Monday, July 6, 2015

Review: Naked by Stacey Trombley

Title: Naked
Author: Stacey Trombley
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Published Date: 7 July 2015
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository

I received this book through NetGalley from Entangled Teen for review.

The best place to hide is in a lie…

I could never fit in to the life my parents demanded. By the time I was thirteen, it was too much. I ran away to New York City…and found a nightmare that lasted three years. A nightmare that began and ended with a pimp named Luis. Now I am Dirty Anna. Broken, like everything inside me has gone bad.

Except that for the first time, I have a chance to start over. Not just with my parents but at school. Still, the rumors follow me everywhere. Down the hall. In classes. And the only hope I can see is in the wide, brightly lit smile of Jackson, the boy next door. So I lie to him. I lie to protect him from my past. I lie so that I don’t have to be The Girl Who Went Bad.

The only problem is that someone in my school knows about New York.

Someone knows who I really am.

And it’s just a matter of time before the real Anna is exposed…
(summary from Goodreads)

A dark and heart-wrenching story of teen prostitution, Naked is a raw and intense debut.

Trombley has written a book that is real, emotional, truly scary, and gorgeously hopeful. This isn't just the story of Anna dealing with the horrors of having been a teen prostitute, but about life as simply a teenager, about questions of normalcy, the judgements we make, and the issues and secrets hidden behind the faces and lives that seem so perfect. Naked is about the darkest parts of people and the world laid bare for everyone to see - and judge. It's a gut-wrenching read from start to finish and one I couldn't put down. This is a story I quickly became invested in and reading everything Anna goes through, feeling everything she goes through, was like a fist tightening around my heart. So many incredibly serious issues, like prostitution, rape, emotional and physical abuse, bulling, corruption, and drugs are touched upon, so this isn't the most easiest of reads, but still there is a light that shines bright throughout Naked and it's that hope that makes this novel a thought-provoking, genuine and haunting read. It's ultimately an affecting and moving story.

That emotion and connection with Naked is possible because Anna is such a well-written and developed character. She's not just a broken girl. She's so human. In so many ways Anna is young and naive, certain that Luis is her saviour, and yet she's so strong and determined, willing to see that those around her are just as hurt and trying to help them. This girl had me heartbroken and inspired all at once. The greatest and bravest thing about Anna is that she accepts herself. She hates herself sometimes, is angry at what she became, but she also accepts that it's a part of her and her past. She desperately wants to be loved and realises that means being herself and loving herself. I adored the bonds she made, with her mother and Sarah, and with her dog, but especially her friendships with Alex, Jen and Marissa, and her romance with Jackson. It was all so very, well, cute and teenagery despite the suffering each of them had been through. It's more proof of the perspectives Naked offers - the light and the dark of life, that go hand in hand. Anna's ability to get her power back is amazing. It's what makes Trombley's debut a compelling and heartfelt read.

Naked is an honest portrayal of brutality and strength.



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