Camille Logan feels trapped. After she is sexually and emotionally abused by her foster parents, she turns to the one person she knows she can trust—her boyfriend Chu, a mid-level drug dealer. But when life finally starts looking up for Camille, Chu is brutally murdered. Again feeling abandoned and helpless, and refusing to return to the system, Camille finds herself living with a stable of women in a tiny run-down apartment building in Washington, D.C., working for Nut, a deranged pimp. Fed up with her life, Camille is forced to right her wrongs, and slowly learns that her past does not necessarily determine her future.
Dupree”s debut offers readers an unvarnished look at the troubled, violence-filled lives of inner-city youth in Washington, D.C., frequently through the eyes and experiences of Camille Logan. Ten-year-old Camille is placed with the Brinkleys, yet another foster family, where she suffers extreme mental and sexual abuse for years, until she”s rescued by Chu, a low-level drug dealer who actually loves and looks after her. But when Chu is murdered in a drug deal gone wrong, Camille makes a desperate choice to join a cruel pimp”s stable, where she faces her situation and struggles to change her life. DuPree displays an excellent ear for the dialogue, thinking, music and worldviews of her young characters and a talent for setting: the grimy streets, rundown hotels, beatup houses, sweaty house parties and clubs feel real and far above standard street lit. But the ending falls short, as though the author has a sequel in mind. (Jan.)