Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pamela Samuels Young's Anybody's Daughter ~ Reviewed

  • Anybody's Daughter
  • Pamela Samuels Young
  • ISBN-13: 9780989293501
  • Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/30/2013
  • Pages: 374

Back Cover:

Thirteen-year-old Brianna Walker is ecstatic. She's about to sneak off to meet her first real boyfriend—a boyfriend she met on Facebook. But Brianna is in for a horrifying surprise because her boyfriend doesn't exist. Instead, Brianna unwittingly becomes the captive of a ring of drug dealers- turned-human traffickers who prey on lonely girls from dysfunctional homes. But they’ve made a big mistake in targeting Brianna because she doesn’t meet either of those criteria. 

Brianna’s Uncle Dre, a man with his own criminal past, is determined to find the niece who is more like a daughter to him. Rather than sit back and rely on police to bring Brianna home, Dre scours the dark corners of Los Angeles looking for her. He is stunned to learn that the trafficking of children isn’t just happening in other countries. It’s occurring at epidemic levels right in his own backyard. 
Dre is not alone in his desperate search. Loretha Johnson knows this world well. A social worker who previously lived “the life,” Loretha now dedicates her time to saving as many young girls as she can find. She turns out to be an invaluable resource for Dre, who ultimately gets a lead on The Shepherd, a mastermind in the trafficking world whose every move is fueled by ego and greed. Dre vows to bring his reign of terror to an end. 

While Brianna makes a futile effort to thwart her captors, Dre is getting closer and closer to finding her. The woman he loves, attorney Angela Evans, knows the dangers faced by sexually exploited children because she represents them in juvenile court. Angela lends her moral support and, eventually, an important clue to Brianna’s whereabouts. 

As he races against the clock, Dre ultimately comes up with a daring plan—one that puts many lives in danger, including his own. But will he find Brianna before it's too late?


Starring a cast of flesh-and-blood characters, Pamela Samuels Young’s Anybody’s Daughter deals with the world of human trafficking and its affect on the people it touches. Each character responds uniquely, providing a realistic space that the reader can access. I personally identified most closely with Brianna, the kidnapped victim, and Loretha, the ex-prostitute. Both characters are fighters who refuse to give up on what appears to be a hopeless situation. However, the story is also told from the point of view of Dre, Brianna’s ex-con uncle, Angela, a defense attorney for exploited girls, and even the criminals kidnapping and pimping teenage girls.

I found this story to be refreshingly real and important. Young brings a vast social problem to light in a way that both educates the reader and gets them invested in finding a solution. Right off the bat, I liked and cared for Brianna. I wanted her to be rescued. However, as other victims were introduced, each of their stories saddened me. These girls come from broken homes and lives of abuse, only to be caught in a situation that they are tricked into believing is better. Through each character’s experience, Anybody’s Daughter shows just how vast the stream of victims is.

Young also shows how insignificant those working against this exploitation feel. Loretha only has fourteen beds to offer girls trying to escape the life. Angela puts away pimp after pimp, only to see them back on the streets in less than a year with a whole new crop of victims. Young does an amazing job of illustrating how enormous the problem is and what it will take to make a difference.

In the back of Anybody’s Daughter, readers will find a list of organizations that need both volunteers and financial support. With her novel, Young challenges readers to be a part of the solution; after all, Brianna, Carmen, Peaches, and each of the other human trafficking victims could be anybody’s daughter.

Reviewed by: Shea Nolan

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