cover image Trafficked


Kim Purcell. Viking, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-670-01280-0

In this timely and fiercely honest debut novel, paced like a thriller, Purcell confronts the economic and sexual brutality inherent in the practice of human trafficking. After a terrorist bombing kills 17-year-old Hannah's parents (and police implicate her father), Hannah and her babushka (grandmother) teeter on the precipice of economic peril in Eastern Europe's impoverished Moldova. Just after Hannah leaves school, postponing her dreams of becoming a doctor, a charming agent named Olga offers her job in the United States. Despite widespread anxiety about the export of girls as sex products, this seems the only viable option for Hannah. After Hannah makes a harrowing journey across Russia and assumes a false identity, her dream job quickly becomes a nightmare. Housed in a typical L.A. home, she functions as a nanny (and house slave) for an indulgent but lascivious man and his monstrous, vindictive wife who won't allow her to leave the house and fails to pay her. The novel's intelligent, feisty heroine and strongly sketched supporting cast prove a powerful lens into this shocking issue and its psychological costs. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. Agent: Kate Lee, ICM. (Feb.)