Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC from publisher for honest review
As a teen girl in Newark, New Jersey, lost in the foster care system, Dime just wants someone to care about her, to love her. A family. And that is exactly what she gets-a daddy and two "wifeys." So what if she has to go out and earn some coins to keep her place? It seems a fair enough exchange for love.
Dime never meant to become a prostitute. It happened so gradually, she pretty much didn't realize it was happening until it was too late.
But when a new "wifey" joins the family and Dime finds out that Daddy doesn't love her the way she thought he did, will Dime have the strength to leave? And will Daddy let her?
Dime was a very tough read. It’s about the terrible world of sex-trafficking and in it we follow the life of 13 year old Dime who just wants to fit and be loved. She grew up in foster care with other young kids with whom she was partially responsible for. Going to school, getting medicine, taking care of babies and trying to keep men’s hands off her was all that Dime ever did. She’s uncomfortable with the older foster boys’ advances on her, not to mention Janelle’s men that come and go but this is what Dime has come to expect and knows when things get out of hand she is to blend into the background and be unseen and unheard.
For all of Dimes short life she has wanted to feel loved, and when she escapes one night to the street after a bad night at Janelles and gets handed a winter jacket and offered a place to stay another night she thinks life is starting to look up. Daddy, the man who offers her a place to stay doesn’t seem too bad. He gives her a place to sleep, and food to eat and he shows Dime enough love that she starts to feel special. Dime goes back to the foster home one day because she can’t pull her weight and provide money to live with Daddy anymore. Once back here, she feels the hole that she believes Daddy filled with his love, and food and shelter. She goes back to him, and says she will do whatever is needed to earn her keep. This is when the poor young girl becomes a prostitute, and things go so far downhill that she can’t pick herself up.
Dime is told in her perspective and told through letters that Dime is trying to write. The letters being the one thing that Dime hopes someone will see and do the right thing to save these poor girls. It’s not just Dime involved, it’s Daddy’s other “wifeys” and the many others that Dime sees through her journey to get the prize that Daddy keeps talking about. As I said before, Dime is a hard read. Lollipop, an 11 year old brought into this way of life by Uncle Ray is when I had the hardest time with this novel. It made me cry to be honest when they introduced her.
It’s brutally honest, viciously terrifying, and extremely disturbing at times. The letters written by Dime, as told in the narrative of Lollipop, Sex, Money and Truth will open your eyes to a world that you might have turned away from. The plea for help is heart wrenching.
This novel is a work of fiction but E.R. Frank made it a work of dark, deeply disturbing, extreme sadness and it's a reality for some, and she did it well. She makes the reader realize the ugly truth behind human trafficking. And sometimes the truth is enough. Being aware and knowing the truth can save a life.