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Fifteen Lanes

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  370 ratings  ·  115 reviews
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 C
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Tundra Books
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Tori (InToriLex)
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Find this and other Reviews at In Tori Lex

"How can I dedicate a book to girls who may never have the freedom, education or leisure to read it? How can I not?"

I was super excited to read this, the second I read the acknowledgement. I was worried  how the author would handle describing the harsh and sad reality of Mumbai's sex workers. But the author's experience working with girls and women who have escaped  sex work showed in her sensitivity and truth described. It's important to
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Liz by: Anne
I have so many thoughts about this book yet I feel I am unable to put these thoughts into a proper review. Fifteen Lanes simply stays with you for a long time after reading it. Noor and Grace, little Shami and Aamaal. VJ Patel. Parvati. They all stay with you. Their personalities and personal pain stays with you. It did with me. I have long finished reading this book and I am still thinking about it. But alright, let's start from the beginning.

As you read from the blurb, we have two girls from "
Nina ✿ Looseleaf Reviews ✿
This review also appears on:

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Fifteen Lanes begins as an almost entirely disparate story of two girls in India. Grace, a European girl attending private school in Mumbai, is being mercilessly bullied after a topless picture of her circulates around the school. Meanwhile, Noor, the pre-teen daughter of a sex worker, is struggling to keep her family alive and herself out of the sex work business.

What I was expect
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Powerful. This is the best word that I would use to describe this book. This book deals with serious topics and I would like to put a warning that this book includes rape, sex trade, human trafficking and abuse. This book is something that I wouldn't usually pick up, but I am glad I did due to the book club I am in called White Pine. I did not know what this book was about while picking it up, and just dived right in. Right when I finished the first chapter, the story grasped my attention, and ...more
Apr 14, 2017 rated it liked it
"'There is a whole world of possibilities beyond our fifteen lanes. Don't you want more for yourself?"

Fifteen Lanes dives into the lives of Grace, a privileged fifteen year old struggling with bullying, and Noor, a fourteen year old facing her fate as a Devadasi in Mumbai’s red light district. Emotionally gripping and undeniably real, Fifteen Lanes is an eye-opening story about hope, determination, and courage. S.J. Laidlaw does an excellent job at creating a compassionate atmosphere for both c
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4/5

This novel is told from two perspectives, both teenage girls who live in Mumbai. Noor is the daughter of a sex worker, and lives under her mother's bed in the brothel she works at. She takes whatever scraps she can to survive on, and hopes to use her intelligence and education to get her family out. Grace is a transfer student who is pretty well off. Her brother and best friend moved away, so she's left
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is not for the faint of heart. It is presented as Children's Fiction and YA, but I think it definitely doesn't qualify as a children's book. It's way too raw for that. My recommendation would be 15+ and then only for the tough kids!

The story is told by alternating between Noor's and Grace's point of view. Noor's opening scene starts with her lying beneath her mother's bed while she's entertaining a client. Noor's mother is a sex worker. You can imagine what that entertainment entails.

Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
Eye-opening. Shocking. Heart-breaking. Hopeful. Real. These are just some of the words that ran through my mind as I was reading Fifteen Lanes, the new book by S.J Laidlaw. This book is set in Kamathipura, Mumbai's oldest and Asia's second largest red light district and follows the lives of two teen girls who tell the story in alternating points of view.

Noor is a young Indian girl who was born to a sex trade worker. She takes care of two younger siblings and they live in a brothel with their mo
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: suckers for strong willed women and culturally different settings
"There is a whole world of possibilities beyond our fifteen lanes. Don't you want more for yourself?"

What a beautiful book! The story follows the very different worlds of two girls, Noor, a 14 year-old who lives in a red-light district of Mumbai, daughter of a sex worker, with two sibling to take care of, and Grace, a middle-class 15 year-old victim of bullism who struggles with a deep social anxiety and (view spoiler).

