Not Abandoned (2015) by MacKenzie Morganthal is the first book in her Mission For Freedom series. This novel comes in all forms including eBook, and is 220 pages in length. With a full-time job and a five-year old at home, Not Abandoned took me three days to read. I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from the author. In no way has this influenced my opinion of the story. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give Not Abandoned 5 STARS. This book is a Young Adult Christian Contemporary novel.
Disclaimer: This novel deals with the seriously gritty and ghastly world of sex trafficking in America. I believe that every parent on earth should read this book, and I feel it should be read prior to allowing a child to read it. It has some exceptionally heavy and scary topics that MUST be discussed with children. As a teacher, I have seen and heard some very ugly things, and I can tell you that trafficking is closer to home than we think. It is imperative for every parent to be educated on this topic and to diligently and appropriately make children aware of this horrific evil. This evil is pervasive, and with the rise of social media, it has never been easier to traffic children as it is today. I know this is an awful topic. One that we can easily sweep under the carpet, but I implore you, my dear reader, please don’t ignore this evil especially if you have children. God is the only One who can truly protect us, but we, as parents, can do more than we think to protect our beloved sons and daughters.
About the Book
Two words….human trafficking.
Four different lives…are altered forever.
Haley, a police officer in training, is thrust right into the heart of an organized human trafficking ring when a family friend is mysteriously abducted. Once the problem hits even closer to home, Haley will stop at nothing to see justice prevail.
With no way out once trapped inside the trafficking ring, is there any hope for rescue? When trouble arises and Caryn’s life is compromised, will she be able to survive or will help come too late?
Strength is tested and trust is broken in this mystery of seemingly impossible rescue and God’s loving redemption. After hearing those words, human trafficking, these girls will never look at their lives the same way again… and neither will you.
Disclaimer #2: This is not going to be one of my typical reviews. I am exceptionally passionate about keeping kids safe. I have a lot to say about the topic of children and sex trafficking. What you are about to read is volatile. I HATE the evil that is fighting so hard to ruin our children. This will not be a warm and fuzzy post. I am ANGRY.
Not Abandoned is a well-written, fast-paced, gripping novel that absolutely needs to be read by every mother, father, teacher, etc. If you come in contact with children in any capacity, you need to read this book and then educate yourself on things you can do to help better protect the children in your lives from sex trafficking. I know this is an awful topic, but pretending it doesn’t exist and saying, “If I don’t think about it, it’s not a problem,” doesn’t help anyone.
This story made me angry. It made me cry. It made me stop about 12 times to fall on my knees to pray hard. It made me grab my kiddo for some super-stellar bear hugs. It made me think about my students and all that I know about the adolescent brain and just how vulnerable children are. It made me want to break every social media site that exists. It made me want to FIGHT! If you choose to pick up this novel, which I highly recommend, be aware that you will have severe emotional reactions.
If you are like me, you are probably saying, “What can I do about sex trafficking?! I have no power!” But the truth is, we can do a lot! Do you pray? Then pray harder for the MILLIONS of children sold into prostitution against their will every day. Don’t forget that these kids exist. Do you have a child in your life? Then speak to that child. Put limits on his/her social media access. Be present in your child’s online and school life. Are you a teacher? Then figure out an appropriate way to make kids in your classes aware of this horrific atrocity. No one needs to be graphic. No one needs to go to extremes. But, staying silent is as potentially dangerous as the trafficking itself.
The average brain doesn’t finish building until the early-to-mid 20s. In the teen years, the parts of the brain that deal with emotion, reaction, critical thinking, etc., are busy growing into an adult brain and are not working to full capacity yet, which is why teens tend to be combative, impulsive, and risk-takers at this stage of their lives. If they are not getting the proper and appropriate emotional support they need at home, they can become easy targets to things like prostitution, drugs, and sex trafficking. Kids need to know that home is a safe space. They need to feel it. Dear readers, please know that I speak from a place of experience. I see over 200 teenagers every day. I know that they can drive you to your outer limits of patience. But, please, be proactive and vigilant. Don’t forget to ask them how their day went. Don’t put their activities on the back burner in your mind. Know their friends and their friends’ parents. And, please, please know what is on their phones. Know who they are talking to and what apps they have downloaded onto their phones. Many times, apps look harmless, but are actually quite dangerous. These harmless-looking apps are called many things — “ghost apps,” “vault apps,” etc. They look like something safe and benign (like a calculator app), but in reality are places to store and send pictures and other info kids don’t want parents and teachers to see. I highly recommend reading up on this topic. Just type in “Vault Apps” into Google and get educated…then, go check your kid’s phone. The bad guys know about these apps. They know about teens being easy targets. They are counting on you staying ignorant!
While Not Abandoned does focus and portray some pretty intense and heavy topics, it’s main goal is to illustrate God’s TRUE love for each an every one of us regardless of where we are and what state we are in. Throughout the novel, Morganthal beautifully weaves the notion that no matter the prisons of sin that attempt to ensnare us there is a Warrior God who fights for us daily. No matter what is happening to us on the outside, the Holy Spirit is with us on the inside. He cries with us. He laughs with us. He helps us find hope when everything seems completely hopeless. All we have to do is let Him do His job. This is a fantastic message for today! If you are a parent and/or an educator, lean in to the Holy Spirit. Pray about this topic. Ask Him how best to approach it with the children in your life. Ask Him to help you protect these children. He will not fail any of us! Remember, He sets our steps!
This is a really hard topic to discuss, and clearly one I have a lot of feeling towards. I highly recommend purchasing a copy of Not Abandoned. Read it, pray hard to God, get properly educated, and talk to your kids! It can be the difference between life and death.