So let that sink in for just a second. And then let it sink in for just another second. Because while you’re letting it sink in, this is going on all around you. It’s everywhere – all over the world, yes – but it’s also right here in the United States. It’s here in your states and in your towns. And in the case of Stephanie Tillor, it was happening in her home.
The story in a nutshell? Seventeen-year-old Stephanie’s father Sam runs a prostitution ring – a big-time organization in which he trades young girls for money. He makes a fortune, too. He runs a website in which he posts pictures and videos. He’s managed to get the local cheerleading team wrapped up in his ring, and he’s even gotten his daughter so deep into it that she feels like she’ll never break out of it alive. It all started when she was twelve years old and she was traded to some local police officers so he wouldn’t get into some trouble. Since that time, Stephanie has been abused – verbally, physically, and emotionally by Sam – and traded to men for money.
Here’s the thing: Steph didn’t exactly realize that Sam was doing this to anyone else until she finds some pictures of some young girls in some compromising positions, some quite young. Steph knows that she needs to do something about this, but she has no idea what to do because she knows the local police aren’t going to do anything – they all visit her in the shed behind their house and pay Sam lots of money for that privilege. What do you do when local law enforcement is involved in breaking the law?
Lucky for Steph, she has a handful of people that she can trust. And while she doesn’t realize it, they’re working behind the scenes to find her a safe place, to change her life.
It’s difficult to keep talking about Every Shattered Thing without giving the entire story away because I want everyone to know there is hope for the girls in these situations…and boys and the women and whoever else might be stuck in them. I want everyone to know that there are places and organizations out there that can help people that are in situations like Stephanie. There are a couple that are mentioned in the story – Love146 is one of them, an international organization – but there are also organizations that help victims that are abused and exploited right here in the United States.
You guys, this stuff happens in our towns, in our neighborhoods. People just like us are being treated this way and stripped of their dignity, just like Steph was in this story. They feel hopeless and shamed and unworthy, and they feel that they have no place to go. In Steph’s case, people saw her bruises and they saw that something was wrong with her but they didn’t want to get involved SO THEY DIDN’T. It took the hard work and dedication of a few people to pull her out of the hell she was living in and to give her hope.
I can say that this was honestly one of the hardest books I’ve ever read, and I’m sure it was one of the hardest things Author Elora Ramirez has ever written. But I felt like I needed to read it to feel Steph’s heart, her feelings, her shame. It begins with an awareness that this is going on, and Elora Ramirez has given that to us with Every Shattered Thing. The next step is the help for people like Steph – so grateful for the characters like Emma, Jude, and Kevin because there are people like these guys in the world, fighting hard to get rid of the people like Sam.
I recommend Every Shattered Heart by Elora Ramirez for older-YA-and-above readers that enjoy YA/NA Contemporary stories with Issues. This one isn’t easy, you guys, but it is rewarding. Stephanie is a character that will stick with me for some time.
YA/NA Contemporary Romance with Issues
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