on December 16, 2012
"How long will you keep me?" I asked.
You shrugged. "Forever, of course."
I honestly never had any intention of picking this up as I try and stay away from those books with the tough subjects but they always seem to find their way into my reading pile anyways. Plus, it's an Aussie read. I have to give it a shot for that alone. :) And despite the tough subject and despite the fact that it was a hard, emotional read, this book was well worth the read.
I really enjoyed the writing style, the whole thing written in letter form from Gemma to the man who stole her away from her life, Ty. It's natural to dislike Ty and I totally did... at first. Forget sympathizing or caring about the hardships he went through; he kidnapped a 16 year-old girl, drugged her, and had planned it all out to the point that he had a new ID and passport ready to get her on a plane to Australia. This was not a spontaneous decision. No, this was a plan that had been in the making for many, many years. I found it amazing (and shocking) the amount of time and energy he spent into making this whole plan work. He built a house in the middle of the Australian desert and stocked it with enough supplies for them to survive together for a very long time. It was honestly quite scary if you really think about it.
But, as time progressed Gemma slowly began to warm up to him. She saw a different side of him that she couldn't help but like. And dammit, I began to like him too despite the other half of my brain trying to remain rational and recognize the situation for what it was. Kidnapping aside, (yes, I know, that's a pretty big thing to brush off) I think the sole reason I gained a soft spot for him was I truly believed he cared for Gemma. Even before he kidnapped her from the airport he was watching over her (yes, I know, that's stalking) and actually saved her from a pretty grave situation that she wasn't even fully aware of. As Gemma states, 'What you did to me wasn't this brilliant thing, like you think it was.' And it wasn't, despite his best intentions and even though he truly thought that he was saving her, it was still wrong. Despite loving the letter style of writing I think it would have been even more brilliant as a dual-narrative; I would have loved to get a glimpse of everything that was happening from Ty's point of view.
Definitely one of those books that sneak up on you emotionally. You have no idea how invested you are in what happens for these characters until it's all over and you realize how much you had been hoping for that happily-ever-after type ending. The ending, while I wouldn't call it perfect, was definitely fitting and managed to make the whole story even more plausible.
Emotional and powerful, Stolen is a thought-provoking story that will have you questioning right and wrong and the grey areas in between.
'And, let's face it, you did steal me. But you saved my life, too. And somewhere in the middle, you showed me a place so different and beautiful, I can never get it out of my mind. And I can't get you out of there, either. You're stuck in my brain like my own blood vessels.'
on July 29, 2010
THREE QUICK POINTS
*Point 1: Slow. No, that's not right. In fact, a new word needs to be coined because "slow" (and all its various synonyms) is inadequate.
*Point 2: The camel won. It was the only character that felt genuine. Ty came close, but meh. Let's not start on Gemma.
*Point 3: A twisted love story. Still, it was an interesting take on the evolution of Stockholm syndrome.
Sixteen year old Gemma Toombs is stolen from the Bangkok airport and brought to Middle of Nowhere, Australia by a man named Ty. During her captivity, Ty explains how they'll have a perfect life together away from the evils of the city. Gemma protests, and then after a late-night epiphany, she decides that Ty is only marginally insane and that she's in love. Theirs, however, is a complicated love and it comes with its own set of problems.
Let me say up front: This review is hard to write. I wanted so much to love Stolen. So much. But, oh Sweet Mother of All Things Good, the narrative was bad. (Typing that broke my heart a little, but it needed to come out.)
For me, how a story is told is just as important as the story itself--sometimes more so. Stolen is told from the 2nd person POV as a letter from Gemma to Ty. The narrative was more arid than the desert landscape it depicted; it meandered and drifted between various shades of lavender to purple. And at the end a justification was offered for the narrative choice, but it didn't redeem the book, not one iota.
Of all the characters, I only cared about the camel. It was the only one who felt genuine. When she was left behind, I almost cried...almost. And if you force me to pick a human character to like, it would be Ty (yes, the mentally unstable kidnapper) because the only emotion Gemma ignited in me was apathy. I wanted to feel for her, and right when I thought I would, the writing got in the way.
Ultimately Stolen is a powerful story drowned by stodgy writing and though it may seem like it, I didn't hate this book--I just wish it were written differently. If you truly want to read it, it's best borrowed from a friend or checked out from the library.
on June 4, 2010
On a layover at the Bangkok Airport, sixteen year old Gemma encounters a man she is certain she has seen time and time again on her various travels across the globe. Gemma, in her daze over the stranger's dazzling blue eyes, is drugged and essentially "Stolen" by this seemingly charming man named Ty. Ty takes her to the Australian desert where Gemma wakes up and realizes what has happened. With no one around for miles, Gemma has to learn to deal with her captor and the harsh surroundings where they live. The book is written as a letter to Ty from Gemma.
