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Stolen Paperback – April 1, 2012
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ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults
A 2011 USBBY Outstanding International Book
“Complicated and beautiful -- this novel left me doubting my emotions and missing a place I'd never been.” -- Maggie Stiefvater
“All the tension of lightning, all the terror of thunder. A stunning, scary, and beautiful book.”-- John Marsden
* “An emotionally raw thriller…a haunting account of captivity and the power of relationships.” -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Disturbing, heartbreaking, and beautiful all at once.” -- School Library Journal
“A complex psychological study that is also a tribute to the hypnotic beauty of the Outback.” -- Booklist
“Taut suspense and a riveting plot in a haunting setting.” -- Kirkus
“Has a veracity and immediacy that rivets the reader to the page. Fascinating, disturbing...” -- Voice of Youth Advocates
"Complicated and beautiful -- this novel left me doubting my emotions and missing a place I'd never been." -- Maggie Stiefvater
"All the tension of lightning, all the terror of thunder. A stunning, scary, and beautiful book." -- John Marsden
"A vivid new voice for teens." -- Melvin Burgess
TheDailyBeast.com, “10 Hot Young Adult titles” roundup, September 16, 2010
BCCB, review, June 2010
“[A]n interesting book for examining what obsessive Twilight-style approaches to love can mean in a real-life context…Readers who can't get enough of Cormier's classic After the First Death will find this induces both shivers and thought.”
Booklist, review, March 15, 2010
“Christopher's first novel is a complex psychological study that is also a tribute to
the hypnotic beauty of the outback.”
Kirkus, review, April 15, 2010
“From its compelling opening, the novel delivers taut suspense and a riveting plot in a haunting setting.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review, April 12, 2010
“Christopher's debut is an emotionally raw thriller…fast-paced novel…It's a haunting account of captivity and the power of relationships.”
School Library Journal, review, June 2010
“Disturbing, heartbreaking, and beautiful all at once, this book is the antithesis of the situational horror in Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl.”
VOYA, review, June 2010
“Stolen has a veracity and immediacy that rivets the reader to the page. Vivid descriptions of the Sandy Desert combine with Gemma's emotional turmoil to evoke a sense of danger. This fascinating, disturbing novel should appeal to teens fourteen and older.”
About the Author
- Publisher : Chicken House; Reprint edition (April 1, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 054517094X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0545170949
- Reading age : 14 years and up
- Lexile measure : HL570L
- Grade level : 9 and up
- Item Weight : 9.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #19,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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However this book was so different than anything I ever expected, and so much better. It almost reads like a true story of a kidnapping. The the book is written from the POV of the heroine Gemma as a letter to Ty, the man that took her. It is in chronological order from right before she is kidnapped from the Bangkok airport as she is traveling with her parents and has an argument with them while they wait near the gate for their plane.
Gemma goes to an airport coffee shop to cool down and since it is full, she ends up sitting with a hands on guy after he pays for her drink when she doesn’t have any Bangkok currency. The man is Ty and he drugs her coffee and takes her outside behind some bushes and helps her change clothes and then smuggles her onto a different flight claiming she had too much to drink.
I don’t want to give away any more than that other than to say she hates him, but then eventually comes to understand and need him, possibly even have feelings for him. Ty is an odd character who is both a gentleman and a captor at times. Though he does want Gemma to want to be with him. So he gives her a separate bedroom and sometimes lets her have her way, but in the end it is only to teach her a lesson when she doesn’t believe the things he tells her and how dangerous it can be.
I was in tears at some points, because of her struggles and the fact that I genuinely liked Ty and felt bad for him when she would say certain things that would hurt his feelings. He really just loves Gemma and wants her to see the beauty of the land and to love him back. I really ended up hoping for that to happen.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
I was a little disappointed with this book; people have really raved about how brilliant it is. Don't get me wrong: it is a good book, but it isn't revolutionary. It's the writing I had an issue with, it felt banal and not very well thought through. The plot was really interesting though, and gave me a real insight to how an individual can become attached to their captor. Ty's obsession reaches the absolute height of creepiness, but Gemma's response to him was actually believable. I wanted to read on after the ending.
So, a very good premise and plot, let down by, what often seemed like, sloppy writing. It feels like Christopher may have needed more help from her editor, but I seem to be in a minority thinking this.
