30 Red Dresses by Johan Twiss 152 pages
Today is Veata’s eighth birthday. She hopes that her uncle remembers. Instead he sells her.Across town, American author James Moore is on a book tour in Cambodia. He’s wildly famous there and has just finished a five-hour book signing appearance. After the event, he just wants to go to bed. Instead of taking him back to his hotel, his translator, Munny, takes him on an insider’s tour of Phnom Penh. A sudden downpour drenches him and Munny.
As hail begins to pummel the two men, who are on foot, they try to open any door along the alley they are in. When they finally find one that opens, they are some rather dangerous looking dudes inside. They want money for the two men to enter.
While they are making their way through the building, a loud roar begins to shake the walls and the floor. It’s not an earthquake. Then James realizes what it is; the new dam has burst and a wall of water is heading their way.
The water soon starts to rise rapidly. They head up the stairs, trying to race the rapidly rising waters, while trying to stay out of the way of the snake and rats that are also desperate to escape.
Saving others trapped in the building, the two men finally make it to the roof, where they find thirty women in identical red dresses, cowering near the ledge. Veata is one of those irls and one of the youngest.
James knows he must save them---from the flood and from the life they have been forced to live.
The first five chapters are harrowing. After that, the pacing slows down and the plot becomes stale and expected. Still, I was interested in what fate would be allotted to the girls, James, and Munny.
The story ends on a happy note, which was rather disappointing. I was hoping for a more realistic ending. After the end of the story, there is a short story that takes place eight years later when Venata turns sixteen. I found that confusing and awkward. Why not call it an Epilogue?
30 Red Dresses gets 3 out of 5 stars in Julie’s world.