A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Walled City is an intense thriller set in a fictional slum based on Hong Kong's Kowloon district. It presents a detailed depiction of life in a crowded slum where orphaned children become gang members, vicious criminals run the drug and human trafficking trades, and young girls are forced into sexual slavery. There are many violent scenes involving gun and knife fights, sexual assault, injections with heroin, and the amputation of a cat's tail. There's strong language ("bastard," "bitch," "damn," "hell," "s--t," "a--hole," and "f--k"), and many scenes are set in a brothel, but the physical details of prostitution are not described.
What's the story?
Set within a crowded, twisty slum, THE WALLED CITY spotlights three teens who harbor dangerous secrets, Sold into sexual slavery by her father, Mei Lee works as exclusive concubine for a rich ambassador. Dai works as a drug runner and has 18 days to accomplish a mysterious mission before his life will be ruined forever. Jai pretends to be a tough boy, but she's really a scared young girl searching for her abducted sister. As these three young people cross paths, the stakes for each grow ever higher.
Is it any good?
The Walled City offers an intense plot with plenty of action, reversals, and insightful character development. Author Ryan Graudin does an excellent job of imagining a multi-level slum where danger can lurk around any corner. She also handles the subject of teenage sexual slavery with finesse and sensitivity.
The Walled City stumbles slightly is in the overheated prose that accompanies some of the more emotional scenes. Some of the strained metaphors could have been eliminated to streamline a novel that's already slightly too long for the story it tells.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Author: Ryan Graudin
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: November 4, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 15 - 17
- Number of pages: 432
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
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