I'm pleased to introduce you to my new book, FIFTEEN LANES, which is now available. It's the story of two girls whose narratives are drawn from my experiences working with sex workers' daughters in Mumbai, India, as well as the many years I've counselled young people in international schools.
You may find the lives of the brothel-raised children hard to read about but acknowledging and understanding their lives is the first step to helping them. Growing up in a brothel is difficult, fraught with hardship and danger, yet the girls I came to know were optimistic and determined to forge a better future for themselves and their families. One of the first things every girl told me, when I asked about her goals, was that she wanted to get a job outside of the red-light district so she could rescue her mother. Working with these girls was inspiring but also heartbreaking; not every girl made it out. FIFTEEN LANES reflects that reality.
Here's what early reviewers have to say:
“Noor’s strength and determination are inspiring, while her dramatic rescue is realistically shaded with true loss: few others are saved…. This heartbreaking and hopeful novel will appeal to readers of gripping contemporary stories….”
- Starred Review, Booklist
“Laidlaw brings Kamathipura, a poor neighborhood in Mumbai, to life with her detailed prose. The author handles the delicate subject matter with care, balancing the desperate living conditions with glimpses of Noor's joys and aspirations.”
- Kirkus Reviews
“Readers will love the complexity and authenticity of this story…. The protagonists’ voices make the story believable and unputdownable…. There is no easy happy ending for the girls, but their story shows the strength and beauty of the human spirit in a way that young adults will appreciate.”
- School Library Journal
The setting is an on-the-ground view of Kamathipura, chilling in its authenticity…. This is not an easy novel to read, but it’s an important one…. Kudos to Laidlaw for capturing the essence of Mumbai’s underbelly with such empathy and accuracy. Fifteen Lanes showcases the strength of the human spirit in the most adverse of circumstances.”
- Quill & Quire