Book Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Okay, only one more book review after this one! Promise!
Title: Stolen (GoodReads)
Author: Lucy Christopher
Page Count: 301
Genre: Literary YA
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.
I really wanted to like this book. The summary sounded really interesting – in a sick sort of way – and I wanted to read it immediately. I wanted to see if she would end up falling in love with her captor. I mean, I’ve read enough YA and NA with unhealthy relationships that I figured it might be interesting to read one that was supposed to be an unhealthy relationship.
Except, this book really wasn’t all that interesting. Maybe I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading more lit fic-y type books. I don’t need car chases or anything, but I need something more than “I lay in bed. He tries to talk to me. I yell at him. He goes away.” A lot of people have commented on the beautiful descriptions of Australia, but since I hate scenery descriptions, all of that did nothing for me except drag the book out even more. I think I was expecting more suspense. There were some moments when I was scared for her, of course, but I ended up believing that Ty wouldn’t hurt her pretty early on, so it was just sort of annoying and boring to watch.
I’m not really sure what to make of the characters. On the one hand, I’m glad that Gemma didn’t just immediately give in to this guy. She notices that he’s attractive, and she hates herself for it, but she doesn’t let his good looks or the fact that he keeps talking about how he’s “saving” her make her forget that he also kidnapped her. She fought back. She didn’t fight back particularly well or anything, but she tried, so I’ll give her credit for that. But then there’s also a moment where she stops trying, and there’s a sudden character shift about halfway through the novel (maybe more), and it was just sort of sudden and unexpected. I was expecting a more gradual change.
I also don’t know what to make of Ty, her kidnapper. I don’t know if I find him believable. He has no family and spent some time living on the street, but he has enough money to build this house in the middle of nowhere and fill it with enough supplies to last them years. And he has expensive medical supplies. And he’s really strong and good looking and kidnaps a girl that he’s been stalking for quite some time, but he’s also really patient with her and never tries to hurt her. But he does put wire around the land so she can’t escape, and he lies to her. So he’s nice to her but also kidnaps her. But maybe that is realistic. People do horrible things because they get it in their mind that it’s the right thing to do.
Really, this book left me with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I felt sorry for Ty, and I hated when Gemma was mean to him. On the other hand, he freaking kidnapped her, so of course she was mean to him. But we also never really saw any reason for Gemma to want to go back other than that’s where she was used to being. It seems as though she never really got along with her parents, and she doesn’t really like her friends, and her ex-boyfriend was a jerk. So I guess I could sort of understand why Ty thought he was saving her from all of that, even though he still had no right to do that.
I’ve been struggling to figure out how to rate this one because I’ve been left with so many confliction emotions. I know I should hate Ty because he kidnapped Gemma and that is wrong, wrong, wrong – but I also feel a bit sorry for him, and part of me was hoping that she would end up feeling the same way. But then I hated myself for feeling that way because, again, he’s a creepy stalker/kidnapper.
But now I’m thinking that that’s what I was supposed to be feeling. This book deals with Stockholm Syndrome, and I would say Christopher did a good job of making me understand more of what those people feel like. So, I’m going to say that all of those confused feelings that made me question whether or not I liked the book – I’m going to say that was the point. So the author was definitely successful in that respect – I just wish the rest of the book hadn’t been so boring.