3.75 Stars - Read May 9, 2013
13 year old Lakshmi lives in a village in the mountains of Nepal. Her family is terribly poor and hope the annual rice crop will be enough to pay their old debt, cover her stepfather's gambling/drinking and by some luck have enough left over to put a tin roof on their hut. When the monsoons come and wipe out their hopes, Lakshmi's stepfather decides she will move to the city and become a maid for a wealthy family. Lakshmi is more than happy to quit school and take this job since she knows she will be able to send money home and ease her mother's worries. Unfortunately the "Auntie" who shows up to take her to the city is truly taking her to India where she will become an indentured servant who must pay her debt by prostitution. Lakshmi lives an endless nightmare while trying to figure out who she can trust in order to survive.
I actually picked this one up by accident not realizing it was a YA novel. However, it is written in short, succinct chapters and had such a good storyline that it was a tremendously fast read. An extremely heavy theme, yet written in a delicate enough fashion and doesn't include graphic details that a younger reader should avoid. This would be a great conversation starter for kids with questions regarding human trafficking.