Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Trafficked by Kim Purcell

Hannah lives in Moldova with her elderly grandmother, an orphan after her mother and father died in a cafe explosion.  It is not an easy life, and Hannah has to work hard at the market to help keep a roof over their head, but she is loved and knows the value of hard work.  Her one real regret, is that she had to drop out of school to work, and she feels the distance growing between her and the friends she had to leave behind.  Her best friend Katya shares her hopes and dreams, but when Hannah is offered the chance to travel to America and become a nanny, Katya suddenly seems less supportive and warns Hannah not to go - advice that Hannah really should have listened to.

Her life in America is not what Hannah expected - she works long hours every day, and worst of all, they call her Elena because that is the name on the fake passport her agent used to get her into the States.  Hannah was promised $400 a week and the chance to learn English, but what she got was an abusive mother who is jealous of Hannah, long working days, no chances to leave the house, and being told she has to pay back the money it cost to bring her over at the measly rate of $100 a week.  Hannah is a slave to the family that brought her over, and the only thing that keeps her going is knowing that the father knows something about her beloved uncle, and he may know about her parents too.

I knew that Trafficked would not be an easy book to read when I picked it up, because the subject matter of the book is not an easy one - a teenage girl trafficked into slavery in America.  In some ways though, I have to confess that I was a little disappointed that the story line was not a little more gritty, that there was not more trauma for Hannah.  That may sound a little cold, or a little hard to swallow, but in a lot of ways what Hannah went through was relatively easy - she worked long hours, she had to put up with being called names, and she had some unwanted attention from the father, but it was in many ways a kind of best case scenario for a girl like Hannah in real life. 

The author obviously wanted to make a point about slavery and how wrong it is, but the book just seems to miss some of the best opportunities to be a little grittier, to really make you feel Hannah's loss.  It was a great read but left me just a little bit wanting.  If you are after a real life read then Trafficked may be the book for you - just bear in mind that Hannah and her story happens every day and every year all around the world, and that Hannah's story is one of the pleasant ones.

If you like this book then try:
  • Sold by Patricia McCormick
  • Beneath a meth moon by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Hate list by Jennifer Brown
  • Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher
  • Such a pretty girl by Laura Wiess
  • Living dead girl by Elizabeth Scott

Reviewed by Brilla

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