The best place to hide is in a lie...
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.
And it's just a matter of time before the real Anna is exposed...
Read an Excerpt
By Stacey Trombley, Stephen Morgan, Elizabeth Vail
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Stacey Trombley
All rights reserved.
Sometimes being interviewed by the police is like a game.
It's kind of fun, keeping them from the truth. At least until they get pissed and start hitting, bruising, breaking. Then it's not so fun anymore. But until then, I have to keep my head up or I'll never make it out alive.
I shift in the metal chair, uncomfortable, and lean away from the cold table.
Hiding the truth is easy when no one knows anything. What sucks is when the police know more than you do. If they catch you in one lie, the whole web collapses.
Good thing the woman in front of me isn't a cop. She hasn't said she's not a cop, but she doesn't have to. The way she smiles at me with the kind of innocence I used to have, it's pretty obvious.
"What's your name?" she asks. As if we're just normal people having a casual conversation. As if she doesn't know how dangerous that kind of information is for someone like me.
"Exquisite," I say.
"That's very pretty." She says it so sincerely that for a moment, I think she believes me. Maybe she really is as naive as she looks.
In my world, naive might as well mean dead.
"My name is Sarah," she says.
Why in the world would she think I care what her name is?
"Okay," I say.
"How old are you?"
"Nineteen." The word slips out before I even think about it. That's my go-to answer, a lie I've told so often I almost believe it.
"Hmm, you don't look nineteen."
Funny that in all the times I've been in police stations, a hundred set of handcuffs cutting off my circulation, my age has never been questioned. I'm nineteen. They know I'm lying — my seventeenth birthday is still months away — but they don't care.
No one cares.
"Yeah, I get that a lot."
A creak grabs my attention, and I look to the door. There's a small window where the asshole cop watches us. My black eye throbs, even though it wasn't him who gave it to me. Someone else gave me that black eye, with the same hand he used to hold against the side of my face as we fell asleep together.
I'm pretty sure I've got better luck with the woman in a suit than the man behind the window. The way he shakes his head every time he sees me, it looks like he wants to hurt me — he'd enjoy it.
"You don't like the police, do you?"
My attention shifts back to the woman.
"Nope," I say honestly, despite my minor surprise.
"Well, it might help you to know that I'm not a cop." As if her being a cop was ever a possibility. "And I'm not here to get information and leave. I'm here to help you. If I can." She smiles, like she's trying to put me at ease. Yeah, good luck with that. "You're sure you're nineteen?"
"You calling me a liar?"
She smiles. "No. It's just, if you are nineteen, there's nothing I can do for you. You'll go to jail, or go back to that life out there, on the streets. I don't want that. And somehow, I don't think you want that, either."
"Why would you think that?" Now I stand. She thinks she knows me. She thinks that she gets it, thinks she gets me.
Her eyes soften, they grow ... sadder somehow.
I don't let myself show her any change in my expression. My walls keep the nightmares away. The second they fall, I'm screwed.
"I'm sorry," she says. "But I can usually tell if I can help someone. And I think I can help you."
I blink. My walls almost fall then, nearly crash down and crumble all over my feet, but I catch myself before it's too late.
I make my face blank, impassive. Don't let her see beneath my mask. It's a trick I learned for when guys pay for me. An hour. All night. Never let them see how I really feel.
It's more important than ever that I keep strong, keep this woman from getting to me, seeing too much.
"But if you were, say, sixteen," she says, "I could help you. Give you a new life. No jail, just hope."
I sit back down and look down at my hands. I don't like how much she knows, suspects.
"What do you think you can do for me?"
She stands and walks slowly around the room. When she walks behind my chair, my heart pounds. I hate not being able to see her. I don't care how kind she seems. I'm in a police station. I'm not safe.
"I really wish you'd tell me your real name."
"Why?" I ask, just as she finishes her round and faces me once more.
"Because I don't feel right calling you Exquisite, and I'd like to be able to have a real conversation with you."
I roll my eyes. "I know better than to think you care. No one cares."
She faces me again. Her eyes are a pretty brown, surprisingly firm for how soft she seems. "Do you really think that no one in the world cares? Or just no one in a police station? No one in the city? It's not possible that someone out there would want to help you, somehow, someway?"