I really wanted to love this book but I just couldn't. Gemma's point of view is a little too cold and distant. I didn't really feel any strong ties to her character. I wasn't that concerned with what happened to her as much as I was interested in what Ty planned to do with her. I don't really think it's a good thing when you are reading a novel and hoping something bad will happen to the main character...but, that is how it was for me with Stolen. At first, I was intrigued by Gemma and her way with words, but I soon found her a bit dry and boring. I was also confused over where the author was going with the Ty/Gemma relationship and I felt very, very uncomfortable with the stolkholm syndrome scenarios and general plotline. It creeped me out-but not in a good way that made me want to keep reading. It was actually, for the first time in a while for me, a struggle to finish.
I think Stolen is a nice wake up call to young girls who might be a little naive and unaware of the dangers of talking to strangers, but it didn't sit well with me. I really didn't enjoy it. I do give the author props though for trying the idea out and I think it will find an audience that DOES love it. However, that audience does not include myself.
on September 5, 2011
I'm split on how to rate this book. I love the idea - it's interesting and unique, an important story. The format (writing this in the form of a letter to Ty) is a great idea, too. I thought it would be hard to read, considering Gemma is addressing Ty, but that wasn't a problem - I got used to the format quickly. For some reason, though, I just couldn't get into Stolen.
The beginning of Stolen, in my opinion, is too slow. Not the very beginning, when Ty kidnaps Gemma - that part is still interesting. But then, in the next 100 pages or so, nothing happens. Of course I understand the development couldn't have started right away - obviously Gemma couldn't develop feelings for Ty right after he captures her. I don't know how you could solve that problem, but that part bored me to no end. So many things happen every day and are described every day, and I think that could have been shortened a bit. The extensive descriptions of the desert are a bit too detailed in my opinion, too.
Later on, the plot picks up, but I still had problems with the characters and the writing. I didn't get the style. I can't explain what it is, but I just didn't like the writing. Maybe becuase this isn't really a novel, it's a letter, but I still thnk it should be written like fiction.There's nothing special, beautiful, or insightful about it, which I think really would have helped the story.
For me, the characters are hard to understand. At first Gemma is easy to relate to. She reacts how anyone in her situation would react - she's scared and angry. But I just didn't get her feelings for Ty, probably because I didn't like Ty. I know he was supposed to grow on me, and I was supposed to feel for him. I did enjoy finding out about his past, but it just wasn't enough to make me understand him or justify what he does. Except for very few scenes, he just stayed the sick abductor, in my mind. What he does is crazy: he stalked a girl for six years, followed her everywhere since she was ten years old, and kidnaps her to bring her to the desert, where he wants her to live with him, alone, and to love him. I just couldn't get over that, even after finding about what happened to him as a child. I still don't get why he would want to force her to live with him in the desert, if all he wanted was company and love.
That made Gemma's character hard to understand, too. Her feelings for Ty, in my opinion, develop too quickly. I know I'm completely contradicting what I said earlier about the beginning being too slow, but I wanted that middle part, where Gemma's feelings change, to be elaborated on more. Like this, as far as I understand, there are only three stages: 1. she hates him, 2. she admints he's hot, and 3. she loves him. That just isn't enough for me to understand their relationship.
I also would have liked to know more about Gemma's life at home. Her relationship with her parents, with Anna and Ben, with Josh - I didn't feel like I got any of them, really.
I feel bad for giving Stolen only two stars, since I really do love the idea. However, I had problems with almost all aspects of the execution, mainly becauseI didn't understand Ty or Gemma's feelings for him. That made the whole book kind of hard for me to get through. But I've read other reviews saying they were able to relate to them and feel Gemma's inner conflict, so decide for yourself whether this is a book for you!
on March 19, 2013
Rating: 1.5 stars
I wanted to love this book. I really did. Between all the rave reviews I've read on Goodreads and its blurb, it seemed like a book I was sure to fall in love with. It didn't happen, though. Instead, the book was a huge letdown.
My biggest problem, I think, was the way the book was written. It's written as a letter by Gemma to her captor, Ty. It didn't read like a letter to me, not really. Gemma recounts the events of the time she spent with Ty... to him. It was odd and really took away from the story. I remember thinking over and over again that writing a letter to Ty to tell him what happened was redundant. He already knew what had happened. It just seemed weird and it wasn't done well at all.
I didn't care for or connect with Gemma or Ty. I found them to be dull and boring characters. Frankly, I didn't care what happened to either of them. The only one I cared for, at all, was the camel.
I couldn't recommend this book to anyone. It felt like a waste of time and I was really disappointed.
on February 7, 2014
Stolen: A Letter To My Captor
This story is exactly what the name implies - a letter written by a girl who had been abducted to the man who had taken her. It was interesting but I never really cared much for her. I actually had more emotion for the abductor but perhaps this is because of the letter format. Or perhaps because she is the luckiest girl on the planet who has ever been abducted. If I was ever taken, I would want it to be by this guy.
