Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi lives in a small mountain village in Nepal with her mother and stepfather, struggling daily with a small farm just to feed their family. When the opportunity comes along for Lakshmi's family to sell her as a servant to a wealthy family, they feel they have no other choice. Lakshmi is scared to go into the city, but is proud to do what she has to do to support her family and provide for her baby brother. After much travel and being handed over to different "aunts" and "uncles," Lakshmi ends up at "Happiness House" with Auntie Mumtaz. It is here that she eventually learns that she has been sold into the sex trade industry and is forced to grow up long before she is ready. Based on truth, the author traveled from Nepal to Calcutta and saw firsthand the impact of sexual slavery on young girls and their families. Lakshmi's story is sad, but powerful and inspirational.
Recommended for high school readers and mature younger readers, especially those interested in humanitarian and cultural issues.
Call number: YA MCCORMICK (Teen Room)
Reviewed by kate the librarian