From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up While 16-year-old Gemma is en route to Vietnam from England with her parents, she is drugged and kidnapped from the Bangkok airport. She regains full consciousness in a rustic house deep in the Australian Outback with a 25-year-old man who is going to keep her forever. Ty never sexually abuses her, but she is truly a captive. Little by little, Ty wears down her defenses as Gemma realizes that escape is impossible. Soon she discovers the stark power and vibrancy of the wilderness and becomes absorbed in it. She also learns that Ty has been stalking her for years, devising a crafty plan to steal her away to make her love him which she ultimately believes she does. Ty's capture, taming, and release of a female camel effectively parallels Gemma's ordeal. Her unique first-person narrative is written to Ty after her release. Both characters are as vivid as the desert setting in which they are immersed. Despite the fact that Ty is a kidnapper, the revelations about his difficult youth and his usually caring behavior allow readers, like Gemma, to eventually care about him. Disturbing, heartbreaking, and beautiful all at once, this book is the antithesis of the situational horror in Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl
(S & S, 2008). Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO
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Drugged and kidnapped from her parents at the Bangkok airport, English teen Gemma wakes to find herself in the weirdly beautiful but desolate Australian outback. Her only company is her captor, a handsome young Australian named Ty, who is obsessed with her. Indeed, he tells her that he has been watching her since she was a child and now plans to keep her with him forever. Told in the form of a letter Gemma is writing to Ty, Christopher’s first novel is a complex psychological study that is also a tribute to the hypnotic beauty of the outback, which Ty passionately loves and feels has been “stolen” by those who would exploit it for gain. Though Gemma at first hates both her kidnapper and the landscape, she gradually begins to warm toward both. Some readers may feel the novel is weighted down by too much symbolism (if the outback is Edenic, watch out for a serpent!) and find Ty to be too sympathetic a character, but at the same time these potential drawbacks offer ample opportunity for thought and discussion. Grades 9-12. --Michael Cart