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Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  3,527 ratings  ·  586 reviews
An inspiring and compelling memoir from a young woman who lost her childhood to slavery—and built a new life grounded in determination and justice.

Shyima Hall was born in Egypt on September 29, 1989, the seventh child of desperately poor parents. When she was eight, her parents sold her into slavery. Shyima then moved two hours away to Egypt’s capitol city of Cairo to live
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published January 21st 2014 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2014)
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Rhiannon Brown Shyima's personal experience as a human trafficked slave as a child and her regaining her life back from her captors. Excellent book.…moreShyima's personal experience as a human trafficked slave as a child and her regaining her life back from her captors. Excellent book.(less)

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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  3,527 ratings  ·  586 reviews

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Start your review of Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave
Best non fic I've read in years, teen or adult.

For real.

This is an emotionally gripping true-story that shocked me in a way I haven't been, possibly ever. That it also enlightened me is a credit to the writing. I learned something from this book, and I'm a 28-year old man. I will never forget Shyima's story, and the deft prose, short sentences, and blunt way her life story is drawn out was masterful. Whoever helped her write this, that co-author did excellent work. The voice feels true, the horr
Lindsay Wilson
Won as part of Goodreads' First Reads program. Full review to come when it arrives!

Update: The three stars should be interpreted cautiously, because this book definitely tells a really great story. It is slightly different from a lot of the other books on human trafficking that have a similar premise to this one, such as "Slave", in that while "Slave" discussed her time as a slave in great detail for much of the book, more than half of "Hidden Girl" is devoted to her life after she was rescued.
Bobbie Greene
Mar 30, 2014 rated it liked it
The narrative of Hidden Girl is interesting enough to make you want to read to the end. You'll root for Shyima to overcome the obstacles that occur because of others' choices about her life, and the story is fulfilling enough in the scope of her experiences that I'd recommend it to others who are interested in the topic of human trafficking and helping those who may be victims. It's an especially good book to help open young adult eyes to a horrible practice that is probably going on in their ow ...more
[Name Redacted]
There are various GoodReads reviewers who libel Shyima Hall as an "Islamophobe" -- and when called out on it, at least one of them deleted all the comments on their review which listed the facts about both Shyima & Islamic attitudes towards slavery, yet retained the libelous accusation of "Islamophobia." I understand that facts are inconvenient -- that they can challenge the romantic fantasies which we, in our willful ignorance, cultivate -- but they are important. And so i feel that it's incumb ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: donated
I read this as part of a bookclub selection... I usually don't do non-fiction, but hey, what can go wrong with a "True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave"?

Actually... a lot of things.

I wholeheartedly sympathize with Shyima... I know what she's gone through is unbearable, but I just couldn't, for the love of God, connect with her story. It dragged on and on and on... I just wanted it to be over.

I wish I could give this book more stars, but the fact that I felt nothing at the end, I am just giving
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
There are certain paragraphs and phrases that repeat in this writing. Over-whelming is one of those words that echo, as well. And in her word patterns alone you can connote that Shyima Hall's second language is English. So why the 4 star?

The 4 star is not for the skill of the words themselves, but what they say. Shyima totally transmits her brand of shuttering, closed-in, downward eye looking, insular and so justified anger. Within this book, you also see her soul's identity blossom.

This book d
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
2 stars because Shyima's story is interesting and pretty harrowing. It takes bravery to share this kind of experience with the world. Only 2 stars because the writing was fairly atrocious. The narrative was disjointed, lacked depth, fluency and at times was painfully repetitive. ...more
Rhonda Keith
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was published for "young readers". It's about a very young Egyptian girl sold into slavery by her parents. Luckily for her, her captors moved to California, where someone noticed something unusual and reported her to the authorities. The girl was rescued before she turned 13, after years of drudgery, abuse, and starvation. As an adult, she wants to work for ICE or the police, to help others. At the end of the book, she lists what to look for in your neighborhood to identify possible ca ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
I feel bad giving this book 2 stars because I really do think that she is amazing for all that she has conquered in her life. My reason for the low rating is because I feel that it could have been written in 100 pages rather than 230. It was really repetitive and not many stories were told within the book. I did like that at the end of the book, she listed various ways that you can spot someone who is being held against their will, as she said here are 17,000 new people being trafficked into Ame ...more
May 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a true story, and an important story, and I'm glad to have read it. However, the writing is rather simple and dry--it is mostly a stream-of-consciousness account of a girl sold into slave labor. I don't know that the style of writing will keep my students engaged, but I appreciate Shyima's story and her willingness to share it in order to help others. ...more
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
don’t know where I should start. This story gives you the reader. so many emotions. At first I could feel the love she had for her siblings. And for her parents. The love she had for her was not always reciprocated, her father was verbally abusive. (Spoiler) Her older brothers molested, when she very young. And her family was poor, but she still loved and cared for them. Through out the book she mentions that she no longer remembers any of her siblings from being apart from them.

