Rummanah Aasi
  When I reviewed Megan McCafferty's Bumped for the Cornucopia of Dystopia blog tour, I claimed it to be the most disturbing book I've read in 2011. I stand corrected. Lucy Christopher's debut and Printz honoree title, Stolen, let me speechless and had me thinking for days. This book was so frightening that I couldn't deal with reading it by myself and began telling coworkers just to distance myself from it. I was hooked from the start of Stolen and I can definitely see why it was listed as a Printz contender.

Description: Gemma, a British sixteen year old, is abducted while on vacation with her parents by a somewhat familiar stranger and taken to the Australian outback, where she soon realizes that escape attempts are futile. During her captivity, she learns that her captor is not as despicable as she first believed.

Review: Stolen at its core is an edge of your seat thriller. With recent news stories about kids, particularly girls, being abducted and held against their wills, we are reminded that Stolen is something that could very well happen which makes it even more horrifying.
  As our story begins, Gemma is en route to Vietnam from England with her parents with a layover at the Bangkok airport, where she meets the mysterious boy named Ty, who she believes has met before. Ty asks Gemma to a cup of coffee with him and within a few minutes, she is drugged, supplied with a new passport and clothes. When Gemma regains consciousness, she is in a rustic house deep in the Australian Outback tied to the bed with ropes with Ty who is going to "keep her forever" and "save her from the same troubles he faced".
  Though Ty never sexually abuses her, Gemma is truly a captive, stripped from vital necessities. After several escape attempts fail, Ty wears down her defenses as Gemma realizes that escape is impossible though she tries to persuade Ty to let her go or at least visit a town with people. After what feels like an eternity, Gemma begins to discover the stark power and vibrancy of the wilderness and becomes absorbed in it. She also learns how Ty orchestrated his master plan in "saving her".
  Christopher's writing is taut, beautiful, haunting, and disturbing at the same time. The book is written in a series of letters from Gemma to Ty, where she dutifully records every single incident from the beginning to the end of their journey. Her letters are urgent, especially with addressing Ty as "you" only. In addition to the fabulous writing, Christopher also zeroes in the complex psychological study that is also a reflection of the hypnotic beauty of the outback, which Ty passionately loves and feels has been “stolen” by those who would exploit it for gain. There are many symbolism and metaphors throughout the book, which some may be a bit too forced but I was captivated by the whole novel to really not notice.
  Though a thriller generally relies on a good plot, Stolen is much more of a character driven story. Gemma is a likeable character who we immediately feel sorry for. As she slowly begins to learn how Ty orchestrated his grand scheme, she realizes that he 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. It is as if Gemma never really had a chance to escape from Ty at all.
  Ty is simply a psychopath. Christopher gives us enough back story to his character and glimpses of his weaknesses that we can try to understand how his twisted mind works. After learning a bit about him, I couldn't forgive Ty for drugging, kidnapping, and violating Gemma's human rights nor do I think that's Christopher's point. I think we were shown how twisted and manipulative Ty's mindset is, because to him, Ty did nothing but love Gemma.
  Speaking of love, there is no such romance in this book not even an inkling. I was appalled to read comments from some readers who expressed how Gemma fell in love with Ty or how they wished Ty could drug and kidnap them. I don't know how you define romance but to me drugging, kidnapping and being denied your basic human rights does not equal a love story. That being said, I think Stolen would be an excellent book club choice for teens and should be read by mature high school students readers due to its disturbing and adult themes.

Rating: 5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, drug use, kidnapping, and other mature themes in the book. Recommended for Grades 10 and up.

If you like this book try: Girl, Stolen by April Henry or Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
10 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Wow. This book sounds really intense, you wrote an outstanding review Rummanah! I like that we get enough of a back story on Ty so that we understand a bit more about him even though there's no way we could fully understand the way his mind works. I need to read this on asap!

  2. Sash and Em Says:

    really want to start reading this one but hesitant that format will make it a little weird.

    new review.

    Check out the GREAT GIVEAWAYS we have going on right now.

  3. Lauren M Says:

    *shudders* This book sounds very powerful, but kind of scary (it's funny how the scariest things are the things that could actually happen). I've been meaning to give Stolen a try; thanks for reminding me how great it is! :)

  4. This sounds fabulous! I loved Girl, Stolen. This sounds even more intense. And maybe not as intense or dark as Living Dead Girl. Or was it?

  5. Unknown Says:

    Ooo, I like the sound of this one. From your five star review, I can only imagine it will be awesome. Thanks, Rummanah!

  6. Yes! Exactly. Nothing about this book was 'romantic' to me. Ty was a psychopath, and I never felt sorry for him.

    It's terrifying to think that any young girls who read this book might find being kidnapped romantic or that they'd have a choice on whether their bodies would be violated.

    Excellent and thoughtful review, Rummanah.

  7. Nat Says:

    Excellent review! I have been debating reading this one and am now adding it to my list. Thanks!!

  8. So glad you loved this! Stolen is one of my favourites. I really like how Christopher wrote such complex characters :)

  9. Jenny: Aww, thanks! This book is totally warped and gave me goosebumps the entire time!

    Sash and Em: I didn't find the format weird, but it definitely drew me in and I couldn't put the book down.

    Lauren: Totally! I was always on edge like Gemma the entire time wondering what Ty would do next.

    Alison: Other reviews have claimed this to be less disturbing than "Living Dead Girl" but I haven't read Scott's book yet to give my opinion.

    Hafsah: Your welcome! I hope you check it out.

    Missie: Absolutely! I kept waiting for that hint of "romance" to come and it doesn't. There's even a point where Ty tells Gemma his feelings but there's complete silence from her. I have no clue what those girls see as romance and it really freaks me out!

    Kelli: Thank you! I can't wait to read your thoughts on this one.

    Nic: Yes, I loved the characters and the complexity to the story.

  10. UK Says:

    This book was absoloutly amazing. I couldnt put it down. although the majority of the book takes place in one spot, you can never guess what's going to happen next. I fell in love with not only the book, but the two main characters in it! The ending was very unexpected and I couldnt believe what I was reading! I definently recommend this book to any one who is looking for an easy read that is suspenceful and heart throbbing!

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