Before her parents died in a terrorist bombing, Hannah was an ordinary Moldovan teen, dreaming of becoming a doctor. Now she sells carrot salad in the market and watches her future recede while her peers plan for college.
Offered a way out—false documents and a high-paying job as a nanny in California—Hannah accepts. Her terrifying journey nets her unpaid slavery as nanny and housekeeper in a house she’s forbidden to leave. Her room is a windowless garage without privacy; her letters home are stolen. Smart yet naive, crushed yet resilient, nearly but not entirely powerless, Hannah grows attached to the children. But their mother abuses Hannah, and their father and his predatory associate stalk her. She finds some consolation watching the boy next door; he’s her age, but they live in utterly different worlds. Hannah’s world, in which men have the power and freedom to treat her body as their property, where any small kindness is expected to be returned in sexual currency, is chillingly credible and unflinchingly revealed. Halfway through this debut, a distracting, melodramatic subplot featuring complicated political intrigue is introduced, but Hannah herself, compelling and believable, keeps readers focused on her plight and that of other de facto slaves worldwide.
After this, readers won't find them so easy to ignore: One could be the nanny next door. (author’s note) (Fiction. 12 & up)