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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A difficult topic, but brilliantly done.

This is a work of fiction, but its based on events that happened and that still happen every day.

Even with all the progress that has been made, sexual slavery is still a reality in many countries and thousands of young girls and boys fall victim to it every year.

This book is created around the character of Lakshmi a Nepalese girl who is 13 at the beginning of the story and 14 at the end. We begin with a description of her life with her family, life is hard, but she's happy and loved. Then her step father sells her and she is tricked into leaving Nepal and going to India where she becomes a victim of the sex slave trade. The book covers about a year of her life in a brothel where she is forced to work as a prostitute.

In the book Patricia navigates the line between giving us enough information to make sure the horror of the situation cannot be missed while trying to keep things somewhat tasteful, this is a challenge since the line will fall in different places for different people, but I think she managed it.

The subject matter made it tough to listen to, and I believe that it's not suitable for a young audience, while at the same time I'd like to say that everyone should listen to it.

Justine Eyre does one of the best narrations I have ever heard, as she narrated this story I heard the voice and thoughts of a 13 year old Nepalese girls, not someone attempting to sound this way. I don't know how she managed it, but it must have taken a lot of work, just amazing!

  • Overall

EVERYONE needs to read this book!

this book is sad and disgusting but EVERYONE needs to read this and know what is happening to these poor young girls! This practice HAS to be stopped WORLDWIDE. The fact that this is still happening in the year 2016 is atrocious! it just shows how ignorant people really are still that the government's can turn such a blind eye to these practices. They know it's happening but they do nothing to stop it. I bet if the government's of these countries were made of women these practices would've ended long ago. The men in these countries , not all but most, should be treated like the women and girls they sell and abuse and see how it feels to be used and degraded. Thank you to the author and to all the people who work against these practices. and thank you to all the women and girls who have been through such horrible ordeals for being strong enough to tell their stories to help the others. To bring awareness to all. I stand with you as a woman.

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  • Story

A Gift

What did you love best about Sold?

Listening to the story. I became "transported" into the mind of this young girl and glimpsed the horrors of a dark societal business. This book is a big idea presented in a powerful and simple way. The narrator's accent made it seem as if the girl was talking to me, telling me her story. Without what I call " soap " drama I felt very emotional ...sympathetic and empathetic. I found myself listening to the whole story in about two days!

What other book might you compare Sold to and why?

Important and difficult topics presented in simple powerful ways<br/><br/>Number the Stars, Fever, My Name is Not Angelica

Which character – as performed by Justine Eyre – was your favorite?

There is only one voice...first person

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I don't think it would be a good film, I think it is a superb listen.

Any additional comments?

I have recommended this to several friends. I would like to read other opinions.

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Horribly sad. A must read

Very well-written. Sad. Depressing. Motivating. More must be done to stop such an awful practice.

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A dark but powerful story

I thought the book was about the girls that have been taken by the Muslim extremists but this is even a more repelling topic. It is about the sexual slavery of children.

“Sold” covers life of one thirteen-year-old girl, Lakshmi, who is sold by her step-father and taken from her home in the Himalayas under the guise that she is going to work for a wealthy family in the “city”. Though fiction, Patricia McCormick's, research paints a very graphic, realistic and believable picture of the young worked girls in Calcutta's brothels; Lakshmi’s struggles against her captors; her shattered dreams; her fears of the outside world; and her bravery to become rescued.

Lakshmi's stepfather sums up the value of a girl’s life when he says, "A son will always be a son, they say. But a girl is like a goat. Good as long as she gives you milk and butter. But not worth crying over when it's time to make a stew."

I can’t say that I liked “Sold”. It is a very dark book but is a short and fast read. It is an important book but based on a subject I would rather believe did not exist.

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Everyone should listen to this!

Based on the interviews and testimony of former child slave prostitutes; this story takes you behind locked doors through a young girl's eyes. Terrifying & riveting, I listened straight through without stopping!

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Amazing

So amazing couldn't stop listening so detailed and moving loved it so much the voice is kind of odd to listen to at first but then I ended up loving it I have a huge interest in books about the treatment of women and girls in developing countries and this is one of the best books for that topic I have ever read it's so important for people to read these books and realize what happens around the world

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  • Michelle L
  • Marin County, California USA
  • 09-26-16

great story, not a great narrator selection

I really enjoyed this young adult novel about a young girl in the sex trade against her wishes. However the narrator's voice sounded like an old woman, not a young girl - the American accent was irritating to me also. Wish I had read this one.

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An Important Book

I cannot say that I enjoyed listening to the book because it is a disturbing book about a disturbing subject. It does give the listener a glimpse into a reality that is all too common in today's world -- all over the world from India to the United States and everywhere in between.

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Horrible and a good read

It was hard to get though, only because this is reality. 14 year Olds are worried about cell phones and boys not trying to support their families in such painful ways.