by Stacey Trombley
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: Paperback, 304 pages
Published: 07 July 2015, Entangled Teen
Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours
A teenage prostitute looking for redemption must face her secrets before they destroy her…
When tough teenager Anna ran away to New York, she never knew how bad things would get. After surviving as a prostitute, a terrifying incident leaves her damaged inside and out, and she returns home to the parents she was sure wouldn’t want her anymore.
Now she has a chance to be normal again. Back in school, she meets a boy who seems too good to be true. Cute, kind, trusting. But what will he do when he finds out the truth about her past? And when a dark figure from New York comes looking for Anna, she realizes she must face her secrets…before they destroy her.
There’s a strange tapping on my window. My heart pounds in my chest as I remember the last time. Nothing happened then, but I do sort of wish I had Zara with me now.
I take a deep breath and tiptoe to the window and peer out. A happy face peers back at me. I blink and then slide open the window.
“What the hell are you doing here, Jackson?” His eyes are bright and alive, and I realize I’m very happy to see him.
“I want to show you something,” he says.
“Normal people come to the door, you know?”
He shrugs. “You told me your parents were strict—figured this was the safe way.”
I shake my head. He’s crazy. And sneaking around my parents with a boy, even a boy as innocent as Jackson, probably isn’t the best idea in the world. Especially after what happened at dinner. I narrow my eyes. “Is it important?”
He nods eagerly, and I sigh. Good thing I didn’t change out of my school clothes yet. Besides, the chances of my parents coming to my room are nonexistent. After that big speech, my dad will want to bask in his own glory while he gives me time to think over his “lesson.” I grab a pair of tennis shoes from my closet, flick off the light so my parents think I’m sleeping, and climb out the window.
“Okay, what’s so important?”
He grabs my hand and laces his fingers through mine, which makes my heart patter in a completely idiotic way. And then he runs, pulling me with him. I notice he’s wearing a backpack. We run down the street and behind one of the houses, back to the field with the honeysuckles and my mini Central Park.
Then we stop. The sky is a dark blue, but there’s still a little bit of light peeking out over the horizon. The field is right in front of us, with the little specks of lights flickering in the darkness. “Fireflies,” I say.
Jackson turns to me, his eyes bright. “You are human!” he says with a sly smile that makes my stomach tumble.
At least my cheeks don’t get hot. I do have some composure. “But they’re actually called lightning bugs.”
“What? You made that up.”
I laugh, and we both grow quiet and watch the little specks of light in the dark field.
“My family used to go camping in the summer when I was little,” I say. “My mom and I caught fireflies together. But we haven’t done it since I was eight or so.”
“What happened after that?”
“I don’t know. My dad started working more, we stopped talking to our cousins and even my grandparents for some reason, and my parents got stricter and stricter.” I shrug, wondering if that was actually the beginning of the end of my parents’ relationship, and I just hadn’t seen it. The same way they didn’t see the way those changes affected me. “That’s around the time that everything changed for me because they wouldn’t let me out to play with kids my age, and they stopped playing with me, too.” I’m telling him more than I’m supposed to.
He takes off his backpack and pulls out a jar. “Maybe we can make her a present.”
“My mom? You don’t think she’ll say they’re too…you know…childish?”
He takes my hand. “Maybe. But maybe she needs to remember what it was like when things were good.”
“What do you mean?”
“Just some things you’ve said… It sounds like you guys haven’t been happy in a long time.” He’s right. It’s been a long time since we were happy. Not just me. My mom. My dad.
Then he tugs on my hand and brings me into the field, thankfully saving me from having to confirm or deny anything. I wonder why they’re even still here, the fireflies. It’s September; aren’t they usually gone by now? There aren’t as many as there are in the spring and summer, but there’s enough for me to catch about ten in Jackson’s jar. When we’re finished, he pokes tiny holes in the lid of the jar and hands it to me. We walk back to where he left his backpack, and I set my jar down.
“Is the night over?” he asks, his eyes alight with something else. Something very unchildish, and it kind of scares me. My whole body feels alive. At his look, heat rises into my cheeks. Thankfully, it’s too dark for him to see. I don’t know what Jackson and I are, but I do know that I don’t want to go home. Not yet.
Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list. She wants to bring something new to the world through her writing, but just giving a little piece of herself is more than enough.
The floor is yours, Ms. Stacey
WHY THIS TOPIC
The number one question I get about my book is “Why this subject?”
You mean, why write about prostitutes? People assume I’d have to have been through something similar, or known someone who has. Why would a normal suburb brat write about a teen prostitute?
No, I don’t have any personal experience with prostitution. I’ve never known a prostitute. I’ve never been sexual abused.
While researching this topic I read a book called Girls Like Us, about a woman who had been forced into prostitution as a child and now runs a nonprofit to help girls who’ve had similar experiences. At one point she goes to talk to some girls in prison and they are amazed to see someone who’d been like them but isn’t dead, in prison or addicted to drugs. One of the girls says they usually only hear from people who’ve had a “Luv Luv life”, a.k.a. someone who’s lived an innocent, good life. Someone who couldn’t possibly understand girls like them.
Well, I’ve had a Luv Luv Life.
In fact, I was a prude. A Christian girl who didn’t have much interest in guys at all. (I’m much more like Jackson than Anna.) Some boys I knew started calling me “Fort Nox” because no guy could “get” me (not the cleverest of all nick names but these were high school guys, just go with it.) To this day I have never more than kissed anyone but my husband.
So why in the world would someone like me, the prude of the school, write a story about a prostitute? Anna, a girl who even down to the basics of her personality is nothing like me. Don’t worry, it seems weird to me too. But sometimes when an issue, a story, a person, jumps into your head it’s really best not to ignore it. And I’ve never been one to be afraid of weird.
At some point I felt called to write this story. Out of nowhere. No real reason I can come up with.
First, I became interested in the topic of teenage prostitution. I realized that it’s an issue that’s prominent in the United States that not many people know about. In fact, when I was writing and shopping this book to agents and publishers that was some of my most common comments by other writers just trying to help. “That doesn’t seem very realistic.”
Well, actually it is. You’ve just never heard of about it. Their story isn’t one that’s been told very often.
Truthfully, I like dark emotional stories. I like things that are different. Things that really make you think about your life, the world, in a different way.
I was interested in learning more about these children, what happens to them. It’s a scary thing to delve into but something had me possessed. There was something there that had me hooked.
There was definitely a time when all I knew was that I wanted to write a story about a teen prostitute. I didn’t know how or why, but I knew there was a story there, somewhere. A life waiting to be explored. It took me a while but I did end up finding it, finding Anna.
I don’ know why I was the one to tell this story. Why not someone else with more experience? Maybe because I was the one brave enough to tackle it. Maybe there is something in here that only I could see.
Really, the answer to your question, “Why this topic?” is really “I don’t know.”
All I know is that when the call came, I answered.
NAKED t-shirt (s-xl), a mini book necklace, signed copy, bookmark, & sticker
print copy of NAKED, necklace, bookmark & sticker