Release Date: July 7, 2015
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…
***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Entangled: Teen.
+++Trigger warning: Mature themes, abuse, violence.
Naked is a harrowing portrait of loss of innocence, broken dreams, and the countless ways young girls trapped by unfortunate circumstance. Naked is more than a tragic story of a lost little girl forced into prostitution, it’s about redemption, escape, and learning to love oneself when all you feel is disgust.
- Naked tells an important story, one that teens should hear, about the dangers of running away and how easily they can be taken advantage of by lecherous, horrible people-predators. Naked is graphic, bleak, honest, and raw, it sucks you in and turns your stomach. It’s horrifying because it is so accurate. Naked tells the story of a naïve girl whose home life is far from ideal. A little lost and a whole lot unhappy, she embarks on a quest to the big city, eager to become a star. When she gets there, her dreams are destroyed by the harsh reality of how hard it is to make it, especially so young. With nowhere to go, any act of kindness inspires trust. Fear is suffocating and crippling, it makes choices seem limited and sometimes impossible and the shame of returning home is too much. So young people get sucked into the seedy underworld of prostitution and trafficking, one that they can’t escape. Stacey Trombley doesn’t sugarcoat, some scenes are skin-crawling despicable and others are terrifying with just how real they seem. In addition to this heavy subject, Naked also tackles abuse, domestic and sexual. Some scenes may be triggers or too much for some.
- The most heartbreaking, realistic aspect of this story is how Anna views herself. Anna has grown up as a prostitute and when she’s introduced back into her former world, she feels less than, dirty, used, and that no one will value her because she’s somehow unclean. Anna’s self-esteem issues are enough to make you cry, repeatedly but they also invoke anger. Anna is a victim, despite her continued participation. Many times, prostitutes are looked at as criminals, that simply because they knew it was wrong or inappropriate was enough but sometimes circumstances combined with emotions, particularly fear are our worse enemy. It’s a slap in the face and a colorful depiction of the dark side of humanity as Anna transitions into her lifestyle on the NYC streets, one the inspires both pity and rage. It could happen to anyone and young, naïve people are unlucky targets.
- The role of police officers, the dirty and good kind, social workers, and parents in recovery are all portrayed with detail. Not everything is pretty and sometimes recovery is vicious but necessary.
- Secondary characters, for the most part, were cliché. The typical jealous, mean girl. The populars, the bullies, the hipsters. They’re all there in their glory.
- The romance was low-key and distant. Anna pushes people away and lies to save herself from the cruelty of her past. The growing distance emotionally between Anna and Jackson is at odds with their physical connection. It was difficult to commit to their romance when it seemed that, despite Jackson’s interest and enormous heart, it was destined for failure.
- A certain plot element made no sense no matter how much Anna tried to justify and explain it away. The risk was minimal really but she let her fear rule her and it put everything on the edge of disaster.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this: