Review for “Dime” by E.R. Frank (2015)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This book is horrifying and heartbreaking. I was holding out on four stars, but this book is incredible. Five stars.
When the novel opens, Dime (we are never told her real name) is a 13-year-old girl living in a foster home in New Jersey with a guardian who drinks and physically abuses her. Her only true love is reading, which she quietly does whenever she has a moment in between caring for her foster siblings and fighting off the sexual advances of her foster brother. She walks the streets cold, sick, and hungry in the evenings until she meets another young girl who takes her home to meet her ‘boyfriend,’ a charismatic, smooth talking man named Daddy. Dime becomes enamored with Daddy, whom she soon discovers is a pimp. Dime resists the reality of her situation until she is told that in order to ‘earn’ Daddy’s love, she must bring him money and work the streets.
This book is gritty and raw. It spares no details of all of the ugly realities of human trafficking you’ve probably already seen on tv. Dime describes in vivid detail the particulars of being regularly beaten and raped, along with life on the street as a pimp’s ‘property,’ sex work in dirty hotels, degrading sexual acts requested by johns. It’s adult stuff, yet this book is completely appropriate for a YA audience. Although I cringed through most of the story because even though she only hints at times of what’s going on, I knew what was happening to this 13-year-old child. Dime manages to detach herself from the ugliness around her and never quits school (even though she’s encouraged to), never stops reading, and towards the end of the story, begins to see her way out of a life of prostitution.
I’m determined not to spoil this book for this review. However, I was definitely impressed with this novel. Dime is such a likeable girl that you can’t help but to root for her in the face of such insurmountable odds. It took me about 4 days to read this book and all through that time I could not help but to think about her and the thousands of girls just like her being held against their will.
This book is definitely a must-read. Get this book right away!