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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: Little Peach by Peggy Kern

Little Peach by Peggy Kern
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Balzer & Bray / HarperTeen
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 208
Genre: Contemporary • Realistic Fiction

        buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
What do you do if you're in trouble?

     When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York City, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: she is alone and out of options. 

     Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels. 

     But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution where he becomes her “Daddy” and she his “Little Peach.” It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition. 

      This hauntingly vivid story illustrates the human spirit’s indomitable search for home, and one girl’s struggle to survive.
*An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review* 

A short but gripping read. One that throws you into the pit of reality, one that is easily glossed over. The truth of human trafficking, sex, the harsh truth of the sex trade and child prostitution. The destitute, the impoverished. The story of a young, innocent girl looking for a home, for love and a family, after her grandfather passes away and her mother has her leave the only home she's ever known. My heart fell for Michelle as she ventured to New York looking for her friend, and finding a different sort when there were no roads left to take. Where love and affection from a man who we hear Michelle call "daddy" the entire rest of the novel is not only warped, but so close to sounding sincere. The manipulation on these girls, innocent and naive and oblivious to the broken world around them.
My heart broke numerous times for Michelle, Baby, and Kat. Especially at the glimpses of what seemed like a family in the making between these girls. But the nights in the hotel always sent shivers down my spine. The men that rummage in and out of the rooms these girls are stationed in, the realization that there is worse than the life they were unfortunately sold into and a hope of a better life as long as they keep working. The form of writing is fine tuned, simplistic with short sentence structure, and functions between past and present events. But my favorite moments were the ones that Michelle cherished with her grandfather. The eternal love that grounds her and pushes her for a better life. Their relationship brought me to the verge of tears by the end of the novel.

However Michelle's transformation into Little Peach, her realization of the life she was unknowingly forced into, and the harrowing sexual actions that are forced upon these girls is not for the lighthearted. It is tragic. It is eyeopening. And the author does a magnificent job of presenting the problem of how children are brought into the world of human trafficking, unaware of what is going on, and providing a voice for young girls all over who are in these terrible situations. I think it was a brave stance on the author's part, writing this novel. And it needed to be told, to bring awareness to the lives of children being sold and bartered into sex slavery. It is a hard story to tell, and despite Michelle's experience being a work of fiction, it is based on actual stories of girls who went through similar circumstances. It is not something to overlook no matter how sad, cruel, upsetting, pick and adjective. It needs awareness, these girls need a voice in a world without one, and the author does a fine job at that, and brought my attention to the subject.

Final Summation: Little Peach turns the stomach, breaks the heart, and had me wanting to pluck these poor girls from right out of the pages of the book. A recommended read, most definitely. Though the themes of rape, child molestation, and violence and drugs will make it a hard read for some, I do advise those to consider if this is the book for them.

Four targets slayed for the awareness against human trafficking and squeezing my heart tight