Because her fam
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
My low rating does not reflect any belittling of the author's horrific story. It's just a really bad book. I didn't know it was a intended for a high school audience until I opened it (I knew of it only from a positive rating by a friend). I don't like the young adult genre of books so maybe I just shouldn't have read it. I'm appalled that a book written for a high school audience is written at a 4th grade reading level. Certainly we should expect better reading skills from high school kids. It ...more
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shyima was eight years old when her life changed forever. She was born into a large Egyptian family. They lived in poverty and her parents sold her into slavery. Shyima referred to her captors as The Mom and the Dad, a very wealthy family, who treated her poorly. Eventually they moved to the United States and illegally brought their slave with them. Shyima was forced to work extremely long hours, was abused emotionally, verbally, and physically. She was also denied medical help when she became s ...more
Nicole aka FromReading2Dreaming
Since this book was released I have always eyed it and wondered if it was any good. So when I saw it at my local library I knew I had to get it.

My thoughts on this novel are not meant to be malicious at all. Though it has a great message and helped me to further understand modern day slavery, I did not like this books at all.

The story read more like an essay, and while that is not a problem for most people, I prefer books to be told in a story-narration tone. Does that make sense? And at some p
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Going into this book, I didn’t know what to expect seeing as it was my summer reading book this year and I read it after the assignment was due.

But on a different note, I did find this to be a somewhat powerful and very educational read. The only reason I didn’t rate this book higher was because the writing wasn’t something that really stuck with me or moved me in any way. If you want to learn about one girl’s real experience with being trafficked and enslaved from Egypt to the United States, t
David Kinchen
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
BOOK REVIEW: 'Hidden Girl': Gripping Memoir of Egyptian Girl Sold Into Slavery


Don't let the BFYR (Books for Young Readers) label on "Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave (Simon & Schuster BFYR, 240 pages, $17.99, also available in an eBook) deter you from reading this memoir by Shyima Hall, with Lisa Wysocky: It's suitable for people of all ages and will enlighten every reader about a problem that flies under the radar in the mainstream media.

Anna Larson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: global-issues
I received this book as a first reads giveaway.

I was very moved by this book. What she went through and how she overcame it (and still is). Stylistically, it can be trite. However, taking into account that she knew only 3 words in English just six years before writing this book and her inability to socialize and express her emotions in a mature way, it was very well done. Her anger is still evident but it only helps her to seem more 'human' to me. I felt as if I was discovering who she was alon
Beth Harrelson
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone, especially to those who know they entitled to all that they desire.
What made the experience of listening to Hidden Girl the most enjoyable?

It was simple and to the point. This is not a book to be read for entertainment. It is for enlightenment and that's what I got.

What did you like best about this story?

That it wasn't sleazy, violent and not too descriptive. I could see clearly in my mind the places and people without dragging it out. It was so plainly written yet broke my heart. There is a lot to be said about such ability to bring her story to life in such a
Hall's memoir is engaging, but while it is clearly aimed at a fairly-young audience, I worry that it unintentionally promotes American exceptionalism and anti-Islam sentiments. While I believe her story is well worth sharing and brings a much-needed spotlight to the topics of human trafficking and modern slavery, I think the targeted audience may be too young to recognize the book's subtle biases.

It is unfortunate that the Muslim men in Hall's life each embodied a problematic stereotype, and I d
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow is all I can say. This woman persevered through some of the worst years of her life. I could not believe the things this little girl was forced to do for her captors and the neglect they gave her in return. I also could not believe her biological families reactions to the events that occurred. This was truly a sad story that made my eyes well up with tears more than once. The amazing thing is, she is a true survivor and amidst all of the terrible things that happened to her and her lack of e ...more
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It usually takes me several months to get through most books but I finished Hidden Girl in 2 1/2 days!! It wasn't so much the writing style as the story itself. Incredible odds and a determined spirit... Shyima Hall is truly an amazing and inspiring individual. This book not only made me want to research more about the author but about modern slavery itself. Raw, emotional, inspiring... I found myself unable to tear away from this gripping true story and staying up as late as 3am just because I ...more
Ashley Brown
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was so great! My heart ached for that little girl who was taken away from her mom and siblings and thrown into a world no one should ever be in. I don't know why people would treat a person that way let alone an 8 year old girl . This novel opened my eyes to the world of modern day slavery in the world. I'm glad that the law was actually on this girls side and did what they could to help her, I know it's not always that way. More people need to tell their stories of escaping and how th ...more
Ghadah K
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
I hate that I have to give this book only 2 stars, and that is rounding up purely to acknowledge that her story is horrific. It is just a shame that the writing is so unriveting. You’d think a story like this would have made for a more gripping book, but it was just not done well. I went looking Shyima up online to read articles and watch videos about her....and found those to be much more interesting.
Brooke R
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With all the recent attention that human trafficking and slavery have gotten I wanted to read an account of a survivor. This book was exactly what I was looking for. Not all slaves wear chains, some are walking around chained by fear.
May 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Hidden Girl is a compelling story about the events that took place in Shyima Hall’s life. Although the beginning was strong, this book sorely lacked some aspects that would truly make it stand out compared to others with similar stories. I’m rating Hidden Girl a 7 out of 10.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting and eye opening, but not well written.
Aug 20, 2018 added it
Shelves: e-books
Unrated due to subject matter.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing story and message.
Josie Ofori
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
binge read this entire book in one day! i loved reading about the ups and downs of Shyima Halls’ life. It was just as heartbreaking as it was eye-opening. I don’t normally read nonfiction, but this was such an amazing journey that I would totally recommend to anyone no matter their genre preference.
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