by: Lucy Christopher
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. (from goodreads.com)****************************************
I really liked this book. Written from the perspective of Gemma reflecting on her kidnapping and time in Australia living with her kidnapper Ty, this book is brutally honest in a way that pulls you in. I likened it to a car accident to some of the people I talked to. It's horrible and terrifying, and yet you can't look away. This book looks at a horrible event in Gemma's life, a moment that changed everything for her, and you see it unraveling through this letter that she is writing to her kidnapper, and you kind of want to put it down, and yet you want to see how it ends. I think that is one of the best attributes of Stolen, that it takes a theme that is hard to read about, and makes you want to keep reading.
Both Gemma and Ty are well written characters. Both are flawed and slightly damaged (Ty moreso then Gemma), and yet both remain sympathetic. You want to hate Ty for what he did to Gemma, but the more Gemma reveals about him, you may find yourself feeling sort of bad for him, I know I did. Since the book is in Gemma's perspective, we see it all through her eyes, and I really appreciated the fact that Christopher allowed Gemma to go back and forth in her feelings about Ty. It would be easy to have Gemma simply feel hatred and anger, but by making her question her feelings, and acknowledge the fact that there are other emotions (even one's bordering on love) that come into play, make the whole story more interesting and heartbreaking.
Another thing I really liked was the use of the Australian outback as the third person in this weird relationship. There was Ty the kidnapper, Gemma the kidnappee and then there was the land that held them both hostage. For Ty it was an escape, a sort of freedom that he wanted to share with Gemma. For Gemma it was a beautiful prison, that both captivated her and held her captive. Christopher did a great job of describing the sort of desolation and beauty that can be found in the outback and I liked how this home that Ty tried to create was as much a player in the plot as anyone else was.
The one thing I would have liked was to see what exactly happened to Ty in the end. Without giving too much away, Ty has to make a choice to save Gemma and possibly be caught and sent to prison or to risk losing Gemma to a snake bite- in his case, either way he loses Gemma. The book ends with Gemma debating how she should approach the trial. What does she say when she is called to the stand? How can she justify her conflicting feelings towards the person who kidnapped her to a judge and jury? I wish we could have seen what the outcome was, but I also understand that would be a different story. This book was about Gemma looking back and trying to figure out where she stands in relation to what happened to her.
Overall I really enjoyed the whole story. It was well written and brought out so many different emotions in me as I read it that I couldn't wait to see where it all went, and how it all ended for both Ty and Gemma. If I were going to rank it, and I am, I'd give it a 4 out of 5. I think it's one of those books that everyone should read. Even though the subject matter is tough, I think it's totally worth it.
(Review reprinted from Eve's Fan Garden)