by Purcell, Kim

A 17-year-old Moldovan girl whose parents have been killed is brought to the United States to work as a slave for a family in Los Angeles. A debut novel.

Kim Purcell is a novelist, journalist, and teacher. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two daughters.

It's an irresistible proposal: 17-year-old Hannah will be given a fake Russian passport and transported from Moldova to Los Angeles, where she will make $400 a week as a nanny while taking English classes at night. But things in L.A. are quite different than she expected. The wealthy couple she works for, Sergey and Lillian, make her clean day and night and sleep in a sweltering garage, forbid her to go outside, and refuse to pay. Worse, the cruel Lillian is convinced that Sergey is trying to seduce Hannah. Trapped and alone with no language skills, Hannah's only bright spot is taking the trash out each night, where she hopes she'll get a glimpse of the friendly looking neighbor boy. Purcell's well-researched look into human trafficking has the slow pull of a dawning nightmare, and the simplest of events-say, a dinner party-are soaked with almost unbearable tension. Sergey and Lillian are not entirely good or evil, which puts readers in the same confused, helpless state as Hannah. Gritty, realistic, and eye-opening. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Before her parents died in a terrorist bombing, Hannah was an ordinary Moldovan teen, dreaming of becoming a doctor. Now she sells carrot salad in the market and watches her future recede while her peers plan for college. Offered a way out-false documents and a high-paying job as a nanny in California-Hannah accepts. Her terrifying journey nets her unpaid slavery as nanny and housekeeper in a house she's forbidden to leave. Her room is a windowless garage without privacy; her letters home are stolen. Smart yet naive, crushed yet resilient, nearly but not entirely powerless, Hannah grows attached to the children. But their mother abuses Hannah, and their father and his predatory associate stalk her. She finds some consolation watching the boy next door; he's her age, but they live in utterly different worlds. Hannah's world, in which men have the power and freedom to treat her body as their property, where any small kindness is expected to be returned in sexual currency, is chillingly credible and unflinchingly revealed. Halfway through this debut, a distracting, melodramatic subplot featuring complicated political intrigue is introduced, but Hannah herself, compelling and believable, keeps readers focused on her plight and that of other de facto slaves worldwide. After this, readers won't find them so easy to ignore: One could be the nanny next door. (author's note) (Fiction. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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