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Stolen Paperback – April 1, 2012
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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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Ty, without a doubt, makes this book come alive- he's the catalyst, alpha and omega, love interest, villain and maybe, even, hero. He's also vulnerable and shockingly child like with intense, over large emotions. Sometimes, he made me feel like a tepid, watered down human- too far removed from myself with the heavy, noise of modern life. He was always saving/stealing something or other and his entire adult life was geared towards saving/stealing Gemma, but I kept wondering who was going to save Ty. Maybe it was classic projection- he desperately needed a savior but all the people around him failed miserably, so he learned to save himself, and Gemma was the key to his completion.
Gemma, Gemma, Gemma. Sometimes I found myself frustrated with her, resenting her, even. What an amazing author Lucy Christopher is! If it's possible, i think she created a character and circumstance that managed to utterly mess me up. I'm suffering vicarious and fictional Stockholm Syndrome, because I deeply care and empathize with Ty, even to the point where I sometimes felt annoyed or upset with Gemma for her behavior towards him. That's all kinds of f'ed, if you know what I mean, but true nonetheless. However, I feel like it lessens the very real connection and emotion these two characters experienced, even if it is out of the realm of my full comprehension.
There's more to this book than meets the eye, a lot more than I have time or eloquence to expand on right now (although it's our next book club selection, so I'll be belaboring on its merits far more in the future).
"Stolen" is profound, heartachingly beautiful and deceptively slow (I'd say thorough and exploring) but incredibly rewarding. We are far too desensitized anymore, greedy for empty flash and pomp, that we can't even appreciate works lacking grandiose melodrama. Yes, while it has grand, dramatic elements, that isn't this story at its core.