Thursday, May 14, 2015

Book Review: Little Peach

Title: Little Peach
Author:  Peggy Kern
Publisher: Balzer Bray/ HarperTeen
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Genre:  YA // Survival // Real Life // Social Issues
Format: Audiobook
Source:  Purchased (Audible)

What do you do if you're in trouble?
When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York City, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: she is alone and out of options. 
Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels. 
But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution where he becomes her “Daddy” and she his “Little Peach.” It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition. 
This hauntingly vivid story illustrates the human spirit’s indomitable search for home, and one girl’s struggle to survive (goodreads).

I was always taught that people put themselves in the situations that they are in, but Little Peach was a rude awakening. Hitting in tough topic like rape and drug abuse, Little Peach paints a vivid picture of child prostitution and how easy it is to fall into it.

Plot: 14 year old Michelle is under the impression that no one loves her. Her grandfather is gone and her mother seems to have more time for her druggie friends than she does her only daughter. She takes a one-way ticket to New York where she has a partial address of a friend who had moved there from Philadelphia. Along the way, she gets swept up into Devon's deadly game of child sex and other gang related activities. This book was a hard read but it was also difficult to put down. There is nothing pretty about Michelle's world, everything is ugly and Peggy Kern seems to paint it in nothing but grays and blacks. Be warned that there are some pretty tough topics in here, but hey, we can't all live in historical romances and fantasy right? This book needs to be read by everyone. This is a topic that we need to be having in our community and working together to try to solve. 

Characters: My heart ached for poor Michelle, from the beginning she sounded so lost and seemed to have given up on life at the age of 14. It's also disheartening seeing her adapt so well to her new family and find pride in her work because her "Daddy" loved her for it. Her manner of thinking is warped for a fact and I wanted to do nothing but pull her in a tight hug and tell her over and over that she is pretty and loved. 

Devon is and interesting piece of work. Michelle definitely sees him in rose-colored glasses, and as this novel is told through Michelle's point of view, it is easy to see what attracted her to him, and how his words can make her stay and continue to sell herself so that he could make a profit. 

World Building: This is not your touristy New York. Michelle goes from her crummy community in Philadelphia to the projects of New York. There are gangs, there is drug use, there is some tough language, and there are onlookers who judge Michelle after one glance. In short this is real and I admire Kern's ability to write such gritty scenes. 

Audiobook Performance: Imani Parks captured Michelle's spirit perfectly. She has this perfect amount of childlike wonder and distrust that I believed she was a teenage girl being forced into a lifestyle she wasn't familiar with. I am very happy that I purchased the audiobook over the ebook because Imani's voice gave this book much more meaning for me. 

Short N Sweet: Little Peach is one of the ugliest books you'll read this year, but it's a dark read that I highly recommend. 


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