The summary of the book says "When their pa
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: april-2016
I have had the chance to read a few books similar to this one, where the reality of poverty and the life an individual is born into becomes heartbreakingly real. I admit that these books break my heart, cause sleepless nights, and render tears. However, it is the reality in the words written and the fact that this could happen — does happen — makes its message all the more powerful. It can break a human’s spirit, but it can also give birth to the person who could change it. I’ll admit, honestly, ...more
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was an utterly absorbing novel that forced me to read it pretty much non-stop until I was finished.

Dual first-person narratives, both teen girls in Mumbai, but they couldn't have come from more disparate circumstances. Noor is the daughter of a sex worker and the novel opens with Noor sleeping under her mother's bed as men are being serviced above. Grace is a wealthy privileged student at a Mumbai International School. Both are bullied and shamed at their respective schools and their stori
Sharon Mariampillai
I received a copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Actual Rating: 4.25

This was a great read. The story is about sex trafficking in Mumbai, India. The story follows two teenage girls: Noor, and Grace. Noor is the daughter of a sex worker. Noor is a bright, intelligent girl. Grace is a girl who has been through a lot. After her best friend moves, she is constantly bullied via phone and other ways.

The two girls become friends, and the world of India is brought into a different li
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english, ebook
Wow. It's been a while since I read a book in less than two days. I absolutely loved this one.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*4.5/5 stars*

Phenomenal novel; I highly recommend it. Full review here!
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read: March 31 – April 4, 2016
Format: ARC Ebook (Kindle)
My Book Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genre: YA Contemporary

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I requested this book from NetGalley, I’m not really sure what I was thinking. I like a certain type of book and I don’t often deviate. When I deviate, I usually end up disappointed. So, while I have no clue what made me think I’d enjoy this book, I’m glad I clicked the REQUEST button, because this book will s
Rochelle Allison
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
**I was given an ARC of this book by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review **

S.J. Laidlaw's Fifteen Lanes was, at times, a difficult book to get through - but not because of its prose; the *content* was incredibly sad. Still, having two stories (Noor's and Grace's) told side by side (until they coalesced) kept this book from becoming too heavy. (Even though, honestly, both girls were going through very dark times in very different ways.)

(view spoiler)
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, int-asia
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thinking of India, most people from the Western world probably think (or want to think) of Bollywood, the Taj Mahal and maybe the economy. But slums, sex workers and children born with HIV? Nah, no thank you. Thanks to this book, though, readers are forced to face these very real and important issues.

Noor is the daughter of a prostitute, caring for her siblings and faced with the prospect of soon having to work in the
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating: 4.5

Grace was a girl from one of the richer neighbourhoods in Mumbai. After her best friend Tina and brother Kyle moved away, she found herself lonely and desperate for companion. However, one wrong step and she ended up being bullied and shunned by her schoolmates.

Noor was a girl from one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Mumbai. Being the daughter of a sex worker, her life was always di
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This was a great read, I would definitely recommend this to the teens at my library.

Brief synopsis (mild spoilers) :
This book is about two girls from very different socio-economic statuses crossing paths and becoming friends. Noor lives in the Kamathipura Red Light District in Mumbai. Her mother is a sex worker and Noor lives in the brothel that her mother works in. Noor takes care of her younger siblings and also goes to sch
M. Hollis
There are just few books that can bring tears to my eyes, but Fifteen Lanes made me feel emotional at every page. Including discussions of rape, abuse, bullying, self harm, suicide, sex traffic (and so many other subjects) this is not an easy read at all. Still, such a needed story to be told.

In this book we have the stories of Grace and Noor, two very different girls from different worlds. Although they face very distinct hard times one thing it's always clear: the world we live in it's not eas
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was sent a copy of this by Tundra Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review :

Actual rating for this book is 4.4 stars. This story was such a raw and tragic one which definitely brought tears to my eyes and gripped me right from the beginning. Fifteen Lanes contains serious issues such as sexual abuse, self-harm and others, seen through the lives of two teenager girls, Noor and Grace who have vastly different lives. This story is about Mumbai's red light district and despite it being
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: source-netgalley
Here are the things that I like:

- An exhaustive description of the sad plight of sex workers in India. You can really tell that the author knows what she is writing about.
- I love both Noor and Grace. Both characters made me teary-eyed.
- Involvement of parents in their children's dilemma.
- The injustice of social stratification in India is always looming in the book.
- I felt that I'm in India myself while reading the book: caste system, Indian food, Bollywood, language.

