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Prayers for the Stolen

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  6,147 ratings  ·  894 reviews
A haunting story of love and survival that introduces an unforgettable literary heroine
Ladydi Garcia Martínez is fierce, funny and smart. She was born into a world where being a girl is a dangerous thing. In the mountains of Guerrero, Mexico, women must fend for themselves, as their men have left to seek opportunities elsewhere. Here in the shadow of the drug war, bodies
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Hogarth
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John I love this book and have just finished reading it - August 2016.
I read it on Kindle and was shocked to find I had come to the last page.
John in Katsu…more
I love this book and have just finished reading it - August 2016.
I read it on Kindle and was shocked to find I had come to the last page.
John in Katsuura, Japan(less)

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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,147 ratings  ·  894 reviews

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Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, mexico, fiction
This book, literally, found me.

It was laying on its side, left carelessly by someone on a library shelf....the cover with its poppy flower, cactus, and scorpion. And I can still feel the sting of that crouched, awaiting scorpion.

Jennifer Clement places the story of Ladydi Garcia Martinez into your outstretched hands. And the petals of that poppy flower drift slowly to your feet. Life for females in the mountains of Guerrero, Mexico is unimaginable. We, in our own worlds, look for safety zones...
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“Love is not a feeling. It’s a sacrifice.”

Dear Jennifer Clement:

Which means she has officially found a fan in me. After reading Gun Love earlier this year I knew it wouldn’t be long before I sought her out again. When Prayers for the Stolen popped up as a recommendation on the library website I didn’t hesitate a second before clicking the “YES PLEASE” button.

This is the story of Ladydi Garcia Martinez and the village she comes
Diane S ☔
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
When I read the sentence, "The best thing you can be in Mexico is an ugly girl", I knew this book was going to be something special, a heartbreaker and I was right on both counts.

Ladydi and her mother Rita live in a mountain community in Guerrero. Once a family community now there is not much left, the men are gone. Most to the United States where they find jobs, sending money home for a while and then finding new lives, abandoning their old. When the hear the SUV's coming, the girls hide in hol
When books like these are written, which I regard as documentary fiction, it is always difficult to absorb the shock and pain of the people's lives in it.

Ladydi, the young protagonist, relates the story of the women and young girls living alone in the small mountain village of Guerrero Mexiko, near Acapulco, where there are no men, and drug lords have long ago taken over the ruling of the country. The men are either dead, have migrated illegally to the USA, or have been swallowed up by the drug
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, usa
"Prayers for the Stolen" is based on real events that happen every day in contemporary Mexico: In the ongoing narco war, girls and young women are stolen and sold off, or kept by drug lords and their enforcers as slaves - it is particularly dangerous for young women to try to cross the border to the United States, where human traffickers lie in wait, or to live in those Mexican states that are largely controlled by the cartels, with the government being complicit. One of these states is Guerrero ...more
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
The narrative voice is unforgettable. We get such a vivid portrait of rural Mexico through the eyes of a young girl, Ladydi, whose mother tries, as all the mothers do, to make her daughter ugly so the narcos don't take her. The chronology in the novel was hard to follow and I kept wanting more robustness from the plot. This feels more like connected vignettes. That said, this is one hell of a novel.
Oct 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ladydi's story of her life growing up in the mountains of Guerrero, Mexico. The writing tells a chilling story in a quiet way that spares nothing. The story is rich in fear and poverty, told with innocence and awareness. Ladydi is the perfect character to tell such a story.
Throughout, I was reminded of 2666. Missing girls, murder, fear, helplessness...... it's a story that people live each and every day in small villages throughout Mexico. The Cartels have the power, the people don't.
So many u
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is a very short novel, almost a novella, written in a simple, rather dreamy stream-of-consciousness style: first person, no quotation marks, jumping around and speeding through events. The subject is the plight of rural Mexicans, particularly women, and I phrase it that way because I get the sense the author was driven to write more by the subject matter than the plot or characters. Despite the brief page count, the book includes the stories of many minor characters, facing everything from ...more
Anastasia Riebs

Having access to pre-release books for review, I often find myself in the untenable position of having to force myself through tortuous, mediocre, crudely written books. There's a lot of appallingly bad writing out there, cleverly disguised by misleading cover art; their publication based largely on overused cliches. I feel resentful for the time I spend choking down uninspired, poorly researched titles, when there are authors who invest themselves, literally for years, in the development of a

Description: Inspired by true stories, this atmospheric drama follows 15 year old Ladydi Martinez in the mountain village of Guerrero, Nr. Acapulco, Mexico, where being a girl is a dangerous thing and mothers disguise them as sons, hiding them in holes in the ground as the drugs cartels scourge the town, looking for girls to steal.

