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.... 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....
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? A National Book Award finalist, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.
"In beautiful clear prose and free verse that remains true to the child's viewpoint, first-person, present-tense vignettes fill in Lakshmi's story. The brutality and cruelty are ever present... but not sensationalized." -- Booklist
"Written in free verse, the girl's first-person narration is horrifying and difficult to read.... An authors note confirms what readers fear: thousands of girls, like Lakshmi in this story, are sold into prostitution each year. Part of McCormicks research for this novel involved interviewing women in Nepal and India, and her depth of detail makes the characters believable and their misery palpable. This important book was written in their honor." -- School Library Journal
|14 and up
|Apr 1, 2008
|Hyperion Book CH
|National Book Finalist