Synopses & Reviews
Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school, and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family's crops, Lakshmi's stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family.
He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at "Happiness House" full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution.
An old woman named Mumtaz rules the brothel with cruelty and cunning. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family's debt-then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave.
Lakshmi's life becomes a nightmare from which she cannot escape. Still, she lives by her mother's words-Simply to endure is to triumph-and gradually, she forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision-will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life?
Written in spare and evocative vignettes, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.
"Readers will be caught by the contemporary story of prejudice, both unspoken and violent, as tension builds to the climax."--Booklist
"A moving novel that explores finding the worth of an individual as they see themselves, not as the world sees them."--VOYA
"A riveting snapshot of one Tanzanian boy who makes himself matter."--starred Kirkus
“Readers will be haunted by Habos voice as he seeks a place of dignity and respect in society. An important and affecting story.”—starred School Library Journal
“Harrowing but ultimately redemptive…t
he murder of Tanzania's albinos is a real and horrific phenomenon of the past 15 years, a cold fact that makes the fictional events in ‘Golden Boy more moving and consequential than those in any dystopian young-adult chase-drama.” -The Wall Street Journal
"Golden Boy is an amazing story of prejudice, bravery and acceptance. From the very first page, I was captivated by Habo and his struggle to find his place in the world."--Kristin Levine, critically acclaimed author of The Lions of Little Rock and The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had
"A commandingly written debut, Golden Boy is a moving, gorgeous account of what it means to feel profoundly different when the stakes are survival itself."--Eliot Schrefer, author of National Book Award Finalist Endangered
"Through the course of the story Habo grows from a dependent character to one who is strong enough to defend himself and others against injustice. Well-written and researched..."--LMC
Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different--light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists. Habo is strange and alone. His father, unable to accept Habo, abandons the family; his mother can scarcely look at him. His brothers are cruel and the other children never invite him to play. Only his sister Asu loves him well. But even Asu can't take the sting away when the family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, and Habo knows he is to blame.
Seeking refuge in Mwanza, Habo and his family journey across the Serengeti. His aunt is glad to open her home until she sees Habo for the first time, and then she is only afraid. Suddenly, Habo has a new word for himself: Albino. But they hunt Albinos in Mwanza because Albino body parts are thought to bring good luck. And soon Habo is being hunted by a fearsome man with a machete. To survive, Habo must not only run, but find a way to love and accept himself.
About the Author
To research Sold
, Patricia McCormick traveled to India and Nepal where she interviewed the women of Calcutta's red-light district and girls who have been rescued from the sex trade. She is also the author of the acclaimed novels Cut
and My Brother's Keeper