Lakshmi, a young girl from Nepal, is told by her stepfather that she must go to work to help support the family after a monsoon has devastated their crops. Her story as it unfolds is both heartbreaking and profound.
Although she is told that she's being taken to work in the city as a maid, Lakshmi is actually sold to a stranger who takes her across the Indian border into Calcutta, where she is sold into prostitution. Once there, Mumtaz, the madam who purchased her, uses starvation, drugs and beatings to force Lakshmi to submit. McCormick's use of spare text to reveal the unbearable condition of girls such as Lakshmi is both immediate and effective. Readers will be stunned by Lakshmi's fate, amazed by her endurance and, finally, relieved by her escape from the brothel. This well-researched book is recommended for readers 13 and up and their parents.