More Info:- A timely drama series, as drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has recently escaped a Mexican prison for the seco
Angela M
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it

This is the moving story of a young girl , Ladydi , her friends and their mothers and how they cope on a daily basis with the fear that permeates the place where they live . The scenario depicted in the small mountain village of Guerrero , Mexico is so horrendous that you hope this work of fiction is purely the author's imagination . Unfortunately , it is more than likely based more on reality than we want to believe .

This small book is full of violence , sadness , death and fear - so much fear
Mar 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub, fiction
On our mountain only boys were born, and some of them turned into girls around the age of 11.

3.5 stars. This is a shocking but very beautifully written account of live in rural Mexico, especially looking at the women of the country. There were so many things I did not know before reading Prayers for the Stolen - for instance that so many men left for work in the USA, leaving all the women to fend for themselves Being in a place without men is like being asleep without dreams. Or that so many gir
Anna Archdale
Apr 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It has been a very long time since I have been so moved by a book. Villages all over Mexico are living different aspects of this book on a daily basis and I have certainly heard stories or rumours about everything involved, the things that the Mexican authorities manage not to see or hear. The lost girls of Mexico (and no doubt many other countries too) are a tragedy and scandal of enormous proportions and need to be brought to the attention of the civilized world. It is an incredibly brave book ...more
Bonnie Brody
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Clement has a natural way with words. Her narrative is somewhat minimalist in style yet incorporates a lot of magical realism.

The chapters follow the life of Ladydi who lives with her mother in a mountain village about an hour away from Acapulco. Rita, Ladydi's mother, is an alcoholic. There are no men in the village. After they've fathered children, they leave for the big city or the United States. The novel follows Ladydi from her village to Acapulco and further.

Ladydi and the other girls are
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, fiction
4.5 stars. Here's a little known fact about me: I studied Latin American politics in college and I'm absolutely fascinated by that region and I'm always excited when I can read something about this region. "Prayers for the Stolen" is set in Guerrero, Mexico, a place with an interesting history and a lot of violence in its current day. Ladydi, named after Princess Diana, grows up in a world where if you are pretty at all, you are probably going to be kidnapped. The women of the town spend an inor ...more
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
"The best thing you can be in Mexico is an ugly girl."

These are some of the first words of Ladydi Garcia Martinez and they set the tone for this brutal, yet beautiful coming of age novel. Ladydi is a teenager in Guerrero, Mexico, a place where mothers masquerade the daughters as boys, blacken their teeth or rub chili powder on their cheeks, all to disguise their beauty. They dig holes outside their homes for the girls to hide when the SUVs rumble into their barren town.

This is a place where girl
Clement was raised in Mexico and based this book on extensive interviews with women affected by the country’s culture of drugs and violence, as well as women in prison. In a world where up to 800,000 people are trafficked annually (a U.S. State Department estimate), often for sexual purposes, it is essential to raise awareness of the plight of women. That is what Clement has done with her gritty and at times disturbing coming-of-age novel. Though the plot grows darker than you might imagine, the ...more
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One thing about the Amazon Vine program is that there are 100s of books available to choose to review, so I often only click on books with great covers. I thought this cover was especially interesting and decided to read the first couple of pages to see what it was all about:
Now we make you ugly, my mother said. ... I watched her move the piece of charcoal across my face. It's a nasty life, she whispered.

It's my first memory. ...I must have been about five years old. ...The best thing you can
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Being born beautiful – looking, say, like Jennifer Lopez – is, for most women, akin to winning the lottery.

Except, that is, if you are born in the remote mountains of Guerrero, Mexico.

Ladydi Garcia Martinez, a young girl trying to reach adulthood in a land where drug traffickers routinely steal the most beautiful adolescents and force them into prostitution, and her close-knit group of girlfriends are just trying to survive. One of her friends, is stunningly beautiful – a Jennifer Lopez clone. A
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
WOW! Very rarely do I find a book that leaves me in my mind wondering... In the beginning I was a little confused at the present and past tense status' running simultaneously.. Jennifer Clement did a wonderful job bringing the two into an artfully written novel of tragedy and love interwoven with a social dynamic that most American women have no Idea would even exist! Ladydi the main character tells of her life and the tragedy of being born a girl. Even worse a beautiful girl. The minimized horr ...more
Mahmoud Haggui
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
How does it feel to be a victim in Mexico ? How hard life gets when you are a little girl in a Marijuana-Dominated society ? can you imagine that, the police is making agreements with the gangsters and break their oath to save people? . why do men escape to the U.S and leave their families behind suffering the barbaric attacks ? to what extend this sentence is true "the best thing you can be in Mexico is an ugly girl? are the 26 letters sufficient enough to answers those questions? I wish I had ...more
Thomas Williams
(from my review in the WSJ)

