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Sold

Sold
Patricia McCormick
Disney-Hyperion, 2006
Source: Library
Audience: Older Teens

From Goodreads:
Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school, and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family’s crops, Lakshmi’s stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family. 
He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at “Happiness House” full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution.
An old woman named Mumtaz rules the brothel with cruelty and cunning. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family’s debt—then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave.
Lakshmi’s life becomes a nightmare from which she cannot escape. Still, she lives by her mother’s words— Simply to endure is to triumph—and gradually, she forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision—will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life? 
Written in spare and evocative vignettes, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.

What a powerful story. I’m so glad it was so well-written and popular. At the end of the story, I was so proud of Lakshmi. I couldn’t imagine being sold into prostitution. Reading Sold really made me grateful for the life I have and want to help other girls like Lakshmi. I didn’t know how I could do this, and I wish there had been more information in the book. I suggest everyone read McCormick’s book (it’s in verse, so it’s a quick read) and also watch the documentary Born into Brothels. Both are done with reality, care and respect.

Also, I encourage readers to search for organizations online in which they can help somehow. I know I will be doing so.

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