Thursday, January 09, 2014

Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

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Review: Stolen by Lucy ChristopherStolen by Lucy Christopher
Published by Chicken House LTD on May 4th 2009
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Buy on Amazon

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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29 Responses to “Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher”

  1. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    I am so glad that you loved this one! Someone recently also told me how this one was a favorite of theirs, and I may pick it up soon because I’ve never read a book about Stockholm Syndrome and the fact that Lucy writes it so convincingly and makes you question the bad guy sounds so intriguing. I’m definitely going to be trying to read this one soon! Shame about the fact that you were disconnected from this one due to how long it took you to finish it 🙁 I know what you mean though, that’s definitely happened to me before! Fantastic review, Jenni <33

  2. Missie

    This is interesting and really unique but I can’t decide if I want to read it or not. I might have to add it since you gave it a good review!

  3. Pili

    Thanks for a great review, Jenni!
    I agree that sometimes just reading lil bits of a book now and then doesn’t let us get into it as much.
    I think this book must be in my TBR for whenever I feel emotionally ready to not be sure how I should feel about a kindnapper… It sounds like a really unique book done about a topic that’s quite unusual too!

  4. ShootingStarsMag

    I’ve owned this one for a long time, and I STILL have to read it. I will get to it ASAP though and I’ll have to take your advice and try and read as much as I can at the same time, so I’m not constantly pulling myself out of this world. It sounds like a very interesting take on a tough topic.

  5. Bethzaida (bookittyblog)

    This book has been on my TBR list for almost 3 years. I don’t know why I never got to it. I want to read it but I’m nervous at the same time. Does that make any sense? I’m just afraid I won’t like as much as others have. Your review gives me hopes that I will like it, though. Great review Jenni!

  6. Maya

    I thought Stolen was really good too, very haunting and quite emotional. Glad to see you liked it too, and I really know what you mean about how Stolen makes you feel like you have Stockholm syndrome yourself! It’s very clever, how the author does that… Great review!

  7. Savannah

    I believe I have this book lingering in my tbr pile. This year, I want to tackle more of my bought books this year. And I will totally read this one.

  8. Kris (Imaginary Reads)

    This sounds like an incredibly fascinating book. I’ve seen it around the library but hadn’t really given it much thought since I always go to the library with a bunch of books on my list to check out already. Stockholm Syndrome is an interesting topic. I love how this book makes you feel conflicting feelings about Ty. Lovely review, Jenni!

  9. Lindsay @ The Literary Darling

    I have really wanted to read this book…but I do not like sad books. I am a pretty sensitive person and when I read something haunting, sad or disturbing…it stays with me forever. But maybe I’ll try your technique and read bits of it at a time so I’m not drowning in it. lol See, you don’t suck at reading…you helped a fellow reader out!

  10. Michelle @ Book Briefs

    I love it when people know you enough to pick out books they think you might enjoy.

    I haven’t read stolen yet, but I like that it blurs right and wrong and that it was unique. (that is no easy feat nowadays) I understand what you mean about jolting yourself in and out of the world building. It does hinder your enjoyment of a story sometimes, because it keeps interrupting the flow of the book. Even though the story keeps going fluidly, you still feel like it is starting and stopping and it takes adjustment time. That’s always annoying for me because it doesn’t give me a true picture if it was the book or me as a reader.

  11. Tina

    Yessss I loved this book! I completely agree with your review. At the end of the book I was so pissed that they didn’t end up together and then I was like WAIT WHAT THE HELL HE IS NOT A GOOD PERSON. But like only half of me believes that. Totally wanted them together! Great review 🙂

  12. Bonnie

    Holy crap, yes, this book was so surprisingly fantastic! I have yet to read anything else of Lucy Christopher’s but she’s definitely on my radar now. AND THE FREAKING CAMEL *heart breaks*

  13. Ambur

    I definitely felt the whole Stockholm Syndrome aspect of this story…and I still do. I honestly don’t see Ty as a monster. I do agree that what he did was wrong…kidnapping and drugging someone is so not okay, but I still didn’t see him as a monster…which kind of shows that Lucy Christopher did an amazing job at making you feel just like Gemma was feeling. I remember being super conflicted while reading.

