Date of Publication: May 4 2009
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 by Lucy Christopher is a book I've been meaning to read for quite some time. Now that I've read it, it took some time, but I appreciate what I read.
Stolen is the definition of a slow burn. I wasn't immediately engrossed in the story. In fact, I was not interested until near the end, where somehow, everything clicked. The intensity that had been building up reached a climax and I finally got to the part where the story had an impact.
If the synopsis doesn't make it clear, Stolen is about a girl that is stolen away by a man in an airport and brought to live, isolated from the rest of the world, with him. Except it's not that simple. I think the depth of Stolen is impressive because I knew what the story was trying to make me feel, and I resisted it for quite some time, but eventually I got to the same point as Gemma.
The character development was incredible. I was disgusted with what was happening. Utterly disgusted. The descriptions of little things like ants or wood paneling on the walls resulted in strong imagery. I could clearly picture everything and put myself in Gemma's place. She was quite reasonable as a character, and so the story made sense.
Stolen is written in an evocative way, as a letter from Gemma to her kidnapper, and so the characterization of the kidnapper is phenomenal. It's an incredibly messy situation and the way it was handled in Stolen is mature. The story resembles life, because there are so many sides to a person. And sometimes, you know something is wrong but you feel something different, and that's confusing.
The other thing about Stolen is that I will think of this story every time I read about such a crime in the news. The book considers so many things I haven't even thought of- how do you live on? The pressure to denounce the kidnapper- and it's just another reminder that nothing is ever black and white or clean. Everything is dirty and messy and confusing.
There are a few very literary elements to Stolen too. I've already talked about the imagery, but there is foreshadowing and this book loves its symbols and metaphors. I really felt like Lucy Christopher was fully in control of her writing and was sending a message through every sentence. This kind of 'tight' writing is exactly what you need.
The more I think of Stolen, the more I realize what a quality book it is. It doesn't always deliver on the entertainment factor, but I think it's an important book to read and think about. I was on the edge when it came to giving 3-4 stars, and I've decided for 4 because this is a book that deserves that kind of acclaim. It's not the thrilling fantasy that usually gets the high ratings from me, but it did what it set out to do extremely well. Stolen is quiet, and its subtlety is part of its magic.