Read my full review here.
Sophie Marsden
Jan 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, arc, i-own, 2016
Star Rating: ★★★3/4

This is a really, really important book. It gives you a view of what it's really like to live in the red light district in India. I really want to visit there now and join an organization to help these young girls escape from their fate of working in the sex industry like their mothers.

"'There is a whole world of possibilities beyond our fifteen lanes. Don't you want more for yourself?"

This book follows two girls, Noor and Grace. Let's start with Noor, since I think her story
Dec 03, 2016 rated it liked it
This is raw. Very raw. It hurts to read certain scenes and knowing Laidlaw has worked to improve lives and educate people about the children in third world counties and dedicates the book to those who may never have the opportunity to read a book like this, no doubt her characters here are based on the myriad of girls she has met along the way and is giving voice to their stories.

Noor and Grace are the two characters and while Grace's story is necessary to break up the darkness of Noor's story,
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, 2016
I received a free copy of this book from Tundra Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

There are so many books out there that provide a sugarcoated view of the world around us, as well as many more that are told from the point of view of narrators who lead privileged lives, have a safe home, a loving family, enough food to eat, a bed to sleep in, opportunities and rights. I, too, lead this life, and will admit that sometimes I take it for granted. That's why it was so interesting f
Haley Keller
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read
Considering the subject matter, I'm finding it difficult to write a review of Fifteen Lanes that I'm happy with. The book's narration switches between two girls with very different lives. Noor is the daughter of a sex worker who has lived in the same brothel her entire life, and despite her mother's determination to give her an education when those around her say that educating a female child is worthless, Noor's odds of escaping are almost nonexistent as the brothel owner already views her as h ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Real Score: 4.5/5

I requested a review copy of Fifteen Lanes from Penguin Random House Canada.

Video Review:

Best way to describe Fifteen Lanes by S.J. Laidlaw is POWERFUL.

We follow the lives of Noor and Grace, girls who come form different walks of life but face the challenges of gender, class, shame and acceptance. Noor, the daughter of a sex worker from Mumbai, India, works hard in school to make a better life for her and her family. However, she faces the harsh ba
Tanya Grech Welden
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it
In a world where too many stories are decidedly written through a Western lens, it is always refreshing to read stories that encourage our younger readers to engage with themes, ideas and the experiences of young people living in the third world. I enjoyed and respected this story immensely. With themes that address poverty, child trafficking and slavery it is a story that I would encourage every young woman to read. It would be effective for use in the classroom, for close analysis (shared or i ...more
Kate Fall
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! This novel is about the daughter of a sex worker in Mumbai, India. Her life is contrasted with the life of a Canadian diplomat's daughter in an international school being bullied and internet shamed. Their lives intersect at the end, making me tear up.

Noor and Grace have such strong and distinct personalities, and all of the secondary characters are vividly written. Such great wordsmithing here! Mumbai's streets on "both sides of the track" are easy to picture. Description isn
Nina Rossing
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016, young-adult
This book handles an incredibly important topic - the children of India's sex workers - in a touching and realistic manner. Noor's story was well handled and often terrifying.
Unfortunately, Grace's story pales in comparison, and she comes off as a selfish and naive Western teenager who is pretty much unaware of most things in life. I think this book tries to handle too many serious topics, something which doesn't work as well for Grace's storyline. Her problems seem insignificant despite being
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Susan Laidlaw has twenty years experience as a teacher and counselor in schools and clinical settings around the world. She has published articles on parenting and has led workshops for parents and professional educators on a diverse range of topics related to raising and working with third culture children. When she isn't backpacking through Asia or birdwatching around her island home in Honduras ...more

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