13 Apr 2013

REVIEW: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Title: Stolen: A Letter to My Captor
Author: Lucy Christopher
Publication Date: May 4th 2009
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 301
Rating: 4/5
Blurb: 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
Review: This is one of those books that I’ve seen pretty much everywhere in the book blogging/booktubing/Goodreads community for so long, but I was never really interested in picking it up. Don’t get me wrong, I’d only heard good things about this book but it never sounded like something I’d be into. Then a few weeks ago I read ‘The Mockingbirds’ by Daisy Whitney (you can see my review, here) which, in short, I adored- upon returning the book, one of my school librarians suggested this book, but I didn’t borrow that day. Then on Goodreads I saw a list called ‘Seriously Messed Up YA Books’ (or something like that, I can’t find the actual list anymore) which contained both Stolen and The Mockingbirds. It was about two weeks later, despite my original hesitation, that I finally picked up this book.

And, Oh My God. The premise of this book is absolutely frightening, I’ve lived in Australia my entire life and so the fear of being kidnapped and taken into the middle of the outback is even more frightening. Trust me when I say, stuck in the middle of nowhere in a country with the some of the most deadly animals- just a tad scary! What made it even more frightening was how well everything was described, as the blurb says the landscape is so vividly described that it does almost a become a character in the book. Therefore, it probably doesn’t need to be said that I loved the description of the landscape. But honestly, I don’t know whether Lucy Christopher actually visited or lived out in the outback for some time, but it comes across in the book that she really understands and knows not just the landscape itself but the cultural and historical aspects of it as well.

The characters themselves were also wonderfully created. There are only really two characters in the book- Gemma, the ‘stolen’ girl, and Ty, the gorgeous kidnapper. Other characters are mentioned in passing, but these two dominate most of the book. Lucy Christopher has done a seriously amazing job at both characters. I found that I was seeing everything through Gemma’s eyes, exactly as we as a reader are supposed to, I hated Ty at the start of the book but as the book progressed I began to see him in a different light. I know how messed up that would sound to anyone who hasn’t read this book (and I know that’s what I thought before I did), but there’s something about the way he is written and how to story develops that changes your mind. I’ve seen things where people list Ty as one of the fictional boyfriends that want, but personally I wouldn’t go that far.

Stolen definitely deals with some huge issues that are usually kept sort of ‘hush hush’ in our society, mainly Stockholm Syndrome, so I think the fact that Lucy Christopher was able to write a book on this issue was a really powerful thing to do. The issue isn’t brushed off or romanticised in the novel, the writing makes it feel so real and with the reactions of the other characters in the book, it makes you feel like you’re on Gemma’s side, like you understand what she’s gone through. Or at least, it had me feeling this way. That being said, there were definitely moments in this book that made me feel uncomfortable, even a little bit paranoid, but that was just another aspect that made it so wonderful in the end.

The only thing that kept this book from getting a five star was the ending. I’m not going to say why as that would obviously ruin it, but I’m going to leave it at that I found it slightly disappointing. Otherwise, it was a really brilliant book. If you’ve never read this book or like me, are hesitant about starting it, I suggest that you really do read it, even if only to understand what Stockholm Syndrome is all about.

You can buy Stolen from the Book Depository with free shipping worldwide,