Barbed-Wire Butterflies by Jessica Kristie is about thirteen year old Elani who finds herself kidnapped and forced to work in a sweatshop as part of an underground human trafficking ring. She sees the hopelessness of her fellow prisoners and vows to not end up a zombie of herself. Through her determination and the help of a kind ex-military worker who is fed up with the system he's contributed to, Elani is able to hold onto her strength and hope. She is able to not only escape from the high-security hell, but brings justice to her friends still trapped inside.
I liked the story; as much as you can like a story about slavery. The characters were well formed and the storyline plausible. The flashback chapters that told about the girls past lives was great. Nothing in the story felt drawn out or rushed. I was able to relate to Elani as she worried more about the other girls than herself and cheered with every show of courage she made.
But the writing ruined it for me. The word choice was frequently awkward, and several sentences were just confusing or clumsy. So much of the dialogue was unrealistic. The author was using dialogue to convey information about trafficking and to set the facts of the story, but it ended up being stilted and fake. I think my biggest pet peeve, though, was that 90% of the time "where" was used as "were". Hoping I just got an unfinished proof, not the final copy!
At the end of the day, I give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars. I really wanted to love this book. The story was pretty good, and I did wonder what was going to happen next, but the writing needs work.
*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*