Dime (which is not her real name), has lived in foster care her entire life. When her longtime foster mother starts drinking and popping pills, Dime finds herself out on the streets at only 13. That seems gnarly enough.
But when she is taken in by a kind-seeming girl and her boyfriend, things very quickly get far, far worse. The “boyfriend” is kind, and sweet to Dime at first, but only long enough to manipulate her teenaged infatuation with him, the safe, taken-care of feeling she was missing from her life before, into getting her to begin selling her body for money, supposedly to help him pay the rent. In reality, the man who asks Dime to call him “Daddy” is a pimp, and Dime just one of his collection of girls. Shamed into thinking that she is broken and tainted now, and will never be wanted or taken care of by anyone else, and surrounded in a web of lies, Dime is trapped.
And things just keep getting worse.
This story was so difficult to read, and yet I couldn’t tear myself away. Author E.R. Frank does a remarkable job of creating the voice of this naive young girl who just wants to be safe and loved, and writes about the subject of human trafficking, child prostitution, and abuse in a way that humanizes the victims and gives a window into how these horrible atrocities can happen in our society. Dime is not a novel for young teens or the faint of heart, but it is an amazing and well-written story that will keep you reading despite your horror.