Jan 4, 2014

The Mall in Gullybrool (One on One Contest)


Dear Ms. Menon,

Your bio on the Writers Out World blog mentioned that you're looking for voice-driven contemporary YA that deals with darker themes as well as prevalent issues facing teens today. The Mall in Gullybrook is such a book. Although as realistic as Lucy Christopher's Stolen, Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl and Theresa Flores' The Slave Across the Street, it's told through three interconnecting viewpoints and with an uplifting aftertaste. The POV shifts ratchet up the tension while also providing breathing space.

During the course of a year, three strangers from upper class families living in the tony enclave of Gullybrook disappear. The local mall is their ingress into a sex trafficking industry they never knew existed. Overnight, they lose control of their bodies. The girls turn to drugs, mind games, and each other to cope.

There's Sissy. The 16-year-old junior from Sweethaven Academy who's nabbed when a friendly shopper leads her on a wild goose chase for the perfect Homecoming dress. Two months later, Candace, a freshman cheerleader at Gullybrook High disappears after a secret job interview. One year later, Megan, a sophomore at Lake Catholic High School is pinched trying to shoplift a present for her maybe girlfriend.

Through the violence, degradation, despair, and heartache, these girls find strength they didn't know they possessed to keep going. Fighting to endure, until they can find a way out of their sex prison. The Mall in Gullybrook is complete at 62,000 words.

I have consulted with human trafficking expert, Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, at The Ohio State University, to highlight lesser-known victims of human trafficking. These are girls from middle to upper class American families who never dreamed anything like this could ever happen to them...until it did. Dr. Meshelemiah wants to make The Mall in Gullybrook required reading for her classes. She currently teaches a MOOC (massive open online course) on human trafficking with 10,000 enrolled students this semester.

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