Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: May 4th 2009
by Chicken House LTD
It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.
This is my story.
A letter from nowhere.
Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?
The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost.
Stolen was a surprise from my 2013 holiday season. It showed up in the mail one day, a gift from Giselle of Xpresso Reads and am I ever happy that it did. See, Giselle knows me. When trying to find books to get me for Christmas she looked at Listopia lists titled “Books that made me cry.” She knew just where to go to find the books that I need on my shelf. While this one didn’t effect me as emotionally as I had hoped (which I think was due to the long stretch of time I took to read it) it was a unique reading experience that tackled Stockholm syndrome in an incredibly interesting way.
So first I’ll talk about why I think it didn’t effect me as much as I would have liked. I was there with Gemma and I felt for her in her situation but I kept jolting myself out of her world. I haven’t been doing near enough reading over the Christmas holidays and would only pick this one up when I went to my two physiotherapy appointments every week. Pulling myself out and then having to readjust and get sucked back into the world kept me from being as engrossed in the novel in the way that I would have been had I devoured it all fast. This is entirely my fault and doesn’t reflect on the book in any way, shape, or form but it did affect my feelings on it so I felt it pertinent to include in the review. This morning when I sat down with it and read the final 150 pages in one stretch I was completely present in the story and started to connect with it in a way that I hadn’t been previously. Lesson here: don’t suck at reading so much, Jenni!
What was fascinating about this novel it the unique way that it is written. It’s essentially a letter that Gemma is writing to the man who kidnapped her. She talks about what she was feeling and what happened between them in the time that she was missing in the Australian outback. Christopher does a fantastic job at capturing the isolation that Gemma is feeling as she struggles to find her way out but can find nothing more but sand dune after sand dune. She also expertly captures how torn Gemma comes to feel over her time there. Ty isn’t presented as some horrible monster, but we always know in the back of our minds that he is deep down. He did something wrong, he drugged Gemma and took her away from her family. But as we read we see that he genuinely cares for her in his own sick way. I found myself feeling like I had Stockholm syndrome myself! I wanted Ty to find the happiness he was so longing for, then I would step back and think about it and want to slap myself.
This is a novel that blurs right and wrong and makes you question what you’re really feeling. It’s a unique take on a very interesting topic and has left me wanting to find anything of Lucy Christopher’s that I can to devour as well. I highly recommend this one to anyone looking for a raw, real look at the strange effects captivity can have on someone.
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