Author: Stacey Trombley
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Paperback, 331 Pages
Published July 2015
Read Amber's ARC Review!
Summary: 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.
Amber read this book and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to it too! I'm a big fan of any book that has to do with the horrors of sex trafficking and prostitution, which I know sounds really terrible, but that's not how it's supposed to come across! I find it fascinating to read about the struggles of young girls in big cities who get roped into something terrible and horrible and how they eventually get out of it and get themselves help. That's why Little Peach by Peggy Kern was one of my favorite reads from last year!
So this story follows Anna, a teenage girl who ran away from home when she was thirteen and wound up working as a prostitute for a much older boy named Luis that she thought she was in love with. Eventually, after a twisted turn of events that we don't learn much about, she winds up being figured out by the police and returned home to her family -- the very cruel and uptight family that she tried to escape. So now Anna is sixteen and has to go back to school and back to her normal life, but it's hard when there are rumors flying every which way about her, some which are hitting way too close to home. It doesn't help that there's someone in the school building that really DOES know Anna's secret, and they're threatening her to expose it...unless she does them some favors.
I did like this book overall. I would recommend it to somebody. However, before I talk about what I do like about this book, I have a few negative things that I want to discuss first. (And I'm not trying to be all ranty and evil here, but there are a few parts of this book that seriously irked me and I couldn't get past them no matter how hard I tried.
The first thing that really upset me was how clearly the author kept making digs at police officers. I am definitely very biased because my father has been a police officer and a detective for over twenty years -- so you can obviously tell where I stand on the whole "police brutality" issue. Well, I don't know the author's personal opinion on it, but Anna's opinion seems to be the complete opposite. Obviously as a prostitute Anna isn't going to like the police. But several times throughout the book it is explained that and alluded to the fact that it was normal for police officers to beat her and shove her into walls and make lewd and disgusting comments to her. I mentioned this to my father and asked if that's really how police officers treated prostitutes, and he told me that that is absolutely NOT the case -- and he's a member of the NYPD, just like the police mentioned in the book. So if you didn't know much about the police, this book definitely does a good job as painting them as horrible, abusive monsters that they most certainly are not. If it was just one or two comments mentioned in the book I'd allow it to irk me and then just let it go, because it came up quite frequently and I began to get really upset by it. If an author is going to write about the inner workings of something like the NYPD, they should definitely do their research and fact check with ACTUAL officers first. I was really, really upset by that part.
The one other thing that irked me just a little bit was more of an editing issue. There was a whole slew of typos and misprints in the book, and I was reading a finished copy that I got from my library, so it wasn't like they were just mistakes that you normally find in an ARC. But the most prevalent thing with the editing was that I caught a blatant fact inconsistency that was two paragraphs away from one another and definitely should have been able to be picked out by an editor. On page 159, when Anna is on her way outside, it says that she grabs her hoodie and her tennis shoes and puts them on. And then TWO PARAGRAPHS LATER, on Page 160, she's complaining that her toes are going numb and she wishes she was wearing shoes. It was such a blatant misprint that I thought I was the one that made a mistake, and I noticed it right away. Here are the photos:
I quickly realized that I wasn't the one that made the mistake - it was the editor. I actually had to Tweet it because I was so shocked that something like that could slide past an editor so quickly. I know sometimes books have typos and misprints, but this was just shocking.
Alright, alright, I'm done being negative, because even though those two things definitely impacted my experience with the book, I enjoyed it overall. I enjoyed watching Anna grow as a character, from a sarcastic and nasty city girl into a smart, driven young woman with friends and the guts to stand up for herself. It was interesting to see Anna crawl back up from what she truly believed was her lowest point. She even managed to work things out with the mom that she thought couldn't stand her, she found some good friends that stuck by her, and even a boy that didn't give up on her no matter how hard the circumstances were getting.
All in all, Naked by Stacey Trombley was an interesting read about a teen girl fighting to regain everything she lost after she truly felt she had lost it all. I would recommend this book to anybody looking for a good redemption story, because Anna's story is definitely a redemption tale like no other. Even though there were a few tiny aspects to this story that I wasn't crazy about, I definitely did like it overall and would read more work from Trombley in the future.