Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

6:47 PM

Title: Stolen

Author: Lucy Christopher
Publisher: The Chicken House
Publication date: May 4, 2009
How I got the copy: Library

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.

Told in a letter to her captor by 16-year-old Gemma, Stolen explores the influence that a really wild and remote space can have on the inner development of a young woman.

Gemma, a British city-living teenager, is kidnapped while on holiday with her parents. Her kidnapper, Ty, takes her to the wild land of outback Australia. To Gemma’s city-eyes, the landscape is harsh and unforgiving and there are no other signs of human life for hundreds of kilometres in every direction. Here, there is no escape. Gemma must learn to deal with her predicament, or die trying to fight it.

Ty, a young man, has other ideas for her. His childhood experience of living in outback Australia has forever changed the way he sees things. But he too has been living in the city; Gemma’s city. Unlike Gemma, however, he has had enough. In outback Australia he sees an opportunity for a new kind of life; a life more connected to the earth. He has been watching and learning about Gemma for many years; when he kidnaps her, his plan finally begins to take shape.

But Ty is not a stereotypical kidnapper and, over time, Gemma comes to see Ty in a new light, a light in which he is something more sensitive. The mysteries of Ty, and the mystery of her new life, start to take hold. She begins to feel something for her kidnapper when he wakes screaming in the night. Over the time spent with her captor, Gemma’s appreciation of him develops …but is this real love, or Stockholm Syndrome?

-  Creepy captor somehow makes you like him
-  Strong main character who never gives up
-  Beautiful Australian setting

I'm still not sure what possessed me to take this book out of the library, but I actually liked it.  It is one of those books that you can't put down because there are a thousand ways the book could end and it doesn't look like the main character will get their happy ending.  It's also a book that once you finish it you'll be staring at the wall thinking for a few hours.  It made me think about how my life isn't so bad, how I shouldn't take my family for granted, how some people are really sick, etc.  While Ty, the kidnapper, is obviously mentally ill, he is also really relatble.  Which is kind of scary.  No one wants to sympathize with a kidnapper.  Yet after hearing about his horrible childhood and why he kidnapped Gemma it makes you think...maybe his intentions were good.  Although I did feel that Ty's character was a little inconsistent.  He's really scary at the beginning having outbursts, but then towards the end he's tamer.  Gemma is really consistent.  She tries to escape as many times as she can.  Me? I think I'd try to think up all those episodes of Law and Order I've watched and make a plan instead of doing something impulsive.  But I do give her props for never giving up.  

One of the main things in books that I complain about is that I hate when they aren't realistic.  I think that this book is borderline unrealistic.  I mean, airports are really secure now.  I really doubt a TSA worker would just accept that Gemma was "drunk" when she's 16 and couldn't even stand up or speak.  Even if they did think she was drunk I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have allowed her to go on the plane.  Also, Ty's house that he built seems a little far fetched.  He set up pipes for water to get to the house from a stream.  There's no electricity yet either.  I also find it weird that this deranged 20 yr old wouldn't have tried anything on Gemma.  He thinks she's beautiful and he's kidnapped her.  I've been to college...let's just say Ty's behavior, while strangely honorable, is unreal for his age.  And finally, I think if someone drugged me, took me to a place with giant spiders, no indoor plumbing or real food or air conditioning, and expected me to live there forever, I really don't think I'd ever have feelings for them no matter how bad their childhood was.  Just sayin.  I may feel pity for them, but I wouldn't want to date them.

Also, the ending really bothered me.  I wanted a definite answer, but the author kind of left it up to the reader to make assumptions.  I hate when books do that!  Even though I have a lot problems with this book I still really liked it.  I actually read it in about a day if that's any indication.  The letter format that it's written in packs more emotion into every line making it impossible to put down.

“And it's hard to hate someone once you understand them.”
Lucy Christopher, Stolen: A Letter to My Captor 
“It sounded weird to hear you talk so much; normally you only said a few words at a time. I'd never imagined that you'd have a story, too. Until that moment, you were just the kidnapper. You didn't have reasons for anything. You were stupid and evil and mentally ill. That was all. When you started talking, you started changing.”
Lucy Christopher, Stolen: A Letter to My Captor 


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