Review: Stolen- a letter to my captor; Lucy Christopher

A must read YA novel (4.5 stars)

Source- personal copy

Published by The Chicken House- 2009

Paperback- 301 pages

Whoa.

And I mean whoa.

I’m torn sometimes when it comes to YA books. I’ve admittedly read some utterly amazing ones, but there have been some real stinkers and some where I think the premise can never live up to the hype *Hunger Games* *Cough*  where I’m happy to have been proved wrong. Stolen definitely slides firmly into that category; it was a riveting, psychological read that delivered so much more than I could have anticipated and I was hooked on every single word.

If you believe the majority of the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, then this is THE book. An utterly heartbreaking, emotional roller coaster of a ride that forces the reader along. I wasn’t sure if I believed the majority of the reviews, but now I do- because I’ve been taken along on the journey and it was all of those things and more. Eesh. Sorry for the inappropriate gushing guys, but I frickin’ loved this book.  Here’s why:

  1. The premise is simple but scarily believable. A sixteen year old girl, Gemma, is drugged and abducted from an airport in Bangkok and whisked away by her kidnapper, Ty. This novel comprises of Gemma’s letter to Ty, detailing their time together following her capture. See? Simple but inordinately effective.
  2. The writing flows beautifully, with Gemma’s narrative voice being authentic and distinctive. She is scared, yet never gives up hope, focussing on her ‘real’ life and her family and friends. At times her sense of desperation and isolation is so palpable it seems to seep through the pages and I really wanted her to escape from Ty.
  3. By contrast, I found myself fascinated by Ty and his motivation for taking Gemma in the first place. He is clearly unbalanced, psychologically disturbed, with some tense moments where he could possibly veer into violence, yet by contrast it is clear that he does not want to be alone and is desperate for Gemma to care about him. He would never deliberately hurt her. He has his own vulnerabilities and through the whole book, bizarrely I wanted him to have some kind of happy resolution of his own. I know, sick right?
  4. I— oh come on, do I need to keep going on? Surely I must have convinced you by now to give this book a shot. If not, let me just add that the descriptions of the landscape and surroundings into which Gemma is taken are absolutely magical, which sounds even weirder in what is basically a story of obsession, stalking and fear, but somehow the author manages  to pull it off.

So, the only reason I’ve given this 4.5 stars and not the whole 5 is because I felt a tiny bit cheated by the ending, which seemed a little bit abrupt (read: ‘unfinished’) to me. I quite like the whole ‘reader using their imagination’ aspect, when it fits, but in this instance I did want to know the whole shebang and what happened next in Gemma and Ty’s story. An adequate resolution seemed more appropriate here. For risk of spoilers, lets just leave it at that.

Though I’m not the intended target audience for this book, I can definitely appreciate it for its beautifully evocative writing and the continuous way it tugged at my heartstrings. It was a captivating YA novel that felt all too real; Gemma’s voice seemed almost painfully conflicted at times and I think that’s the way that the story has left me feeling too, even a while after finishing it. After everything that Ty put Gemma through, a part of me still feels sorry for him which is part of the brilliance of Lucy Christopher’s writing. Maybe there’s more to that Stockholm Syndrome thing than I thought…

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One response to “Review: Stolen- a letter to my captor; Lucy Christopher

  1. Pingback: December Reading Analysis | my good bookshelf·

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