Author: Peggy Kern
Publisher: Balzar and Bray
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
This short novel really places a spotlight on an area of humanity many people are blissfully aware of. Child prostitution is a real issue in many countries yet many people's minds just can't go there, I know mine couldn't before reading Little Peach.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 who he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution, where he becomes her "Daddy" and she is his "Little Peach." It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition.
What I found most frightening was how easy it was for a young vulnerable girl to get picked up by a predator. Our main character, Michelle, literally arrives at the bus stop in New York and is targeted instantly by a sex trafficker. I was questioning the reality of this at first, but after reading the authors note at the end of the book, I was shocked to learn that that is actually a common story of victims. Baby in particular was a very disturbing character, I don't know many twelve year olds who are as babyish as her. She seemed to be either extremely developmentally stunted or has learned to act that way because that is what makes her desirable to perverts. It's probably a bit of both which is very tragic.
The book did feel quite light on content, and seemed skeletal. Characters could have been more fleshed out, and a lot of details are glossed over at some points. There isn't really a resolution to this story, it's quite open ended so it's not really known what happens to Michelle. In real life, I suppose victims of child sex trafficking find it nearly impossible to escape the lifestyle they have been forced into, so a neat happy ending would have been highly unrealistic.
All in all, I liked this book but I felt the story could have been so much more.