quote:
"Like the color pink, somebody always sees the story different. Some see rose and magenta, and others see coral and salmon. When at the end of the day, it’s just regular old pink."
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