Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Blog Tour and Review: Naked by Stacey Trombley

Title: Naked
Author: Stacey Trombley
Release Date: 07/07/15
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
A teenage prostitute looking for redemption must face her secrets before they destroy her…

When tough teenager Anna ran away to New York, she never knew how bad things would get. After surviving as a prostitute, a terrifying incident leaves her damaged inside and out, and she returns home to the parents she was sure wouldn't want her anymore.

Now she has a chance to be normal again. Back in school, she meets a boy who seems too good to be true. Cute, kind, trusting. But what will he do when he finds out the truth about her past? And when a dark figure from New York comes looking for Anna, she realizes she must face her secrets…before they destroy her.

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My Review!
I have to say, this is a pretty edgy story for a YA novel. Not that that’s a bad thing, not at all. In fact, I liked that it pushed the envelope, that it brought into play something that you never think about in relation to a teenager. Prostitution. A young girl thrown into a dangerous world, who falls in love with the wrong guy and is pressured into having sex with men for money. It’s horrible to think about, something that you never want to know or even understand. But it happens, unfortunately. You just don’t hear about it as often. And that’s why I think Naked is amazing. Because it doesn’t shy away from the dark truth of it all.

Anna was thirteen when she ran away to New York City, an innocent little girl who traveled to a city she thought would make her dreams come true. Her future was bright, until it was stolen. Her hopes, her dreams, her light. They were all taken from her. And for three years, prostitution is her life. She lived a nightmare disguised as love with a man who threw her away as if she never mattered at all.  And when she gets caught by the police, she’s found by a social worker who wants to send her home. But home holds its own pain, and the past she tried so hard to forget. I found Anna to be incredibly strong. Her voice drew me into her story and wouldn’t let me go. Through everything that happens, she remains stoic, even when she’s dying inside. She comes home bruised and bleeding, but not broken. I loved watching her grow, loved that she found her way out of the dark and into the light. The past three years, and her first love, still have a strong hold on her, but she finally recognizes Luis for what he is, and recognizes herself for what she isn’t. She’s not a thing that can easily be discarded. She’s a person; she’s valuable. She’s human. She has nothing to apologize for. Her parents failed her, and she lost herself. But she’s finding her way back, slowly but surely.

And she has the help of Jackson, the cute boy who finds her mysterious and intriguing and someone he wants to know. I loved how the sweet romance between them didn’t become the focus, nor the sole reason Anna figures out what was so wrong about her life in New York, and her relationship with Luis. But he becomes a friend, someone she can lean on for support and encouragement. He doesn’t care about the high school gossip and rumors, nor does it matter to him when he finds out that they’re real. Because he sees the real Anna, the one who still dreamed and hoped. Anna never really had innocence, or a childhood. She was having sex at thirteen, long before New York. But with Jackson, she starts to feel cared for and valued. Not for her body, but for her. He showed her what loving someone really meant.

Jackson is not the only secondary character I loved. I also adored Sarah, the social worker who brought Anna home. She becomes a confidant to Anna, and someone she can turn to when she feels that no one else is listening to her, aka her father. Her dad was a real piece of work. I really disliked the fact that he blamed Anna for everything, and he pushed her to ignore all that had happened and just sweep it under the rug (talk about victim blaming and also talk about being exactly what made her want to run away in the first place). He never changed, and I was happy with what happened in regards to him. Though, I am a little still mad with her mother. Her mother WAS scared of going against Anna’s father, but I wish she’d done more for her daughter. The dynamic between her and Anna was interesting. They didn’t have the strongest relationship, but they had a connection.

The plot was really all about Anna, and her starting her life over. It was about her picking up the pieces of her shattered past and moving on, even though it took a long time for her to realize she was MORE than a prostitute. More than Dirty Anna. More than a girl who sold her body for money. That didn’t define her, and neither did the man who took advantage of a wide-eyed, innocent little girl who came to New York with dreams. He snatched them away, but she took them back. She took back her power, and her life. And THAT was a beautiful thing to read. I do want to add that I felt the drama with her old client was a little much, and it felt too easy that everyone, but especially Jackson, found out about her past because of it. However, it did really push Anna into gear in regards to Luis, and how she didn’t deserve to be defined by her past.
Naked was a wonderful contemporary that really forces you to think about prostitution, and what it does to people, especially young women. The way it was talked about, and how Anna processed it all, was really well-written. And, I thought, realistic to the story-line (even though sometimes it made me ragey with the meanness of high school and her father’s victim blaming). But what I loved most about this was the main character’s journey of taking back her life and learning what love really means.


About the Author
Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list. 

She wants to bring something new to the world through her writing, but just giving a little piece of herself is more than enough. 

Keep a look out for her debut novel NAKED, coming from Entangled Teen in 2015

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  1. Can I add this to the list of books you recommend to me? That'll help motivate me to get to this one and I really do want to read this book. This looks like my type of read. I love a great, dark contemporary. I like how this one focuses on the AFTER--I'm not sure if I've read that yet. I've read YA books with focuses on prostitution, but they took place before/during the time the characters are a part of it.

    Great review, Holly!

    1. YES, YES YOU CAN. I love dark contemporaries too. Oh, you've read YA books that focus on prostitution? what? GIMME THOSE RECS I NEED TO READ THEM.

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