A heartbreaking story told through scattered free verse, Sold is about a 13-year-old girl named Lakshmi living in a small village in Nepal. Her life, though difficult, is filled with simple pleasures such as popcorn with her mother and watching the twilight. She lives contently until one day when her gambling stepfather loses all their money and tells Lakshmi that he has sold her to become a maid in the city. Lakshmi is upset at the thought of leaving her family but would do anything to provide for them, so she decides to go willingly.
It is only when she arrives at her new home in India that Lakshmi realizes she has actually been sold to a brothel. Faced with the brutalities of brothel life, her horror at what she must do, and the fact that her overseer is cheating her out of the money that she hoped would go to her family and one day set her free, Lakshmi slowly gathers the strength to survive.
This book only took me about two hours to read, but in that short amount of time, I was completely shattered. The writing is so poignant, and it brings the horrors of child sex trafficking to light in a whole new way. The author, Patricia McCormick, actually went to Nepal and India to interview victims of sex trafficking, and I think part of what makes the novel so compelling is the fact that it really does feel like a girl is just telling us her story. Sold is such an important story, and it is written in a manner that will move teen and adult readers alike.
Rated: Moderate. In many ways it could just be Mild, because there is virtually no language and only implied violent sexuality (Lakshmi only says during the act that she feels like she’s being “ripped apart,” but that’s about as descriptive as she gets), but for young adults, it really feels like a novel that you shouldn’t pick up unless you’re braced for a story with some heavier themes.