Fifteen Lanes by S.j. LaidlawFifteen Lanes by S.j. Laidlaw

Fifteen Lanes

byS.j. Laidlaw

Hardcover | April 5, 2016

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Noor has lived all of her fourteen years in the fifteen lanes of Mumbai’s red light district. Born into a brothel, she is destined for the same fate as her mother: a desperate life trapped in the city’s sex trade. She must act soon to have any chance of escaping this grim future.
Across the sprawling city, fifteen-year-old Grace enjoys a life of privilege. Her father, the CEO of one of India’s largest international banks, has brought his family to Mumbai where they live in unparalleled luxury. But Grace’s seemingly perfect life is shattered when she becomes a victim of a cruel online attack.
When their paths intersect, Noor and Grace will be changed forever. Can two girls living in vastly different worlds find a common path?
Award-winning author S.J. Laidlaw masterfully weaves together their stories in a way that resonates across class and culture. Fifteen Lanes boldly explores the ties that bind us to places and people, and shows us that the strongest of bonds can be forged when hope is all but lost.

Born in Philadelphia, S.J. Laidlaw spent most of her childhood in Toronto. After completing an undergraduate degree in English, she ventured to Africa as a volunteer teacher. There she discovered that her students needed as much guidance and support outside the classroom as in it, so after three years, she returned to Canada to complet...
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Title:Fifteen LanesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 8.19 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:April 5, 2016Publisher:TundraLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1101917806

ISBN - 13:9781101917800

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! This was a wonderful written and powerful book. A great insight into the kinds of horrors that teens living in both luxury and poverty experience. Wonderful characters and a satisfying conclusion.
Date published: 2017-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I've read other books based on similar topics, but this one stands out because it gives you the view of two character in the same country living entirely different lives; its very well written as well.
Date published: 2017-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! The relationship between the two characters was so well written. You do not expect characters like these to work so well together but this author made it work.
Date published: 2016-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Caught me from the first few pages I picked up this book in my office, it was just laying around and I'm SO glad that I did. From the first few pages I was hooked, it's such an amazing story - you get to know the main characters and feel their pain. I wanted to finish the book, but didn't. I will definitely get her other books!
Date published: 2016-07-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An unflinching look at life in Mumbai Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Wow – where to begin? This book was very well-written, well-researched, and very hard to read. It wasn’t hard to read because of the quality of writing or the characters; it was hard to read because of its heartbreaking portrayal of life in Mumbai. It was brutally real, openly raw, and shone a spotlight on issues that are often swept under the rug. The book is told in alternating povs by Noor, the daughter of a sex trade worker, and Grace, a student at a school in Mumbai. The chapters alternate between the two characters, who don’t actually meet until halfway through the book. All through the book the reader is constantly challenged by the stark contrast of Grace and Noor’s lives. Noor lives in a brothel, in the middle of the fifteen lanes which form the title of the book. Her neighbourhood is home to sex trade workers, beggars, thieves, and other people who have no other place to go. The streets are crowded, beyond dirty, and the sanitation system is a ‘river’ running through the neighbourhood. We first meet Noor at five years’ old when she is beaten and hurt and we learn that beatings are a daily fact of life, along with no privacy, one bucket of water for two days, and other indignities. Although Noor’s destiny as a sex trade worker seems inevitable, she is fighting for more. Unfortunately, she is fighting against an entire caste system as well as her environment. The thing that gives her hope is that her mother sends her to school, a privilege not afforded to many girls in her neighbourhood, and Noor excels. She has a younger sister and a younger brother and she is basically a parent to both of them, keeping them safe and finding ingenious ways to find them food and medicine as needed. This is especially true for her brother, who was born with HIV. Her best friend is named Parvarti, and her story is one of the more tragic ones in a book full of tragic fates. The other main character is Grace. Grace is the privileged daughter of parents who send her to a great school, but otherwise are slightly removed from her. It seems as if they don’t know how to talk to her; they identify much better with her brother, who can do no wrong. She has attended multiple schools on multiple continents and is now having trouble fitting in. She is tricked into sending a revealing photograph by text message which is then passed around at school, making her an easy target for bullies. She feels powerless and tries to reclaim her power through self-harm. Her life is improved by her friendship with a student at her school, a Bollywood actor named VJ Sinjay. VJ is gay, but has to hide who he is. He teaches Grace how to hold her head high and only show people what she want to show them. Grace and Noor meet when Grace has to volunteer for an organization ‘Sisters Helping Sisters’ that helps the daughters of sex workers in hopes of showing them that there are other options. She and Noor become friends and each has a hand in helping the other to resolve their problems, in spite of how different those problems are. The book delves deeply into many powerful subjects, never making light of them, and also never hiding every ugly facet of them. There are some trigger subjects, including: rape, violence, self-harm, human trafficking, underage prostitution, and bullying. Once you make it through, you can see the book’s underlying message of hope, of feminine empowerment, and that it doesn’t matter how you start – it’s how you finish. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to older teens who are ready to know more of the world than what is outside their front door.
Date published: 2016-06-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Stellar Fifteen Lanes tactfully deals with problems that can face a fifteen year old girl in high school through the character of Grace. It deals with incredibly heavy subject matter, both through Grace’s struggles in dealing with the extreme bullying she has been subject to, and through Noor, who is the daughter of a sex worker and fated to the same profession. The girls come from entirely different worlds within Mumbai, but they learn to help, and trust one another. Though their problems are entirely different in scope (Noor’s focus is keeping her brother alive and, later, keeping her best friend alive and herself from being sold as an effective sex slave, all while maintaining the lie of her origins at her school and pulling top marks, while Grace struggles with feeling isolated from everyone, and being ridiculed, shamed, and outcast from her school after a topless photo of her is shared with the student body [she turns to self-harm, which I was immensely wary of as so often it is brought up and treated…tactlessly, but Laidlaw did a frighteningly excellent job of capturing the feelings associated with the act (my feelings at least)]) one character’s struggles are not made to feel lesser than the others. It was a quick Tuesday afternoon read, but was nonetheless complex and respectfully dealt with every issue it brought to light.
Date published: 2016-05-11

Editorial Reviews

“Laidlaw brings Kamathipura, a poor neighborhood in Mumbai, to life with her detailed prose. The author handles the delicate subject matter with care, balancing the desperate living conditions with glimpses of Noor's joys and aspirations." - Kirkus Reviews “Readers will love the complexity and authenticity of this story, even if they know very little about the lives of sex workers in India. The protagonists’ voices make the story believable and unputdownable. Laidlaw’s secondary characters—the teens’ friends, relatives, and enemies—are just as fleshed out as Noor and Grace themselves. There is no easy happy ending for the girls, but their story shows the strength and beauty of the human spirit in a way that young adults will appreciate.” - School Library Journal “.... A poignant story of two girls who share a city but lead vastly different lives .... chilling in its authenticity .... This is not an easy novel to read, but it’s an important one .... Kudos to Laidlaw for capturing the essence of Mumbai’s underbelly with such empathy and accuracy .... Fifteen Lanes showcases the strength of the human spirit in the most adverse of circumstances.” - Quill & Quire“Laidlaw doesn’t flinch from the horrifying details of the desperate and dangerous lives of Mumbai’s poorest women. Noor’s strength and determination are inspiring .... [Grace’s] voice and suffering ring with authenticity. This heartbreaking and hopeful novel will appeal to readers of gripping contemporary stories such as Patricia McCormick’s Sold (2006) and E.R. Frank’s Dime (2015).” - Starred Review, Booklist