    I’m glad that you enjoyed it more once you read it in a solid chunk! Hopefully you’ll reread it in the future in one go and you’ll love it even more! 😀 Stolen definitely played with my heartstrings when I read it, and I borrowed it from the library, so I really want to get myself a copy eventually! I’d love to read this one again! 🙂

  14. Megan

    This one sounds really good! It’s a bit outside what I usually read, but some messed-up part of me enjoys reading about people who have been captured and imprisoned and watching them try to escape or try to come to terms with what has happened.

  15. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    I was not a fan of her latest book, The Killing Woods but the endless praise for this one has made me certain that I will be reading this! I totally understand what you mean by feeling a little disconnected. I’ve been reading at a much slower pace because I feel like I can’t get completely engrossed into a book like I used to.

    Brilliant review, Jenni! <33

  16. Siiri

    I have noticed with my reading that the longer the time perion that I take for reading, the less my emotional connection with the book so I’m not surprised that you weren’t fully affected by it. I know that Rachel (The Reader’s Den) completely fell in love with this novel though it was originally totally out of her comfot zone and I’m afraid of the same–it’s wayyy out of my comfort zone. Haha. I think that’s the reason why people love that Caleb dude from Captive in the Dark series–you know, the Stockholm syndrome and all that jazz. I’m so hesitant to give it a try because I’m afraid I will care for this dude even though I shouldn’t. Not in my right mind at least. Love your thoughts on it though and I hope you’ll enjoy your next read as much as this:)

  17. Katie

    This was one of the last books I finished last year. Like you, it took me a really long time to read this. I generally at least partly consider that the fault of the author, since if the book is really that great, I wouldn’t have wanted to put it down. And just like you, it took me a while to read the first half, and then the last half I read pretty fast.

    Still, I completely agree with you about Ty! I wanted Gemma to like him back and make him happy, and sometimes I would think that she was being too mean to him. And then I would remember that he drugged and kidnapped her, and I would be like, “Oh, no, right. Be mean to him.” It was an interesting reading experience. Haha. 🙂

  18. Alexa S.

    This sounds like a delightfully twisty book! I think, if I read it, I’d feel a lot of different emotions too. I would probably be afraid, but also surprised at how much I understood what was going on, too. Any author that could possibly make that happen is worth a try in my book!

  19. April

    I’ve been wanting to read this one. It’s in my amazon wishlist. It sounds so different from what I’ve been reading lately. I really need to just one click and be done with it. 🙂

  20. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    This totally sounds like my type of book. I’m sorry that you couldn’t really get the emotional attachment to it you wanted, but it’s hard when you keep getting taken out of the book. (dumb distractions lol) It’s been a long time since I read a book that really got my emotions running. I will have to check this one out.

  21. George F. Stark

    This book was a very powerful and emotional read. For me its one of those few books that i’ve ever read that stays with me for awhile. Its very rare that I find a book that I will re read, recommend to a friend, or that stays with me in my head for long after iv’e read it. I loved how the author was able to manipulate the readers emotions into feeling sorry for Ty and even liking him, even though we know what has has done is wrong. It strikes me how indecisive I am about Ty and what I think should happen to him. This novel was brutally honest and captivating. Its been a long time since i’ve read a novel that has captivated me as this one has

  22. Wendy Darling

    I keep meaning to read this thing, but the two times I’ve gotten it out of the library I couldn’t get into it because of the second person thing, so I had to return it. I actually went through a big phase of reading books about kidnapping a couple of years ago–have you read LIVING DEAD GIRL by Elizabeth Scott? I did a GoodReads review, it is SO intense, and probably the best fictional account of kidnapping I’ve read.

  23. Rachel

    I must be living under a rock, Jenni, because I hadn’t realized you joined Xpresso! I did take a month long blogging break so that may have been the issue. Anyhow, I enjoyed this book as well. I recently read it and I agree, it makes you wish and hope for things that may not be so great. Wonderful review! 🙂