I think about this for a moment. "Some people want to help, but that doesn't mean they can."
"Well, then we've established that I want to help. So can't I at least know your name?"
At least she's trying something other than broken ribs and swollen eyes. But if she's really as innocent as she seems, then she's not in a position to help. Anyone who knows the truth will hurt me. Anyone who doesn't know the truth is better off believing the lie.
"I told you my name," I say.
Her shoulders deflate like she's disappointed, and she tucks a loose strand of brown hair behind her ear. She takes in a deep breath and pulls out a file from her briefcase. "Will you at least tell me why you're here?"
"Doesn't that file already tell you why?"
She looks down. "There's not much here. It says you go by the name Exquisite."
"I told you that."
"The police seem to think you're a prostitute."
Of course they do. Other than the smeared lipstick and six-inch heels — clue number one — they've seen me in here before. "People make lots of assumptions," I say.
"So it's not true?"
I don't respond.
"Who gave you that black eye?"
"A man who also thought I was a hooker," I say. Sometimes I impress myself with my ability to spin the truth to my advantage. Sure, the cop thought I was a hooker, because I am. Or was. Or something.
This is one truth she'll never get out of me.
Her eyebrows rise. "So, a man sexually harassed you, you refused him, and he hit you?"
I shrug. Sounds like a pretty good story to me.
"If that's the case, why haven't you made a phone call? A few statements and you're free to go."
I blink. She's got me there. I search for a lie here, something to tell her, some excuse about why I haven't called anyone, why I still can't. Instead, I give the kind of answer I truly hate: an honest one. "I don't have anyone to call."
The only person I can call, the person who would usually bail me out, is the person who put me here. Sort of. I mean, I kind of put myself here. It must not say it in the file, but I pulled a gun on the cop when he stopped.
Sometimes emotions are too strong to control. He's just lucky I didn't pull the trigger.
But Luis is the reason I was on the street with a black eye. Luis is the reason I had nowhere else to go. And now I don't think I can ever go back.
Once broken, some things never heal. With him, I felt as close to whole as I could get in that little apartment. He found me. Saved me. Loved me.
But now we're broken, too.
Sarah watches me for an uncomfortable moment like she's contemplating something, then puts the file down. "Can I show you something?"
My eyebrows pull down in what I'm sure is an unattractive way. "What kind of something?"
She stands and smiles to reassure me. "Follow me."
Still very confused, but curious, I follow her. The creepy cop is gone now, and we walk down the hall freely. No handcuffs, no guards. I've never been this free in a police station. We get to the main entrance, where there are glass cases of posters. A few wanted posters to the right, but the entire left side is covered with about fifty missing person posters.
"Thousands of kids run away each year. Did you know that? With nowhere to go, they often end up in prostitution." She says it like a teacher or something, talking about a subject we'll have a test on later, not like it's something I've lived through.
Does she know I've experienced this firsthand? Or is this a game, too? A test to see if I'll slip up and reveal something?
She says, "Those kids don't realize that their parents still look for them. Some parents never give up."
I look over all the posters, all the missing children. What kind of lives have they found on the streets? Did they end up like me? Selling themselves for the hope of a new life? How many of these kids are already dead?
Then I see a set of familiar dead eyes staring back at me from one of the posters. The name reads Anna Rodriguez. I look at all of the posters with the same casual indifference, but the image from that one is seared into my brain.
The girl is young, innocent. Her skin is a pretty olive color, dark enough that most people wouldn't guess she's only half Puerto Rican. She wears a ponytail with wisps of unruly curls falling into her face and a simple string of pearls around her neck.
I'm surprised this is the picture they chose — it's not perfect enough. Those curls would drive my blond trophy-wife mother crazy.
I almost laugh thinking about what she'd say of my ratty hair now. Or how about the running makeup, split lip, and rose tattoo on my ankle?
"Recognize any of those girls?" Sarah says.
I shrug. "Nope."
She seems to believe me, which is good, because I mean it. I never knew that girl, and neither did her parents.
I don't dare look her in the eye again. Without another word, she takes me back to my cell and I'll admit, I'm a bit relieved.
"Just hang in there a little longer," she says.