I bought you home and you haunted my thoughts. Whenever my eyes looked over my bookshelf, your white spine stood out the most begging to be read. I obliged. I couldn't keep my hands off you. I'd read many emotional novels but you truly were the icing on the cake. You deal a low blow leaving the reader even more confused than the main protagonist herself. Even now I can't fathom what you were trying to tell me. I don't know whether to believe Gemma was suffering from Stockholm syndrome or not. You put me right into her place. You stole me away to a land far away from my home, you locked me up in your world where no outsiders could get to me and then you made me feel. I felt so many emotions towards you but I could never get past that fondness and love that was blooming in my chest. No matter how much you emotionally scarred me, I knew you were showing me the real you. That under all the ink and paper there was a person hurting, suffering from something that happened long ago. You didn't mean to hurt me, you just wanted to be loved. The thing is the line between love and hate is very thin and at times I didn't know which side of that line I belonged on. I was in the exact same place as Gemma, you'd manipulated my feelings for you, or had you? Was I just learning to accept you for who you really were?
My dear, Stolen, you were set out to ruin me from the start. I'd heard how heartbreaking you were but I didn't realise the true extent of those words. You made me feel so much more than a novel has ever made me feel before, you took my heart and shattered it but then you began to put it back together, you tried to save me before the ultimate blow but I'm now just as heartbroken as before. Oh Stolen you've made a complete mess of me and even now I'm none the wiser. Now we have finished, you taunt me, you're always there but out of reach. The thing is do i reach for you and love you again or do I turn away and move on with my life as if you never existed? As if you never stole me at the start? I have so many questions that need answers but you can no longer give them to me as I've turned the final page.
Our journey may be over but you will continue to haunt my dreams. Stolen, Thank you for stealing my heart.
There's my attempt at writing in a similar style of the book. Guys I hope I conveyed the truly emotional state this book left me in correctly. It's one book that everyone should read, It really makes you question yourself and those around you. I loved this book and it will always have a place in my heart.
The story is centred around Gemma, a 17 year old girl, traveling with her parents. When she sets out to buy a cup of coffee, she meets 25 year old Ty. He is hansom and funny, with little resistance Gemma takes him up on his offer to drink a cup of coffee with her. Drugging her drink, he takes her away to a sandy dessert in Australia. A place so isolated and deprived of any human existence. While the story unfolds Gemma learns that Ty has planned this for many years. He has been watching her almost all her life and he has their future all planned out.
This novel is written in a very clever way. That might sound a bit weird, but Lucy Christopher knows how to play her readers. You can really identify with Gemma. In the beginning of the story you fight Ty together with her. And believe me Gemma puts up a big fight! She is not an easy victim and she tries to escape every chance she gets. She hates her captor and she makes that very clear to him. Eventually little cracks start to form in Gemma’s foundation. Ty opens up to her and Gemma lets him get closer. In a subtle way Lucy Christopher lets you experience a mild form of Stockholm syndrome yourself. I was just as confused as Gemma was about Ty. On the one hand you want to hate him for all the things he has done. You know you should hate him. But on the other hand he treats Gemma with such kindness and respect. My head (and Gemma’s head) knew it was wrong, but my heart didn’t seem to agree.
The story is written as a long letter from Gemma to Ty. She tells him her story from the moment she looks into his piercing blue eyes for the first time till the end. And what an ending it was. In the end of her novel Gemma discusses two possible endings. Which one she eventually chooses is left a little bit in the middle. And I was ripped into pieces. Because whatever ending Gemma chooses, I would have understood.
Written in the form of a letter from Gemma to Ty, the writing is raw and intense, and Gemma’s plight, her dreams of her family and friends are heart-wrenching. But the cleverness of this book is the sympathy that the reader starts to gradually feel towards Ty as the story progresses – and through this sympathy Ms. Christopher is also demonstrating the psychological phenomenon Stockholm Syndrome – feelings of empathy towards Ty, even to the point of defending his actions are classic symptoms.
And I admit, I did feel sorry for Ty – his story is revealed through the course of Stolen, and although he is obviously seriously disturbed, his childhood and adult life do give some insight into his thinking and state of mind.
The descriptions of the house where Gemma was kept and the harsh beauty of the surrounding landscape were written so well that I could completely imagine the setting in my mind, and for me evoked memories of when I have travelled through the Australian outback – the endless horizons, the stark beauty and the colours that have to be seen to be believed.
For me, Stolen was one of those books that followed me everywhere for the two days I was reading it, either physically or mentally and it’s taken me two more days to get my thoughts straight enough to put down in writing. Stolen is an emotional and slightly disturbing read, but also provides an interesting insight into the mind of a kidnapping victim. I highly recommend this one!