The Harem takes place in a Muslim ghetto called Peckville where a strong willed young woman named Farina is struggling to get away from her overbearing mother, her religion and her life of poverty. Thanks to her extremely ambitious and money-minded best friend Sabrina they hatch a plan to open an escort agency and pull in all the money they’ve been hoping for. The Harem is a book about women, self discovery, and what it means to have family. I will say that this is definitely for the 18+ crowd as it does have sexual content and some very dark situations that would not be suitable for young teens.The story is hard hitting and definitely makes an impression. It tackles subjects like the value of womanhood, the value of one’s self, self destruction, and the importance of family. As we move through the story and see Farina begin to change we also begin to see her world in a different light. The things that were shiny and golden opportunities in the beginning begin to fade and trade places with the things she only saw as a stain. The characters in this are detailed and have a depth that it’s easy to like them…even when you really hate them.The writing is first person, so it’s very much Farina’s voice. It’s straightforward, blunt and at times even a bit poetic. Her voice pulls you in and the emotion is high every step of the way. Farina’s journey over the course of the book isn’t an easy one and she definitely doesn’t always make the right decisions, but it was interesting to see her grow as a person and start taking steps to better herself. Sabrina is a girl who practically has trouble written all over her. She’s confident, pretty, and most of all she’s manipulative. She’s one of those characters that I loved reading about but really didn’t like. She’s a user but I my heart went out to her. Imara is the most innocent of the three girls and probably the one that broke my heart the most by the end. All three of these girls have hit their low at some point, but the one thing that separates them is how they recover from it.The Harem is a heartfelt, heartbreaking and quick paced story that drew me in without any hesitation. I’m definitely glad that this review request came in because I’m not sure I would have found this gem on my own.