Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Stolen by Lucy Christopher (NY: Chicken House, 2010).

16-year-old Gemma narrates this novel that is in the form of a letter to the man who abducted her, telling the story of her kidnapping from her point-of-view. It is an amazingly compelling story, fraught with contradictions, the most obvious ones being her feelings of hate--and love--for her captor, Ty.

As Gemma tells it, she gets annoyed at her parents at the Bangkok airport and dashes off to get coffee on her own, but she doesn't have the right kind of money, and Ty ends up buying her the coffee--and slipping some drugs into it. Gemma ends up in the middle of nowhere--the hot, wild Australian outback desert--alone with Ty. And it turns out that he has planned the whole thing, indeed, has been planning it for years. He first saw her when she was a kid playing in the park, and he's been watching her ever since, till at one point he starts believing that taking her away from her well-to-do London life to live with him will benefit her. He never rapes her and even declares that he loves her. Despite her intense fear and desire to escape, Gemma develops a certain amount of sympathy for Ty as well.

Both Gemma and Ty are complex characters, and Christopher masterfully spins the narrative so neither is wholly repulsive or attractive. It's an astonishing feat, really, and one of the most unique novels I've read in a long time. Highly recommended for teens, ages 14 & up. Language, intense situations.

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