Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Peggy Kern
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Michelle is in the hospital, and she has a decision to make. There is a professional woman who says that she wants to help, but Michelle doesn’t know whether she should tell the truth. Through a series of flashbacks, Michelle reveals exactly how she got to the be in this position. She remembers a positive early childhood, being raised by her grandfather until he passes away. Then, all she has left is her drug-addicted mother and her mother’s boyfriend, whose physical advances scare Michelle. At age fourteen, she leaves home to live in New York. Soon, she meets Devon, who seems to genuinely care about her. Devon gives Michelle so much: food, clothing, a place to live, and the semblance of a family. So, even when Devon starts to ask Michelle to do things with her body that she doesn’t feel comfortable with, she’s not sure how she can refuse. She knows that her situation isn’t great, but she just doesn’t know whether she can hope for anything better.
In Little Peach, author Peggy Kern juxtaposes some extremely complex subject matter with uncomplicated writing. This book has very mature themes and content. It contains severe language, severe sexual content, and fairly detailed descriptions of drug use. However, all of the information shared in the book is done with the purpose of telling a gritty but important story. Rather than using shocking details gratuitously, Kern tells the story objectively, from an innocent, young victim’s point of view. So though it is a devastating story of a child caught in sex trafficking, the narrator is barely older than a child, and she is just objectively detailing the horrors she has been through. This is a fictional story, but the narrator’s story is not uncommon. As intense as her story is, it is not one that is told often enough, and this book paves the way for readers to realize that there are far too many women in the world in Michelle’s predicament who are just as deserving of sympathy as she is.
*Contains severe language, severe sexual content, and severe violence.