Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: March 10th 2015
by Balzer & Bray
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.
-A copy was provided by HarperCollins for review-
Wow… this was a very harsh read. Like, I felt sick to my stomach while reading most of it. It deals with incredibly heavy subjects – disturbing, even – but it is, in my opinion, one very important story. It’s a real eye opener regarding the sex trade. We all know that it exists; we all hear about the projects and the poverty and the hard knock life, yet it never quite hits home until you encounter an up close and personal story like this. The story of a young girl who is so innocent, so oblivious to what’s even happening to her. She’s only known fear and abuse, she thinks this is her way out. Her “daddy” is showing her the love and affection she’s been craving since childhood – though she’s technically still a child.
You can’t help but hear your heart breaking when you read Michelle’s story. It also makes it easy to understand how kids get themselves into these situations – somewhat willingly, too. They don’t know any better, sometimes not even realizing they’re being sold. When you’re fleeing from a broken home, this new life your “daddy” is offering can seem glamorous to them. Michelle even wishes her mom could see how well she’s doing. How proud of her she would be for making a great life for herself, no? Standing next to Michelle are a couple of other girls that we get to know and adore. Especially Baby who’s already so lost in this messed up, fucking world that all she made me feel was broken, helpless, ashamed. She could be so happy, she’s so very young, yet you just know she’s so not ok…
With that being said, while I do recommend this novel, it definitely comes with warnings. If you’re not comfortable with disturbing scenes of rape, violence, and child molestation, this book may be incredibly hard for you. Still, I’m not one to warn against reality. While this story may be fiction, it is based on real life. Stories like Michelle’s are happening in our very own society every single day to young girls – to our children – and it’s not something you should ignore no matter how sick it makes you feel. I think this author was very brave to approach such sensitive topics, but it’s a story that needs to be told. Who else can stand up for these victims? They sure don’t have much of a voice, unfortunately.
Poignant and tragic, Little Peach swings a surprisingly heavy punch that is bound to knock you down and make you want to scream for girls like Michelle. It’s harsh, but all too real.