I don't have the energy to ask her if she's done with me, if she plans on questioning me again.
All I know is I cannot let her know the truth.
The fact that my parents still have missing person posters up, are still looking for me ... I'm not sure what to think of it. If they knew where I really was, what I was really doing ...
The things my mother would say would be bad enough. But my father? He'd disown me. I'm sure of it.
I pace in my cell. Back and forth, back and forth.
Life would be easier, I suppose, if I were that girl. Normal. Worrying about homework, choir practice, and who would take me to homecoming.
That girl wouldn't have a bruise forming on her upper arm from being held down, stolen from the one person she loved. That girl wouldn't be sitting in a cold cell, wondering how the cops will hurt her next.
The name rings in my head, a ghost from a past I've tried so hard to outrun.
But what I ran to ... was it really better?
Guess not anymore.
Good little Anna. Pretty little Anna.
That's what my parents thought I was. They dressed me up with their expensive clothes, did my hair up in pigtails and curls, put pearls around my neck. Then they expected me to smile and pretend that was what I always wanted — to be just like them. Perfect.
But I'm not. I wasn't then, and I'm certainly not now.
No, perfect isn't even close to what I really am. How about dirty? Ruined? Tarnished? Yes, that's the word my mother would use. Tarnished, like her heart necklace. Once shining with a bright gold sheen, now rubbed and used, its real value exposed. What it always was to begin with.
The streets of New York are a whole lot more than taxis and tourists and Broadway lights. I learned that the hard way at thirteen years old.
How did pretty little Anna go from Westchester suburb brat to New York hooker? Now that's a story, one I'm not sure I completely understand myself. There were reasons, there always are, but I don't expect anyone to get it, especially the innocent social worker lady who keeps trying to help me.
I wake up what must be hours later when Sarah comes back to get me. I fell asleep against the cold bars, and my skin sticks when I pull away.
Sarah has dark circles under her eyes now, like she never slept.
My old life is still floating through my head, and now Sarah just makes the memories even more vivid.
Would the thirteen-year-old me be happy about where I am now? What I've done? Who I've become?
But would I go back and change my decisions?
I don't know, but that doesn't really matter now. I can't go back. I just have to learn to live with myself.
There's nothing even Sarah can do to help me with that. Right now what I need is a new future.
I nod at her but say nothing. I'm not much in the mood for talking now.
"Are you ready for a visit? There's someone here to see you."
I blink. "Who?"
"Not who you'd expect."
I didn't call anyone. There's no one to call. No one to come get me, no one who cares.
Is it possible Luis sent someone for me? That he came for me himself? And if he did ... do I want to see him? Because even if he cares enough to come for me, I can't go back. Not now. Not after what happened.
I nod to Sarah anyway. If I don't take the visit, I'll always wonder who wanted to see me and why.
Sarah smiles, a sad smile now, and leaves the room.
The door doesn't open up again for about twenty minutes. A guard comes in and escorts me out. He barely looks at me. No nasty comments or wiggling eyebrows, no "accidental" push into the concrete wall. It's almost like I'm not a hooker.
We walk down a long, echoey hallway, and then into a new room. There are tables and steel walls. A few guards stand around, but otherwise no one is here. It's empty.
The guard leads me to a table, and I sit.
I face the way I came in, the entrance that leads back to my prison — literally. Behind me is another entrance, where footsteps tap closer.
I don't turn my head, but my heart pounds. Finally, the person walks around and stands in front of me.
My stomach drops. No, it doesn't just drop, it disappears. As much as I didn't want to see Luis, I expected to see him.
But it's not Luis.
My blood runs cold, looking at a face I never expected to see again. A face I never wanted to see again.
Everything stops, like time is frozen or something. He stares at me; I stare at him.
His facial hair has never been so long, but otherwise he looks exactly the same. Like a Hispanic politician. He's not really a politician; he's the CEO of some big company that I never understood, and he has a lot of influence in a lot of places. Anyone with money does. And he has money, though I never knew where it went. Probably toward that shiny Corvette of his.
He looks older, bags under his eyes.
His skin has always been dark like mine. Put us next to each other and it's clear I'm his daughter.
