Runaway Girl by Carissa Phelps
Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time

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“Riveting . . . A genuinely important book that casts the problem of sex trafficking in America into stunning, heartbreaking relief.” (Kirkus Reviews)
A School Library Journal Best Adult Book for Teens
A Joan F. Kaywell Award Finalist from the Florida Council of Teachers of English
Carissa Phelps was a runner. By the time she was twelve, she had run away from home, dropped out of school, and fled blindly into the arms of a brutal pimp. Even when she escaped him, she could not outrun the crushing inner pain of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. With little to hope for, she expected to end up in prison, or worse. But then her life was transformed through the unexpected kindness of a teacher and a counselor. Through small miracles, Carissa accomplished the unimaginable, graduating from UCLA with both a law degree and an MBA. She left the streets behind, yet found herself back, this time working to help homeless and at-risk youth discover their own paths to a better life. Like the multimillion-copy bestseller The Glass Castle, this memoir moves us through the power of its unflinching candor and generosity.

About Carissa Phelps

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An attorney, motivational speaker, and youth advocate, CARISSA PHELPS works as part of a global collective to help local and international survivors of sex trafficking rebuild their lives. Her life story was the subject of the award-winning documentary “Carissa.” She lives in San Luis Obispo, California. Visit
Published July 5, 2012 by Penguin Books. 318 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Runaway Girl

Kirkus Reviews

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In her personal life, she “burned through friendships, drank [herself] silly, and dated recklessly.” Only after she made the commitment to help troubled, sexually exploited girls did Phelps begin to find an end to the restlessness that had kept her on the run.

May 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Runaway Girl: Escaping Life o...

Publishers Weekly

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In this brave memoir, Phelps spares no detail of her loveless, troubled childhood.

Apr 23 2012 | Read Full Review of Runaway Girl: Escaping Life o...

San Francisco Chronicle

Please stay home.' " As Phelps shows us through incidents from the lives of many runaways, this is where the problem begins: with a child believing that no one cares what happens to her.

Jul 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Runaway Girl: Escaping Life o...

Bookshelf Bombshells

However, Phelps tells the story of her experience in a clear, calm tone, which encourages readers not so much to empathize as to analyze: to think about Phelps’s experiences, the experiences of other young women who find themselves in situations like hers, and the social and economic factors that...

Aug 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Runaway Girl: Escaping Life o...

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