Monday, January 22, 2007


McCormick, Patricia. 2006. SOLD. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 0786851716 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

This fictional account of a girl who is sold into India’s prostitution ring is a stark look at an unfathomable truth. McCormick’s story of Lakshmi, a thirteen-year-old Nepalese raised in the shadows of mountains and poverty, is told through free-verse poetry. The vignettes outline Lakshmi’s innocent happiness at home in her village, and her utter despair in “Happiness House,” the brothel where she has been enslaved. Readers will watch helplessly as Lakshmi is sold, traded, used, and abused by the adults in her life. She loses not only her innocence, but her trust in humanity.

As McCormick explains in her author’s note and acknowledgements, she actually “traced the path that many Nepalese girls have taken – going from remote villages where even a radio is a rare luxury – to the teeming red light districts of Calcutta.” Her thorough research led her to the real-life survivors of this horror, and SOLD developed from there. Teens will think about Lakshmi long after she is “rescued” and the story ends – a tribute to McCormick’s wonderful character development and unique presentation of a challenging subject.

Females in many countries are persecuted and diminished, yet today’s teens are often unaware that such travesty exists and will be interested in researching about other atrocities that are taking place in the world. Using reference books and Internet resources, readers may also want to trace the route of Lakshmi’s horrific journey from the Nepalese mountains to Calcutta, India.

Other novels in verse about characters that are struggling:
Hesse, Karen. OUT OF THE DUST. ISBN 0590360809
Woodson, Jacqueline. LOCOMOTION. ISBN 0142401498

Books with imprisoned main characters:
Cooney, Caroline. PRISONER OF TIME. ISBN 0385322445
Fox, Paula. SLAVE DANCER ISBN 0027355608
McCunn, Ruthanne Lum. THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD. ISBN 0807083178

By Rebecca McKee

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