"Anna," he finally says, hard and gravelly. He frowns, looks away, and after a moment, turns around.
I don't even know how to describe this feeling. Like horror and heartbreak at once.
The last time he saw me, I was that little girl with unruly curls and pearls. Now I can't even imagine what he sees. A street-scum teen with matted hair, ripped clothes, and yellowing bruises around her eye.
I'm not even sure how he recognized me.
But he did. It's no wonder he doesn't turn back around.
I squeeze my hands together and watch as my fingers twist, trying to quash the desire for him to look at me again. To see those brown eyes so much like my own. Because I can't want that.
I always knew how he would feel to know where I've been, what I've been doing. He'd hate me more than he ever did before. He'd wish I were never born.
Was it his choice to put up those missing person posters? Does he regret looking for me? Is that why he's ignoring me now?
My father leaves without another glance back. When the door opens, I see my mother in the hallway, waiting for him, waiting to find out if the girl in this room is the daughter she lost.
The daughter she never fought for.
Of course she didn't come in herself. Ever the dutiful trophy wife. Even when things were at their worst, she never stood up for me.
A long time ago, she and I were close. She sang me songs to sleep. I told her everything. Good. Bad. But the worse things got between my father and me, the more she pulled away.
She doesn't look toward me as the door closes, like she's afraid of what will happen if it's really me. What she'll have to acknowledge.
I'm a ruined child now. Not even worth looking at.
I always knew that, so why do their reactions bother me? Why do I want them to want me so badly?
Maybe because I need someone to.
Luis used to call me his diamond in the rough, after he'd saved me from the street. He'd cup my face in his hands like I was something precious. But eventually precious started to mean valuable, something to be traded, sold, used.
And then thrown away once the value was gone. I wasn't even valuable anymore.
I stare at the table in front of me and listen to their muted voices coming from the hallway. Guess I wanted out, and I guess this is one way to do it. I won't have to return to the streets that ruined me. The man who loved and betrayed me.
But if it means going back to the parents I'm sure will hate me forever ...
Back to the impossibly perfect movie life in the suburbs ...
How can I, Anna Rodriguez, hooker, go back to any of that? I didn't belong before, and now?
Excerpted from Naked by Stacey Trombley, Stephen Morgan, Elizabeth Vail. Copyright © 2015 Stacey Trombley. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wow. Just...wow. Naked is one heck of a debut novel--it's gritty and real and hard to read at times, yet it still manages to be nearly impossible to put down. I absolutely had to keep reading to find out if--no, how--Anna would manage to get her life back. Short answer? With the love of family and friends, an amazing amount of inner strength and bravery, and the healing power of art. Long answer? You're gonna have to read it yourself to find out. But trust me, you won't be sorry you did. I really liked that the book in no way glamorized teenage prostitution or running away from home. It started just as Anna was (unbeknownst to her at the time) getting out of the life she'd been in for three years--from the age of 13 to 16. (And, yikes. I have a 16-year-old, so much of this book scared the daylights out of me.) High school is rough enough these days. Starting high school as the "new kid" after being on missing posters for three years and with the mother of all secrets to try and conceal? Takes it all to a whole new level. My only real complaint with the book is Anna's father--he begins as a rather flat and generic bad guy-type character, (the "unreasonable and unyielding parent" and "controlling spouse") and he finishes the novel in pretty much the same way. We never find out for sure why he acts the way he does, and to our knowledge he never repents either. For a debut novel, though, this was an amazing effort. I absolutely can't wait to see what Ms. Trombley has in store for us next. Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A- I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Stop and consider something for minute. How bad would your life have to be for you to run away rather than stay and suffer? It's a question Anna Rodriguez doesn't have to consider because she knows the answer. Thirteen-year-old Anna ran away from an abusive, controlling, and manipulative home life she could no longer stand. What she did to stay alive during her three years away is something that has redefined her, maybe forever. When she's discovered and returned to her parents by a caseworker who wants the family to make amends, Anna agrees to go back to school, hoping to start over. Between the nice neighbor boy, Jackson; the new family guard dog; and several other social outcasts at school, she begins to build herself a network of support ... ... until someone at school starts leaving notes in her locker, threatening to expose her past to everyone. The rumors were bad enough before, but now, she doesn't know who to trust. And making amends with her parents isn't going as well as she'd hoped, either. How much more can she afford to