This novel is based on real-life experiences and events in small town Nova Scotia and Toronto. The story recounts how a 15-year-old Black girl finds herself beaten, emotionally abused, sold to a pimp, and working in the sex trade.
15-year-old Kanika lives a sheltered life with her aunt in Guysborough, a small town in Nova Scotia. But that all changes when her best friend disappears after hanging out with some older boys. While trying to find out what happened, Kanika gets the attention of Danny, an older teen she has always found attractive. After establishing that Kanika is his "ride or die chick" and will do anything for him, Danny sells her into the sex trade.
Kanika is raped and taken to Toronto, where she finds her friend has been a victim of the same sex trafficking plot. The two girls experience the hard and dangerous life of sex workers. Kanika never gives up her plans to escape. With help and strength given by an older girl who is a sex worker by choice, Kanika gets away from the people abusing her and makes her way home.
WANDA LAUREN TAYLOR is an author, filmmaker and educator. With a background in social work and advocacy, Wanda lectures on social justice and human rights issues. She is a former CBC TV producer and the author of two books, including Birchtown and the Black Loyalist, listed as one of the top Black history books for young readers by Today's Parent Magazine and by the Canadian Children's Book Centre.
"An important cautionary tale for young-adult readers and a solid option for reluctant readers looking for a realistic page-turner."
"The writing is clear and maintains its page-turning pace, prompting the reader to continue...The sensitive subject is dealt with thoroughly, but at the same time, it is not overly graphic."
"Every young girl should read this."
"The SideStreets Series is a great addition to the canon of Canadian YA literature. In Ride or Die, Taylor takes on the complicated and current story of young teen girls lured by recruiters into the sex trade."
"In addition to the diverse protagonists, many secondary characters also bring diversity to the series."