By Patricia McCormick

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The powerful, poignant, bestselling National Book Award finalist gives voice to a young girl robbed of her childhood yet determined to find the strength to triumph.

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 by the co-author of I Am Malala (Young Readers Edition), this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.


  • National Book Award Finalist
    Publishers Weekly, Best 100 Books of the Year
    NPR’s Best Books of the Year
    American Library Association, Top Ten List, Best Books of the Year
    Gustav-Heinemann Peace Prize
    Booklist Editor’s Choice Award
    New York Public Library Best Books for Teens
    Children’s Literature Council’s Choice 
    Book Sense Pick

    *“Hard-hitting … poignant. The author beautifully balances the harshness of brothel life with the poignant relationships among its residents.” – Publishers Weekly starred review
  • *“An unforgettable account of sexual slavery as it exists now.”
    Booklist starred review
  • “The writing is breathtaking in both its simplicity and attention to detail … stunning … this novel is not to be missed.”
    Voice of Youth Advocates
  • “McCormick provides readers who live in safety and under protection of the law with a vivid window into a harsh and cruel world—one most would prefer to pretend doesn’t exist.”
  • “Heartbreaking … McCormick’s research for this novel involved interviewing women in Nepal and India, and her depth of detail makes the characters believable and their misery palpable. This important book was written in their honor.”
  • “McCormick uses language both lyrical and spare to lead the reader into this deeply troubled and troubling world …this is a story of courage, which is precisely what it takes to plant one’s literary work in unfamiliar soil.” 
    Children’s Literature
  • SOLD is a demanding at times painful book to read. These challenges, however, only serve to heighten the impact of the powerful and important novel that sheds light on a global crisis.”

On Sale
Apr 1, 2008
Page Count
272 pages