lose? Entangled Publishing's Teen imprint presents NAKED by Stacey Trombley, a sweet, contemporary young adult novel that debuts this summer. In the past, YA fiction has tended to handle sweet teen romances, feuds with parents, "soft" episodes of rebellion against authority, and hearts broken by two-timing (now) exes. Which makes Trombley's offering all the more refreshing and fascinating. Teens today are dealing with far more than many of us have given them credit for. No longer do their life issues tend to revolve around their wardrobes or what to say to attract the cute guy or girl in the cafeteria today. Those topics, while still represented, are far less common than contemporary teens' real lives. That YA fiction has evolved to lend credence to what today's teens are facing is a testament to its adaptability as a genre. In NAKED, Anna is really an unexpected character. The story is told in her voice, in the first-person perspective, and she is, by turns, sarcastic and kind, self-sufficient and helpless, down-to-earth gritty and dreamy. Indeed, her art class at school is the one place where she feels almost at peace. She has an otherworldly grownup aura about her, given what she's experienced, but it's clear that she mourns for the childhood she never really got to have. She fears being vulnerable herself but leaps to the rescue on behalf of those who are weaker or being used. Juxtapose all of that against the usual teenage mood swings and hormones, and pair it with her very adult past, and you have an unusual, unpredictable, beautiful protagonist, someone you're more than willing to spend several hundred pages getting to know. Interestingly enough, the work is almost a coming-of-age novel. Despite Anna having "come of age" in some ways, emotionally and psychologically, during her time as a runaway, she returns home like an insect trapped in amber, frozen in a childhood time she hadn't experienced in three years. The story of her rediscovering herself, her limits and abilities, her dreams and hopes, is as compelling and arresting as Anna herself. # # # Author: Stacey Trombley Title: NAKED Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Teen) ISBN: 978-1-63375-008-1 Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Talk about an emotional read!! This is a very intense, sad and powerful story of one thirteen year old girl’s story of running away to her dream of New York City and ending up broken and beaten and with three years of being a prostitute before going home. I wanted to read this to see how the author would write a story like that. What would it be like? But it was more than that and had my mind reeling with all that happened to her and how she would get past it and if she could ever really move on. Anna was “Exquisite” in New York. When she was found and at the police station a woman from Social Services quietly and gently helps Anna get home and helps her integrate back into … what? I don’t really know. How do you know where to go, who to be, move on, society, after that? But Sarah knows who she really is (Because Anna wouldn’t tell her who she was) and gets her home with her parents. But what the story didn’t really show till later was what Anna’s home life had really been before she ran away. I thought she was a brat until I read more. I didn’t know that her freedom was really none existent at home. Her dad ruled with an iron fist and a belt. Anna rebelled. So coming home isn’t all happy. Her dad thinks the worst of her. I don’t like her dad at all. I want to kick him where it hurts. Her mom, who was always obedient, now seems to be sticking up for her daughter. But is it enough? When Anna goes to public school a few years behind where she would be and with no friends, she meets Jackson. He is sweet and geeky and real. Everyone needs a Jackson! He believes in her. He squashes the rumors that fly around about Anna. Anna doesn’t want Jackson to know her past. She is afraid of losing him. He is what keeps her going. As time goes on, she lies more and more and knows it will all end when he finds out the truth. Anna makes two girl friends. They all help Anna and Anna helps them. Anna gets harassed by the popular girl and her boyfriend and she gets constant lewd comments. Anna can only handle so much. Her art teacher shows her how to create and Anna finds hope in her art. She also finds it in the family guard dog that wags his/her tail at Anna and sleeps with her but sneers at everyone else. The poor dog gets the same treatment Anna gets from her dad. But there is someone who knows her real secret at school and leaves her messages in her locker. Anna is afraid. She doesn’t want anyone else to know the real truth. Meanwhile, Sarah is trying to get Anna to testify against the man who took Anna in and gave her a place to stay and taught her to sell herself for money and then sold her to someone else in the end. I can’t even find the words to describe how that makes me feel. How this man made her feel like she was helping him. I just feel pure disdain and disgust and sad for all that she went through. I remember feeling utter despair as I was reading what she went through and I think I would have given up and not flourished but hidden myself away forever. I have two daughters and this world can be evil and I want to protect them. If not for Jackson, I think Anna would have given up too!On second thought, no Anna is stronger than me, she would have been okay. It may have taken her a little longer though! This story is not for the faint of heart. It is gritty and real and shows how a young mind can be twisted to believe what she is doing is okay. It also shows a very unhealthy family situation. Then I also like how Jackson’s dad was a police
