Review: Little Peach by Peggy Kern

Book Title: Little Peach
Author: Peggy Kern
Publish Date: March 10th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In the tradition of Patricia McCormick and Ellen Hopkins comes this powerful novel, the riveting story of a runaway who is lured into prostitution by a manipulative pimp.

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 what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution where he becomes her “Daddy” and she his “Little Peach.” It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition. 

This hauntingly vivid story illustrates the human spirit’s indomitable search for home, and one girl’s struggle to survive.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Balzer & Bray via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest opinion.

This book left me emotionally spent, curled up in the fetal position sobbing my eyeballs out. My heart ached for Michelle, Kat and Baby, all three of them had no where to go, no one to turn to. All they had was Devon.The world of prostitution is such a sad world, but it’s often the only world these girls will ever know and that realization is hard. Unfortunately the world of prostitution is very real in all parts of the world. 

I had studied it a little bit in college, but Little Peach took me into the harrowing, terrifying world of prostitution through the eyes of 14 year old Michelle, twelve year old Baby and Kat, whose age we never learn. The girls are given drugs to relax them as they meet “tricks” in hotel rooms. When the tricks get too rough, Devon and the rest of his boys come charging in to the room to rescue the girls. 

Despite everything he makes her do, Michelle still feels a sense of loyalty to him. After all, he’s taking care of her better than anyone else ever has. Or at least that’s how Michelle feels early on.

It isn’t until the book is almost over that Michelle realizes how dangerous this world is. Girls get killed for trying to run away, to get out of this life. When girls run away from their pimps, they’re seen as disloyal and their lives are often cut short very soon after they betray their pimps.

I think this book is extremely important. It’s raw, emotional and hauntingly beautiful. It delivers a very accurate account of how pimps and their girls are. It doesn’t shy away from the scary stuff. It’s blunt and heartbreaking. It’s not a story for everyone and in fact it is very dark, but since I love dark contemporaries, it really worked for me. I loved this book and it’s getting 5 stars. Everyone should read this book.

Review: Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir

Book Title: Bleed Like Me
Author: Christa Desir
Publish Date: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
From the author of Fault Line comes an edgy and heartbreaking novel about two self-destructive teens in a Sid and Nancy-like romance full of passion, chaos, and dyed hair.

Seventeen-year-old Amelia Gannon (just “Gannon” to her friends) is invisible to almost everyone in her life. To her parents, to her teachers-even her best friend, who is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding. Some days the only way Gannon knows she is real is by carving bloody lines into the flesh of her stomach.

Then she meets Michael Brooks, and for the first time, she feels like she is being seen to the core of her being. Obnoxious, controlling, damaged, and addictive, he inserts himself into her life until all her scars are exposed. Each moment together is a passionate, painful relief.

But as the relationship deepens, Gannon starts to feel as if she’s standing at the foot of a dam about to burst. She’s given up everything and everyone in her life for him, but somehow nothing is enough for Brooks-until he poses the ultimate test.

Bleed Like Me is a piercing, intimate portrayal of the danger of a love so obsessive it becomes its own biggest threat.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. 

Trigger Warning: Self Harm.

Oh boy, I think this review will be on the long side because I have a lot to say. I just love the way Desir tells the stories. She writes stories that most authors would never write. She’s got the guts to write the tough stories and the stories that not everyone will like. She goes for it and goes for it hard.
Michael Brooks and Amelia Gannon are not characters that you’re gonna like a whole lot. This isn’t a sweet, romantic love story, Desir doesn’t write those. What she does write are thought provoking, complicated stories that leave your thoughts conflicted. 
Brooks has his own demons. He’s got a father he’s terrified of. He’s been abused by his father and he’s been in foster care for a very long time. Nothing is really “his” anymore. He’s been in juvenile hall and he’s done drugs. Not the kind of guy any reasonable parent would want around their daughter.
That is, if they are even present in their daughter’s life. Gannon’s got more of a “typical” family. Things were great for so long when she was a child. All that changed when her parents adopted three boys from Guatemala. These boys have so many issues of their own, that Gannon has been pushed to the back burner since they arrived.
And that’s when she started the cutting.
There was so many times in this book that I wanted to shake Gannon. Brooks was controlling, he was abusive and he got her into so many things that she had never been into before. Breaking and entering, drugs like Ecstasy. Things only got worse as the book went on and Brooks wanted to know who she talked to, why she talked to them. He also kept telling her that he was all who mattered. Her parents didn’t matter, her best friend Ali didn’t matter. It was hard for me to like her. She was making all the wrong choices and at one point, after I had screamed in frustration, it hit me. 
Relationships like this are so prevalent, particularly among teenagers. I have never experienced one myself, but I know a couple of girls who had experienced this when we were all in high school together. Just because it wasn’t something that I had personally experienced, did not mean that it wasn’t an important book.
The ending was incredibly intense. I had to put my Kindle down and actually physically walk away from this book because the ending was so intense. I do wish there had been a little more in the epilogue. I wanted just a little bit more closure. 
I can’t really say that I enjoyed this book, because a book like this, you can’t really enjoy, but I will say that it was an incredibly important book that needs to be required reading in high school. It’s not just girls who fall victim to controlling & abusive partners. Guys do too. 4 stars to this book. I’ll read anything this woman writes.