I think what made me select Naked for review was that I was looking for something dark and real after having finished All the Rage by Courtney Summers. In All the Rage the subject matter was rape, and how society criminalizes the victims. Naked was about teenage runaway’s and teenage prostitution. You can’t get much more dark than either of them, honestly.
There was a lot that I liked about Naked. First, there was Anna’s reactions to cops and social workers, in the beginning. I’d like to think that the police brutality was exagerated, but sadly I don’t think it was. I also liked the perception of good people and bad people between Anna and Jackson. I really liked the internal dialogue that Anna had about her past. Anna felt as though she were broken, or tarnished, which wasn’t the truth but as the reader you understand that she would feel that way. You could rationalize the mistakes she made that caused her to hate herself.
I could also understand the pain she’d felt at home, the reason why she ran in the first place. Oh man, did I HATE her father. Every time he appeared in the story I wanted to spit. He was disgusting. The way he treated his daughter, the way he treated his wife… even the loathsome way he treated their guard dog. He was the epitome of Misogyny. He was the reason everyone in their family, including himself, was miserable. Running away is never the answer, but damn her life was pretty impossible before.
There were a few things about the story that I felt were unrealistic, things that gave the book a coating of shallowness. First, Anna’s parents want her to return to school, which I thought was stupid but the stupidity of Anna’s parents was never really in question. Fine, they want Anna to return to school. In school Anna is the rumor of a lot of vicious gossip, and it gets to her. I won’t lie, it’s hard. She feels used and like trash. She’s terrified that people will find out what she’s done. We never forget what Anna went through, however at the same time she works on the Homecoming float, she throws herself into art class, she falls in love… I’m just not so sure that someone who had lived 3 years as a 13-16 year old prostitute, who had been beaten and abused, that had lived in the dirtiest part of NYC on the streets, would even do that well re-acclimating to an upper-class high school. I am a firm believer that your experiences gives you your age, not a number of birthdays, and Anna should have been far older than her 16 years. I just can’t believe that she would fit in, even that much. I can’t believe that she would care about popular Marissa, having been through far worse than whether or not the ‘mean girl’ likes her.
But, who am I. I’m not 16. I’m not a runaway. I was never a hooker. I’m just a person who imagines, who tries to feel what these characters would feel.
All in all, Naked was really good. The author never forgot what the core of the story was, even while Anna was decorating the gym she worried and felt bad and struggled. Due to those struggles, we the readers felt all the fear and anxiety with Anna, and that’s what makes a book worth reading.
Thank you to Entangled Media and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
If you like this review, check out others like it atBadass Book Reviews.