Shyima Hall was born in Egypt, a middle child in a very large, very poor family. Her parents sold her into slavery to repay her sister's debt. She worked for a rich family for several years, even moving with them to the United States when they sold their house in Egypt. She only has time to eat one meal a day, never goes to school, and sleeps about four hours a night. Eventually someone calls Child Protective Services, which leads to Shyima's rescue and the incarceration of her captors.
I wanted to give this book a full five stars because this is a topic that is too-rarely addressed, but Shyima's retelling of the five years she spent as a child slave and her recovery afterward was just too clinical and detached. The writing was very dry, and I found myself skimming much of the last third of the book, just so I could be done. This book certainly fills a niche in juvenile/young adult literature, but it would be great if it were more readable.
Recommended for: young adults, tweens
Red Flags: Shyima is slapped and called stupid; she briefly mentions childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her brother, but it isn't graphic or explicit
Overall Rating: 3/5 stars