Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TraffickedTrafficked by Kim Purcell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's difficult to rate this well told story about such an important subject when the ratings are based on how much a reader enjoys the book. Human trafficking isn't a subject anyone can enjoy. However, this book does a very good job of exposing human trafficking in one of the least expected places: an average American neighbourhood. The author has also done an amazing job of bringing this problem to light for the YA audience. While the story is horrifying and there is content that might be more suited for a mature teen audience, the author has done an excellent job of presenting it.

Trafficked is the story of seventeen year old Hannah who is given the opportunity to go to America and work as a nanny for a Russian family. From the very beginning (i.e. her meeting with the 'bad' agent) Hannah has a terrible experience but remains hopeful when she finally arrives in America. In only a matter of weeks she realizes her dream of making a new life is shattered. Beyond the endless hard work she does for the family, she has no freedom and faces regular mental/emotional abuse from the mother in the family. After several months her situation escalates to the point where she may not just lose all hope of a life in America, she may in fact lose her life.

The story has a measured pace and I think, very well developed characters. Hannah is naive and realizes it, but she has hidden strength. Oddly, the adult family members (Lillian, Sergey)and even their friends/associates (Paavo, Rena)seem realistic (for villains). They're all monsters, yet don't view themselves that way. It's easy to get emotionally involved when reading.

I do recommend this book. I think it is unique as a YA read and very worthwhile. Luckily, the book arrived on my doorstep on my day off so I had the opportunity to sit down and read it. It only took me a few hours and I didn't put it down. This is a book for more serious reading and I imagine the reality is far worse than Hannah's story. It's definitely worth picking up. I'm undecided on an actual star rating - I give it five for the author's skill in turning this subject into a young adult read and bringing much needed attention to it.

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