Naked by Stacey Trombley
Publish Date: July 07, 2015 by Entangled: Teen
Source/Edition: Copy provided by publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, eBook (Kindle)
Summary provided by Goodreads:
The best place to hide is in a lie…
I could never fit in to the life my parents demanded. By the time I was thirteen, it was too much. I ran away to New York City…and found a nightmare that lasted three years. A nightmare that began and ended with a pimp named Luis. Now I am Dirty Anna. Broken, like everything inside me has gone bad.
Except that for the first time, I have a chance to start over. Not just with my parents but at school. Still, the rumors follow me everywhere. Down the hall. In classes. And the only hope I can see is in the wide, brightly lit smile of Jackson, the boy next door. So I lie to him. I lie to protect him from my past. I lie so that I don’t have to be The Girl Who Went Bad.
The only problem is that someone in my school knows about New York.
Someone knows who I really am.
And it’s just a matter of time before the real Anna is exposed…
“We’re all messed up in some way. You’re not so different from the rest of us.”
“Life’s job is to sit around and wait for the best opportunity to kick us in the balls. Our job is to get up and kick back.”
Amazing. Wonderful. Heartbreaking. Empowering. Powerful. I always love it when YA novels delve into deep topics. Do I really need to say more? Teenage prostitution and human/sex trafficking is an extremely serious issue. One that is unfortunately increasing. I read the synopsis and knew I had to read it. I was a part of UNICEF and one of their focuses is human trafficking and it still surprises me that it still goes undetected and there are millions out there who go through what Anna went through. Luckily, Anna got out but that doesn’t necessarily mean that life’s easier. She goes back home, to school, to a normal life — whatever that is — but all she finds hate, judgement, bullying, and self-loathing.
If you’re very sensitive, I’d say skip over some parts where she details some things. She doesn’t go into that much detail or add anything graphically but it still hurts the heart to read. The writing was great and effectively captured the darkness of the situation. This is not an easy book to read. There are so many conflicts intertwined in Anna’s story that one review won’t fit it all. It’s not just teenage prostitution and rape. There are social and familial issues, domestic abuse, verbal/physical abuse, bullying, drugs and so many other things. Anna was a great character and I believe she really captures what a real teenage prostitute goes through. We meet her and she’s this emotionally battered, brainwashed, abused child who wants to protect her pimp (I really hate that word). She really grows into such a confident person. It’s great to see and read her journey, to see her finally have hope, love, and faith.
This book makes you think a lot. It makes you feel many different emotions. For the bulk of it, I was angry. I was angry that Anna felt the need to run away from her parents. Angry that there are men, women, children who are forced into this lifestyle. Angry that pimps exist and that they use women for money. I was even angrier that there are people paying money to do this to actual human beings. Angry that they didn’t have the courage, compassion, strength, and just the humanity to actually save people in this situation. It’s sickening to think about. *end rant haha*
The real enemy, the one that’s haunted me every step of the way, still lives inside me. And it always will until I find the courage to face my fear.
What I liked the most is the message. It’s very uplifting. It’s a big coincidence actually because my pastor was just talking about it — how we live in an Instagram world, where it’s ‘Show the best. Hide the rest.’ This book is essentially that. Anna is hiding her past and she feels so broken and unworthy. But I love how it shows how, in some way, everyone is broken. Everyone has something they want to hide from the world — something they’re ashamed of, something they hate about themselves. I love that it talks about an antagonist that everyone faces, not pimps, rapists or whatever other evil is out there. It talks about being our own worst enemy and how it can be the hardest thing to overcome. Personally, I would’ve loved this book even more if there was talk about Jesus and God in her journey, but that’s just me.
I’m not trapped anymore. I’m not chained. I can walk away from this school, these people, and live an actual life. I don’t know what I’d do, but I could do it. I believe in my future. I believe in people who love me. I believe in me.
If we could only get copies of this book and give them to victims, to empower them, to give them hope, to show them that they have a future, that there is a better way to live, that there are better days. I wish they could know, could believe, that even if people are pushing you down, there are people out there who want to help, want to raise them up and see them do well. If you couldn’t tell, I’m an optimist and I fully credit that to my faith.
I want him to always be able to touch it and feel how weak the chains we wear can be. All it takes is the courage to break them.
Final Thoughts: Wonderful debut novel. Very risky but worth it. Absolutely amazing. There are no words. I was crying and crying not just because of what happened in the book but because for thousands of girls out there, it’s a not a work of fiction. It’s their daily lives and that breaks my heart. This book will leave a lasting effect on you, long after you’re done reading it. My favorite quote is the last line of the book. I won’t share it with you. I guess you’ll just have to buy the book to find out what it is 😉
End Note: I was actually crying buckets. I’m a very spiritual person and I believe in God and Jesus. This book got me thinking about Jesus and how much He loves us and how people out there don’t know Him/don’t believe in Him, and don’t know that there is someone out there that loves them, that loves their brokenness, that loves them even with their faults and imperfections, that longs for them and for a while I just saw there in awe and cried and cried.