Sunday, October 24, 2010

Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

StolenImprisoned, confined, detained, constrained, incarcerated, locked up, interned, sent down, abducted, kidnapped, taken, forced, shoved, hurt--


Gemma, 16, is on layover at Bangkok Airport, en route with her parents to a vacation in Vietnam. She steps away for just a second, to get a cup of coffee. Ty--rugged, tan, too old, oddly familiar--pays for Gemma's drink. And drugs it. They talk. Their hands touch. And before Gemma knows what's happening, Ty takes her. Steals her away. The unknowing object of a long obsession, Gemma has been kidnapped by her stalker and brought to the desolate Australian Outback. STOLEN is her gripping story of survival, of how she has to come to terms with her living nightmare—or die trying to fight it.

I listened to the audiobook version of this young adult psychological thriller and was completely absorbed in it. What a delicious slow burn--a quietly suspenseful and somewhat disturbing study of human nature. This is one of those books that really burrows into the reader and invokes reactions and emotions that mirror those of the narrator, Gemma, as she channels her emotional turmoil into a letter to her captor.

As Gemma learns how long Ty has been planning her abduction, how much time and effort and planning he has put into it, and as she tries to figure out what he wants from her and how she's going to survive, I start feeling uneasy and torn. How can I possibly have feelings for this man? How can I feel sorry for him? But I do, and it puts me in a dilemma just like it does Gemma. How can I care for this person? Is it so wrong for me to want him to find some happiness and to find it with Gemma? On the one hand, Ty is a violent criminal. He drugged Gemma, abducted her, tied her up, stuffed her in the trunk of a car and drove her to the middle of nowhere, where he forced her to share his company. On the other hand, as Ty is slowly revealed, he turns out to be utterly, heartbreakingly human: vulnerable, lonely, frightened, damaged, hopeful.

And as I'm becoming more engrossed in the story, as I'm watching Ty try to establish a connection with Gemma, showing her the beauty of the desert, looking beyond the sand and stones to the peaceful solitude of nature; as Gemma begins to admire his strength and his perseverence, I grow even more uneasy about the feelings I have toward Ty and I keep wondering, How is this going to end? Is she going to fall in love with him, stay with him? Get rescued? Escape? Turn him in? Will he be punished? How will I feel about it? No matter what happens, I'm going to be conflicted. How can this possibly end satisfactorily?

This is one of those books that just really made an impression on me. When an author can take two young characters, plunk them down alone in the middle of a desert, and craft a completely compelling, suspenseful story, a story that keeps the reader turning the pages, drawing the reader into the grey areas of  life and blurring the line between right and wrong--that's talent, and I wish there were more writers like Lucy Christopher writing more novels for young adults like this one.

Review: 5 Stars out of 5

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  1. This gives me a feeling of Still Missing somehow. I must try to find this book. Thanks for the review.

  2. I've had this book on my TBR list for a while, but reading your review has made me want to get my hands on it NOW! It sounds amazing :)

  3. Awesome review! Here's mine if you don't mind:

    Thanks and have a nice day! :)


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