I liked certain aspects of this book, but generally speaking, I had different expectations. It sounded to me like it would be a total tear jerker, a brutally honest account of how this young girl overcame such a horrible thing. I was prepared for it to be powerful and emotional, I wanted this book to evoke so many feelings but it didn't. First of all, I had a hard time thinking of Anna as a prostitute, or rather, believing that she actually went through that. Since the book starts pretty much with her going back home, the only traces left of her old life are the things she tells us. The book is narrated in first person and in my opinion, Anna's voice was mostly rambling and occasional cryptic insinuations of her past, and that wasn't enough for me to feel totally invested in her story. Also, if you live through 3 years of absolute hell, where you were raped, beaten and forced to have sex with disgusting men, I would think you'd be happy, even relieved to exchange those problems for high school drama and controlling parents. But then again, I just didn't get Anna. About 3/4 of the way through, I got interested in the relationship with Jackson and the other girls from school, the things they were doing, etc.. But that felt wrong and trivial because the main focus of this story should've been Anna's situation. I think Naked had a lot of potential but it just kind of fell short for me. *I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
*** This ARC was received from Entangled Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review*** I always love a story that pulls at the heart strings and this was definitely one of them. I love that they leave the full truth until the very end.
I did not expect to enjoy this book. Boy was I wrong. Anna has had a rough life. She grew up in a household where her father expected her to be the perfect child and do everything that he wants her to do, or rather not do. Nothing she did was ever good enough for her controlling father. So at the age of 13, she runs away from her family to New York City, where she dreams of singing on Broadway. Obviously, this doesn’t go as planned for her. Once she arrives in New York, she is wooed by Luis, who eventually starts pimping Anna out to his friends for sex, in exchange for money. This goes on for three years before Anna is brought in to the police and sent back to her parents. Once she’s back home, things are still horrible. Her father is ashamed of the things that Anna has done and only cares about how it will make him look if people find out what she did for the three years that she was missing. To make things worse, Anna’s mother refuses to stand up to her father, even though she knows that the way he is treating Anna is wrong. This book is all about overcoming your fears and just being honest with yourself and others. Anna can’t be happy with herself and move on until she has accepted the things that she has done in her past and come to terms with it. Once she does this, she feels a weight lifted off of her shoulders and can actually start to recover from what she has experienced. Anna also learns to stand up for herself to her father, and realize that even though he is her father, the way that he treats her and her mother is wrong and abusive. Along the way, Anna makes some great friends who are there for her no matter what, even when she thinks that they won’t want to be associated with her when they know the real truth about her. Anna even helps out someone who has never been nice to her, because she wants to help this girl regain control over her life and get out from underneath her controlling, blackmailing boyfriend. I give this book 5/5 stars.
There were so many facets to this book that left me with so many different emotions. Yet again I have read a book about a difficult subject. However difficult the subject may be, it is still an incredibly important one. One that I think Stacey Trombley did a good job of conveying. There were many parts of this book that disgusted me to read and parts that made me so angry, but I'm glad for those emotions because they reinforce how important this book is. This book follows Anna who is going back to her "normal" life after spending three years in NY as a prostitute. This book is about how she copes and deals with this "homecoming". And I loved how complex and intricate this story was. There was not just one aspect of this change that Anna had to cope with. There were so many different areas and obstacles that arose. While this is a shorter novel, it has so many important pieces to the story. This is truly a story about surviving and surviving in the face of adversity and I really appreciated that. I also really appreciated that there was not an emphasis on romance in this book. Yes there was a love-interest, but it was not a major aspect of the book at all. This book focused on the important part of Anna and her life and how she became a stronger and better person after what she had experienced. *I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*