First, he's a good looking blond Australian with a perfect build and beautiful blue eyes. He was able to build a cabin all on his own. He does all the cooking, the house maintenance and takes care of the animals. Not once does he try to touch her inappropriately and she has the freedom to roam around as she pleases. She has to do nothing. This had to be written by a 16 year old girl as older women might see the benefits to this arrangement. I hate to make light of the situation but this guy is just too good to be true.
on April 25, 2016
This was an amazing book. I finished it in a day. Couldn't put it down. I was very skeptical over whether or not to get this because of the other mixed reviews but I was glad I took the plunge. I thought it was amazing and found myself rooting for him all along and by the end of the book I was nearly in tears over the surprise ending. Tears of happiness, or tears of sadness I just couldn't tell. Though it wasn't the ending I was expecting, nor wholeheartedly hoping for it leaves almost on a cliff hanger with room for you to decide what's going to happen after she finishes writing. I've recommended this book to all of my friends who enjoy a good realistic fiction and I've even gotten people thanking me for recommending it because they enjoy it. On the other end of the spectrum, ie, the people who don't enjoy the book, I understand where they're coming from though I can't personally picture myself disliking it. It's a little vague in some spots but so is nearly every book I've ever read and if you're trying to decide if you should try this book, I would say just try it and ignore the bad reviews (Along with the good ones) and go into it with an open mind and I'll bet you'll like it.
on July 6, 2011
When I read the summary for Stolen, I knew I wanted to read it. Plus, Stolen is told as a letter from Gemma to her captor Ty, the letter format made me want to read it even more. I had to know how Lucy Christopher had written this story and how it ended.
I want to start off by saying I LOVED that Stolen was told in letter form. It just added something to the story. During the letter, Gemma's questions to Ty asking him Why? had me wondering right along with her. Many things aren't answered during the book (many things regarding his own feelings and such), of course the big topics are brought up eventually. You get to learn about both of their pasts and I was particularly interested in Ty's past that would lead him to kidnap a girl.
I kept reading Stolen because I wanted...no NEEDED to know how it ended. Stolen is one of those books you weren't quite sure if the ending was going to wrap itself up neatly. I won't spoil it for you of course, I will say I was happy with how everything ended.
I mentioned above my reasoning for wanting to complete Stolen. I never had any type of emotional connection with the characters. I could understand both of them...their thoughts, feelings, and reasons (whether right or wrong), but...nothing. I wanted to have an emotional connection with Ty and Gemma, but it never came. I was disappointed I couldn't having any feelings towards them, I'm not sure why I couldn't.
Even though I didn't have any type of connection with these two characters, I still enjoyed reading Stolen. It's a story topic I've never read before and I thought Lucy Christopher did a great job of telling this story. Many people have connected and felt for both of these characters, so don't let my okay review for Stolen put you off of reading it.
on November 19, 2014
I read Stolen in a YA lit class in college and it absolutely messed me up, haha. I confess that I get intensely emotionally involved in just about every book I read, but Stolen got me unexpectedly and I found myself bawling for hours after I finished. While this book hints at Stockholm Syndrome, I fell like I am the one who developed it, not Gemma.
The premise really drew me in at first. A teenage girl is kidnapped in an airport. I'm in to that. But Christopher begins to blur the lines of morality almost immediately. For one, her kidnapper is a 24ish yr old cute boy who (mild spoiler) doesn't once try to touch her inappropriately. The way the kidnapper, Ty, is written is what what messed with me mentally. You are virtually forced to sympathize with him and love him in a way. I found myself hoping that Gemma would just accept her fate and stay with Ty forever willingly, which then made me feel guilty that I felt that way.
The setting is in the outback of Australia, literally in the middle of nowhere. Through Ty and his all-encompassing love for his land, gained such appreciation for the beauty of the land and mysticism of Australia. I think it is a beautiful, moving novel that turns the traditional kidnapper story on its head, causing the reader to think about it for days weeks or months later.
I am really curious as to what Christopher wants readers to take away from this novel, because I am still unsure of what I myself have taken away, other than possibly Stockholm Syndrome for Ty. It has made me question myself and why I had such a deep emotional reaction to the book. I can see how this could be a controversial book for young readers.
At any rate, it is an intriguing read that I had trouble putting down, with a fascinating kidnapper, a warped love story, a dear dear camel, a slightly annoying main character, and an ending that doesn't give you full closure but enough to feel complete, yet still a lot is left to the reader's imagination.
on May 28, 2011
*spoiler alert* Stolen, I can't believe you are over! What a riveting, heart wrenching, loving, angry, hating story you are. This story left me feeling so many conflicting emotions! Ty, he is wrong in what he does, and you hate him for it. I think what is the most bothersome, is that Ty grew up in a terrible environment, parents abandon him, He raises himself and has a warped since of love and certain aspects of reality.Then he goes on to make some really messed up choices. There are so many things I wish could have been different,I wish Ty and Gemme could have had a healthy relationship. You since if things had been different they might have had a chance. This story does make you care for Ty and you want him to find love and be loved. UUGH!! Gemme, what person wants to go through the nightmare that she did. She was strong, courageous and never gave up. You love her for her strength and humanity. Gemme will always be haunted by what happened to her because of Ty. Just like Ty will always be haunted by his past. What a tragedy! This may only be a story but for many out there it is a reality!