Little Peach by Peggy Kern
Genres: Young Adult Contemporary
Publication Date: March 10th 2015
ARC Provided by Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss
Christal’s Review – 4 Skulls – B
Little Peach is a very short yet powerful read. It is also a difficult one to review because of its harsh subject matter. I can’t say that it was a read that I enjoyed, but I do think it is an important one. Michelle represents the unnamed, faceless girls that are overlooked and abused every day. Peggy Kern does not hold back on Michelle’s story. It is real and heavy and will make your heart break for the girls involved. It is an unflinching descent into child prostitution and how some people are forced to do things they hate just to survive.
Michelle is from a single-parent home where her mother is a drug addict. Her grandfather watches over and loves her, but he passes away when she is fourteen. After his death, things turn really ugly in the house and her mother tells her she has to leave. Michelle scrounges up all the money she can and buys a one-way ticket to New York in search of her friend. When she gets there, she realizes she has no idea what to do and that she has no one to rely on. She meets a young man named Devon who woos her in with the promise of food, shelter, and a family. What she doesn’t realize is that he is involved with prostitution and all of his girls are forced to turn tricks. Feeling like she has no way out and nowhere left to go, Michelle stays with Devon and finds herself rechristened Devon’s Peach. Devon keeps the girls in line with promises of saving up money to buy a house and get them all out of the life.
At Devon’s, Michelle meets the other girls — Kat, the fierce older girl that gives Michelle the lay of the land, and Baby, the sweet twelve-year-old who often acts very young for her age. It was bad enough knowing Michelle is only fourteen, but even worse knowing little Baby is forced into it as well. All three of the girls were well-defined for such a short read and each hard terrifying stories that made it easy to understand how they could fall into this life. Baby’s story, though, is definitely the most heart-wrenching; she’s so young and already so broken that she sleeps away as much of the day as she can. Kat, Baby, and Peach had some good times together when they were off the clock, but they always knew it couldn’t last. Every night they would have to put on their seductive personas and go work the johns with a little help from the Oxy pills Devon was always supplying.
At first, Michelle thinks she has found a safe haven with Devon. He protects and cares for her, the girls feel like they could be her sisters, and all of Devon’s guys — who we learn are Bloods — would kill to protect her. Soon, though, she starts to realize how wrong her life has become and she even likens it to pieces of herself leaking out. She sees the cold, flat eyes that Kat and Baby have when they go to work and how drug addled all the men that come to them are. She sees the harshness of the world around her and realizes the real Devon is not so nice. She doesn’t have much of a choice, but she knows she has to get out.
Little Peach is definitely not a fluff read and not one I would recommend for the faint of heart. Though it isn’t overly detailed, readers with triggers for rape, drug addiction, violence, and child prostitution should probably stay away. I do have to say that this story is one that needs to be heard though. This happens every day in our society and it goes unnoticed by most of us. Even though Michelle’s story is fiction, there are thousands of young girls out there just like her. Young girls that are alone, scared, and taken advantage of. There often isn’t a happy ending for these girls, but the very least we all can do is be aware of their stories and the prevalence of sex trafficking going on right here in our country.
If you would like to become involved with helping girls and women in these situations, check out the GEMS website for ways to join the fight.
Thank you to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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