Feb. 28, 2014 2:08 p.m. ET
'The best thing you can be in Mexico is an ugly girl," Ladydi says. She is the 13-year-old narrator of Jennifer Clement's beautiful, heart-rending novel, "Prayers for the Stolen." Her first name pays tribute to the late Princess Diana, yet Ladydi's circumstances in a nameless mountain village in the state of Guerrero, an hour's drive from the glitzy beaches of Acapulco, could hardly be farther from royalty. Situate
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

In the mountains of Guerrero, there is more to be afraid of than the deadly snakes, spiders and scorpions that lurk in the rubber plant jungle. The rumble of an engine chills the blood, sending teenage girls scurrying into holes dug in the ground, desperate to avoid being stolen by prowling Narco's. Those who are taken never return but every one is aware of their fate - to be used, abused, traded, sold and eventually murdered by the cartels.

Ladydi Garcia Martinez, named for the British princess
Jul 04, 2015 rated it liked it
A small village outside Acapulco is consisting of women. Mothers and daughters are living without their fathers and husbands. Men abandon their families for a better life in a bigger city or the US, and mothers and daughters are left. There are a few boys in the village, but they leave as fast as they can.

The main character, Ladyli, is living in an unfathomable, brutal world. The Mexican drug cartels kidnap girls and turn them into prostitutes. The mothers are living in constant uncertainty as t
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ladydi Garcia Martinez is a fierce young girl but only acknowledged as a boy. According to her mother, living as a girl is not a blessing but a curse. Perceived to be a boy, she operates in the realm of one. Tough and adamant, her mother word is the only thing that matters. Even if her mother sounds unreasonable at times, she knows that she cannot question her, knowing that she will have severe consequences. As far as the relationship that she share with her father, is nonexistent in her opinion ...more
Sonja Arlow
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
3 1/2 stars

I think the power of this story lies not only in its raw unique format but also because it so closely mirrors the reality of what is currently happening in Nigeria, with its own girls being stolen.

This unique story tells of the forgotten, in a place where the police and the drug lords are equally feared.

“The best thing you can be in Mexico is an ugly girl”

Violence, poverty, injustice and neglect grate on these forgotten women and girls until they no longer react to atrocities that sur
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Guerrero, Mexico is a place where girls disguise themselves as boys to ward of rapists and kidnappers, a place where decapitated bodies hang from bridges and heroin, drug cartels and cold-blooded killers are a normal part of every day. Where vultures act as the X on an (anti)treasure map, pointing out the location of yet another dead body. A place where pesticide rains down from the sky and the place that young Ladydi calls home.

Prayers for the Stolen is a heart-wrenching and intimate portrayal
Vicky Marie
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
An excellent view into the lives of Mexican women struggling to survive in a country run by drug traffickers. As a Latina woman this story is heartbreaking. I live close to the US/Mexican border, an hour close to one of the most dangerous places in the world. It's terrifying really being a neighbor to such violence. Prayers for the Stolen tells the story of a girl born into this nightmare. We get a glimpse at what women must do to keep themselves safe from the drug cartels. Young girls are dress ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth☮ by: Petra
Shelves: recent-reads
Ladydi lives in the state of Guerrero in Mexico. The two is run by the Narcos that brazenly take the girls at their whim. The mothers have taken matters into their own hands and try to keep the girls "ugly" as long as possible. They even think of a unique way to hide the girls when they hear the motor of the black SUVs that inevitable bring violence.

This is such a sad story of loss and painful realities of those without the means to turn their lives around. Ladydi's journey is one that is harrow
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it
A good read, but the plot was a bit lopsided, with an exhaustive set-up full of endless ruminations and metaphors on the protagonist's origins and hometown, etc., etc. But the author seemed to lose interest in the story by about 3/4 of the way through, leaving several gaping holes in the narrative. Overall a bit overrated, I'd say.
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Jennifer Clement is the President of PEN International and the first woman to be elected since the organization was founded in 1921. Clement grew up in Mexico City, Mexico. She studied English Literature and Anthropology at New York University and also studied French Literature in Paris, France. She has an MFA from the University of Southern Maine.

From 2009 to 2012, Clement was president of PEN Me

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31 likes · 8 comments
“Don't ever pray for love and health, Mother said. Or money. If G-d hears what you really want he will not give it to you. Guaranteed. When my father left my mother said, get down on your knees and pray for spoons” 10 likes
“She told me to tell you love is not a feeling. It's a sacrifice.” 4 likes
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