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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Package Design, 2014

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.

©2006 Patricia McCormick (P)2012 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Hard-hitting...poignant. The author beautifully balances the harshness of brothel life with the poignant relationships among its residents." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (846 )
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Performance
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  •  
    BrittanyD 01-02-16
    BrittanyD 01-02-16
    ratings
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    Story
    "Upsetting story. it puts you in her shoes"

    it was an upsetting story. it puts you in her shoes, however I wish the ending was more detailed into what happened after she was rescued.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Dunlap 01-01-16
    S. Dunlap 01-01-16
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    "Tragically Wonderful!"

    This story of a Nepali hill girl who is Sold into sexual slavery is powerful and gripping. What a sad tale, and tragic outcome for so many young girls caught in the web of human trafficking! I encourage others to listen to this audiobook, and then ACT to prevent human trafficking in your corner of the planet.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dr.penbob 11-07-15
    dr.penbob 11-07-15 Member Since 2014
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    "A must read"

    A true horrible story of children sold by their families into sexual slavery. These are children from Nepal whose family very well may not be aware of the destiny of their children. Told through the eyes and heart of a twelve year old girl who makes this story riveting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kenyadah 09-20-15
    kenyadah 09-20-15
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    "GREAT BOOK"

    I thought I would be boring but It wa interesting from beginning to end , loved it great job 👌💕👏

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Antoinette 07-30-15
    Antoinette 07-30-15 Member Since 2012

    ....A Sweet Southern Belle that enjoys a great listen.

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    "EVIL DOERS AND ROBBERY OF YOUTH"

    Sad, horrible situation to put your step daughter/daughter into; there definitely was no love for her. Thank God for help! It's very sad to know this is happening in our world today and has been for many years. Shame on all these families who would in slave a family member, there is no reason for this behavior.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs. McGyver 06-20-15

    Mrs. McGyver

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    "End = drops you off a cliff"

    Story is promising, but book ends quite suddenly and without much explanation. Very disappointed. Good story though...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MZ Northville, MI 04-25-15
    MZ Northville, MI 04-25-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A great read. Couldn't put it down."

    This book is written through the eyes of a poor and innocent girl who thinks she is going to be work as a maid but is sold into sex slavery. The author unfolds a gripping story about the trafficking of children, the oppressed life they lead and their struggle to stay alive and gain freedom. It is sad but also inspiring and informative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra WEST SALEM, WI, United States 04-17-15
    Debra WEST SALEM, WI, United States 04-17-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Haunting"

    It is hard to believe that this life exists. Who could treat a young girl as a sex slave; yet this happens today. Told from her perspective, the story is haunting and stays with you. We need to do everything in our power to stop this horrific practice. Hard subject matter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 08-25-13
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 08-25-13
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    "Interesting"

    This book started out a bit slow but it was interesting to learn about another culture. This book was valuable as it brings awareness to the horrors of human trafficking. It is hard to comprehend that this actually goes on in the world. I would have liked to know more of the story, what happens to the heroine after the end of the book, the continuation of her journey.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jessica SANDYVILLE, WV, United States 08-04-13
    jessica SANDYVILLE, WV, United States 08-04-13

    Super picky but in love with reading!!! I simply love good storytelling!

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    ""Utterly Beautiful""

    Short but oh so very sweet! I reccommend this book too anyone! I am super picky in picking books and alot of the books I end up buying I don't finish, but this one was not like that at all! It grabbed my attention from begginning to end! Simply superb!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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