Dime is a heartbreaking and realistic portrayal of how easily kids with no support and no advocates can fall through the cracks of society. In 13-year-old Dime's case, she descends into a seemingly inescapable cycle of prostitution and violence. Dime is a tough read, to be sure. Author E.R. Frank doesn't sugarcoat the sad and hopeless lives of teenage prostitutes, but she manages to balance the grimness by creating deep, interesting, and compelling characters. Throughout most of the book, Dime tries to figure out a way to write a note that will explain her situation. In an homage to The Book Thief, she decides to write from the point of view of a motivator that people understand, trying at various times to write in the voice of Sex, Money, and Truth. This is a great device that gets readers to question how they view prostitution and what the real cost is -- to the people involved and the world at large. Dime drives home the absolute hopelessness of life for teen prostitutes, with no money of their own (the pimp keeps it), no ability to walk out the door unsupervised, no access to a phone, and rare contact with the outside world. Even the police aren't to be trusted, as is evidenced by one character's abuse at the hands of a cop. This is a strong answer to the questions many people ask about prostitutes, such as, "Why don't they just walk away?" or "Why don't they ask for help?"
The plot is straightforward, and the pace picks up at the end, when Dime faces a situation that makes her rethink her resignation to her new life. Because the book is so realistic, the violence, sex, and grim life of the prostitutes can be hard to take. The story gets almost unbearably sad as Dime's situation worsens and sex trafficking and child prostitution come into play. Author Frank even implores the reader to keep reading at the end of a few chapters. (For example, "I'm sorry to upset you with all of this, Truth would say. But please. Please keep reading.") A "Sources" section at the end has many resources for further reading and contact information for groups working on the issues of teen prostitution and sex trafficking. Even though Dime can be hard to take at times, it's a story that needs to be told and read.