About the book (from the back cover): Every two minutes, evil strips innocence from a child and sells her into slavery for sex. Not in a third-world country, but in the United States of America. Before you take another breath, the next victim will be tricked or taken from her family by a profit-hungry criminal.
At fourteen, Hope Ellis is the all-American girl with a good life—until the day she tries to help her mom with their cross-town move by supervising the movers. When they finish, one of the men returns to the house and rapes her. held silent by his threats, darkness begins to engulf her. But the rape proves to be the least of Hope's troubles In a gasping attempt at normalcy, she succumbs to the attention of a smooth-talking man on the subway. he promises acceptance. he declares his love. He lures her out from under the shelter of her suburban life.
Hope's disappearance sets a community in motion. She's one of their own. they determine to find Hope, whatever the cost, before she's lost forever. My take: Rescuing Hope is a powerful story because it reminds us that human trafficking and sex slavery aren't only happening in Thailand, India, and Russia—they're happening in our own cities. And the girls who are trapped in this life aren't only drug addicts, runaways, or immigrants—they could be girls you've met in your day-to-day life. Cheerleaders. Youth group members. Grocery store employees.
I would say that I'm more educated about human trafficking than the average person. But still, I almost solely think about it happening to people from other (often third-world) countries. (I haven't been naive enough to believe that the sex-for-money industry isn't thriving in America, but never once did I imagine that a girl caught in this life would be someone like Hope.) Rescuing Hope powerfully describes how a girl might end up a sex slave ... a girl just like the one you might meet next door. It's not an easy book to read, but it is important.
The writing in Rescuing Hope isn't as polished as it is in most of the books that I read, but I was quickly able to get past any of that as I became entirely absorbed in the story. I ended up reading far too late into the night to find out what would happen to both Hope and her pimp. And while the ending didn't wrap everything up into a neat bow, it was satisfying ... and, I daresay, realistic. And on that note, I have to mention that while Rescuing Hope is classified as a Young Adult novel, I wouldn't want many of the teens I know to read this book. It's graphic. It has rough language. It deals with a disgusting topic. So while adults should read it, I'd classify it as appropriate for ages 17 and up.
That said, I highly recommend reading Rescuing Hope. Educate yourself. And then figure out how you can get involved. As William Wilberforce said long ago, "Having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say that you did not know." 4 stars.
About the author: A powerful voice for hope, international speaker Susan Norris helps teens and women find freedom from strongholds in the areas of purity and spiritual identity. Up until a few short years ago, she denied that writing would ever be something she would pull out of her bag of tools. But she started to blog, and her opportunities expanded.
As she opened herself to relationships outside her normal sphere, God began to reveal stories of girls as young as nine years old trafficked for sex in her own quiet suburb outside Atlanta. Shocked and heartbroken, Susan set out on a quest to protect them. In her debut novel, Rescuing Hope, she frames the realities of sex trafficking in our neighborhoods, our cities, our America.
Known to many as Mama Susan, this woman of boldness spent countless hours with survivors, their families, detectives and a former pimp, emerging a voice for victims and a catalyst for action among her peers. One ministry director offered an early review of the book: “Susan made me feel such a deep connection to Hope, I now carry her in my heart. She is the face of the girls I am fighting for.
Susan raises her voice on behalf of all the “Hopes” across our nation and champions the cause of organizations such as Resolution Hope, Not for Sale, and Out of Darkness. She lobbies for stronger laws to protect victims, walks alongside rescued girls as they piece together shattered lives and invites all she speaks with to join her in the fight for freedom.
A CLASS certified speaker, Susan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Master’s of Education, taught in public and private schools and served as a leader for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes before being called to full time ministry. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and children and considers them to be her highest calling.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Glass Road Media & Management. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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