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When Anna Rodriguez is 13 years old, she feels as though her life can’t get any worse.  She lives with an abusive father and a mother who never stands up to him, and she feels suffocated by their harsh rules and unrealistic expectations.  Therefore, she decides to run away to her favorite place --- New York City.  She expects to be a star and live the life she has always dreamed of.  But when she gets there, she faces a completely different reality.

Homeless, helpless and alone, Anna is picked up by Luis.  Luis quickly becomes Anna’s boyfriend and eventually her pimp, selling her out to guys across the city and turning her life into a living nightmare.  Anna accepts this fate, believing in Luis’s love for her, until he tries to sell her to another pimp. She realizes she is nothing more than property to Luis, an object to be bought and sold.

Now Anna is 16 and just as lost as she was when she ran away three years ago.  Soon Sarah, a social worker, finds Anna and reunites her with her long-lost family.  But readjusting to normal life isn’t easy --- life at home is still shaky, and she is forced to attend high school, where rumors about who she really is multiply by the second.  Plus, she starts getting cruel notes in her locker from someone who knows about her dark past and is threatening to expose her to everyone.  With new friends and a possible new boyfriend in her life, Anna could lose her only chance at happiness if her secrets get out.

"[Anna’s] strength and courage against all odds will have readers rooting for her throughout the entire novel. "

Dark and powerfully written, NAKED does not shy away from sensitive topics, including abuse, prostitution and rape. Author Stacey Trombley writes about these topics with grace and compassion --- she reveals that the victims are never to blame and sometimes all anyone really needs is a fresh start and people to support them.  Trombley also uses humor and some lighter moments to show that there is always hope, but she never takes away from the seriousness or heartbreak of the topics she covers.  The entire book is beautifully written, and readers will be fully engrossed in the story from the first page.  While there are some slower spots in the plot, readers will enjoy the overall storyline, especially towards the end of the book when the pace is a little faster.

Audiences will also adore NAKED’s diverse cast of characters. Anna is a great protagonist --- she does not make excuses for her mistakes and she does everything she can to protect the people she loves.  Her strength and courage against all odds will have readers rooting for her throughout the entire novel.  Anna’s mother is also an interesting character.  Shy and obedient to her husband at first, she slowly begins to defy his wishes and question his actions, becoming the support system that Anna has always needed.  Trombley does a fantastic job of developing Anna’s mother as a character and readers will definitely enjoy watching her grow as a person.  Other fantastic characters include Anna’s new friends Jackson, Jen and Alex. Jackson provides a great contrast to Anna’s past and an even greater symbol of her hope for a better future. Alex and Jen are fun characters that readers will quickly grow to love as much as Anna does.  This group of characters will have fans asking for more from Trombley very soon.

Reviewed by Cheyenne C., Teen Board member on July 10, 2015

by Stacey Trombley