The Robber Of Youth - A Novel
Reviewed By: Avraham Azrieli
Avraham Azrieli's most recent novel is "Deborah Rising" (HarperColllins 2016), the story of the first woman to lead a nation in history.

The Robber Of Youth by Keith Julius is a literary novel about a girl named Rosaletta; blamed for her young brother’s accidental death, she is turned away from home and falls into the hands of a young man whose expertise, as it turns out, is to lure girls with pretense of love and sell their bodies as prostitutes. This novel is the third installment in the author’s CASA Chronicles; the previous ones are Catch A Falling Star and Born For Adversity.

The novel follows Rosaletta’s misfortune and downfall with unnerving realism, which sets the stage for her fight for survival. We watch her painful struggles with savvy villains, feel her sorrow as she loses her innocence, and rejoice in her efforts to regain new strengths, rekindle her hopes, sustain her perseverance and win back her freedom.

Author Keith Julius manages to tell a truly painful story with a keen eye for details and a sharp ear for both authentic dialogue and genuine internal thoughts. For example, here is a fascinating peek into Rosaletta’s mind immediately after the first sexual encounter of her life (with the man she erroneously believes loves her):

“Rosaletta lay under the covers. The warmth of the blankets comforted her, but it wasn’t that alone which appealed to the young girl. She felt the need to hide. It was as though she had exposed herself too much, having yielded to a craving she never even recognized in herself before. Part of her felt ashamed of what she had done, giving in to such desires and succumbing to such personal sensations. But another part of her, the part she struggled against, felt a new found freedom and exhilaration in what the two of them had done.”

The novel shines a glaring light on the seedy industry of sex trafficking, especially the criminal abuse of minor girls, and the shortcomings of law enforcement and others agencies. The story does not skip the most shocking particulars and sordid events of the Rosaletta’s horrendous ordeal, yet gives readers a glimmer of optimism with a sympathetic-yet-revealing portrayal of an effective CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteer. The author’s obvious deep knowledge of the field provides the factual details that validate the story with a solid backdrop, rich authenticity, and honest plausibility.

In summary, The Robber Of Youth by Keith Julius is simultaneously gut wrenching, heart breaking, shocking, yet ultimately inspiring. The characters are well developed, three-dimensional and memorable, and the story is current, relevant, and startling in its authentic realism. This is a fiercely captivating book that you’ll never forget. Highly recommended!