Kirkus Reviews QR Code
DIRTY WORK by Julia Bell


by Julia Bell

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8027-9741-4
Publisher: Walker

The dirty work suggested in the title might be the sex acts abductors forced on teen girls, or perhaps the phrase alludes to the nasty business of prying the girls from their families. Hope Tasker, who is British, and Oksana Droski, who grew up in Russia, both are held captive by men eager for cash. They will be sold as sex slaves. Oksana mistakenly enters the sleazy business desperate to escape hunger and poverty. Her situation is contrasted by Hope, a kidnapped child of privilege who ruefully remembers friends gleefully allowing their thongs to peek out from low-cut jeans. Hope’s captors now demand a much more alluring sexiness than flirty glimpses of underwear. Much of the story’s background focuses on Oksana and the circumstances leading her to believe she’s hired for legitimate work. The lengthy descriptions of her early struggles become a letdown from the crackling violence that Bell promisingly offers in the first third of the story. Although this work lacks the quality of Patricia McCormick’s Sold (2006), it is a logical transition for teen fiction dealing with human trafficking. (Fiction. YA)