Trafficked was an interesting book. I really wanted to love it, but unfortunately it came up short for me. I do praise the author for writing a modern-day YA novel about human trafficking, though- it's a real problem that occurs all over the world, but I don't think everyone knows a lot about it. Especially not teenagers who, arguably, should be one of the groups MOST informed. It's really sad how situations like the one presented in this novel can go unnoticed and I wish there were more YA books about it, to at least raise awareness. If nothing else, I think Trafficked is a good educational tool. Before reading it, I did know some information about human trafficking. But, the plot still brought in different factors that I never realized could play into it. It also shed some light on the idea of modern-day slavery, rather than just the forced prostitution side, which is what I tend to hear about more often. It did a good job of showing the various different ways someone can be affected by trafficking.
But honestly, I still cannot say that I enjoyed the book. It was really slow paced and, despite being nearly 400 pages long, not much even happened. Hannah arrived at the house, cleaned, was threatened, and... cleaned some more. The ending was exciting, but nothing happened until the last 100 pages. Actually, that was when she finally started talking to the guy. There wasn't much action until the last 40 pages or so. And then it just ended. I guess what irritated me the most was that the summary on the inside jacket was incredibly misleading. I believed the book would be a lot more gritty, violent, and overall exciting. The subject matter is so dark and awful that I was hoping for a book that could represent that well- or at least, as realistically as it could in the young adult genre. The things that happened to Hannah WERE bad, but not to the extent that I was expecting. Also, the summary on GoodReads doesn't seem to do this, but the physical book's description really lead the reader to believe that Hannah would be forced into prostitution. I don't mind that it never happened, but it just left me confused, when Hannah was still at the house 2/3 of the way in. I kept assuming that the plot would pick up once Hannah was taken from the Platonovs. But that never happened, so it only made the book drag out longer for me.
I think the lack of action was supposed to be compensated for by the mystery subplot that weaved its way into the story. Essentially, while Hannah is working with this new family, she finds out that they're more connected to her deceased parents than she realized. I actually figured out the mystery pretty early and even if I hadn't, it still would not have interested me. This is because we never learned about Hannah's family much to begin with, so I didn't care at all about how these strangers knew them or what secrets they were keeping from Hannah. All of the plot twists were predictable for me, actually. Things would be revealed to Hannah and the author made it seem like they were such a surprise, when I had guessed them seventy-five pages beforehand. It just bored me even more.
Don't get me wrong, there were a few good things in Trafficked. I really liked the minor characters- Maggie, Collin, etc. Lillian was crazy and while I hated her, she played a good villain to bring at least an ounce of excitement to the story. I did think that the whole subplot with the creepy husband and Hannah was kind of random, but whatever. It sort of made sense, to show how victims can be preyed upon by people that appear to be friendly, but I still thought it was out of place. And speaking of Hannah, I never liked her character, either. I felt sympathetic towards her, but I thought she was far too naive. She wasn't stupid, so she should have caught on to some of the cruelties earlier. And then she never did much to help herself- I saw a few opportunities she could have taken to get out, but she didn't. Instead, she found the worst moments possible to stand up for herself and try to fight back, which really only made things worse. It frustrated me.
In the end, Trafficked wasn't horrible. It just didn't do it for me, so I figured I'd write a review to contrast with a lot of the positive opinions on here. I think people that are interested in the subject matter might like it and it could be a good book to give a young teenager- it's definitely not too explicit. There are a couple iffy scenes, but nothing I don't think an 8th grader couldn't handle. I'd just make sure that if you do read it, you know what you're getting into beforehand. It's slow and predictable, but it still has a couple good moments. The writing itself was good. I just wish the novel had a stronger impact, to go with it's strong subject. So, read it if you want. It's a lighter start into a deep subject, which might appeal to some. I'd just advise to borrow it from a library. And don't get your hopes up too high.