Wednesday, July 3, 2013

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Title: Stolen:  A Letter to My Captor
Author: Lucy Christopher
Narrator: Emily Gray
Series: n/a
Publisher: Recorded Book
Publication Date: August 16, 2010
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost.

Sometimes, when the masses say that a book is a must-read and make you feel like a social pariah for not having read it yet, you should listen to them.  Such is the case with Lucy Christopher's Stolen.  I've had the hardcover since I snagged it cheap-like from Borders before it bit the big one, but as it wasn't on my review schedule, I kept putting it off.  I could literally kick myself in the face for not reading it the first time someone told me to.  (Well, I could if I was that flexible, but since I'm not a contortionist, I'll settle for a stiff reprimand.)

This book brings all the feels.  For an author to make you feel compassion toward not only the abducted party but also the kidnapper...that's powerful writing.  Was I supposed to like Ty?  Because I did.  At first, I felt kind of terrible about that fact.  This guy stole Gemma away from her family.  But he did so thinking he was doing her a favor, that her life was horrible before he swept her away to the Outback of Australia.  Or is that just what Ty wanted Gemma to perceive about the situation so that she'd be more open to the idea?  I still don't know.  I think he loved her...but I also think he was a very troubled young man.

And taking her to such a remote location?  The guy was prepared, but even being able to make his own anti-venom, no matter how sharp and attune to the situation he was, made him seem disturbed.  And no matter how prepared he thought he was, I don't think he was equipped for what the desolation would do to Gemma.  The isolated setting became a character itself, thanks to the lush descriptions of the flora and fauna inhabiting the area.  The prose was so evocative, that I downed bottle of water after bottle of water to quench my parched throat during the scenes where Gemma was wandering the desert with little water of her own.  I think dying of thirst might be one of the worst ways to go, especially as Gemma described it as it was becoming a very real possibility for her.

Still, through it all, Ty cared for Gemma...physically and emotionally.  And it should have been a clue that things were about to go south when Gemma started to see him as less of a threat, but maybe I was suffering from Stockholm syndrome along with her.  But toward the end of the letter, I felt disenchanted and disconnected from the situation again, and it was easy to see that the situation played out in the only way that it could have...or at least should have.

I'm making my sister listen to this book now.  She likes "issue" books, and this novel definitely delves into some tough subject matter.  But I also recommended it based on the narration.  It's pretty much two characters for the majority of the novel, and though the story was told only from Gemma's POV through a letter to Ty, it was impressive how Ty's character shined through the narration, as well.  Two distinct accents, two distinct characters, and a conglomeration of feelings.

I can't believe it took me so long to experience this book, but it's one that will get read again and again.  What is it about those Aussie authors that just sends my heart into palpitations?

Rating:  photo 5-1.png

About the author:

Lucy Christopher was born in Wales but grew up in Australia. She obtained an Undergraduate degree at Melbourne University. She moved to the UK to earn a distinction in a Creative Writing MA from Bath Spa University. The novel she wrote for this class, The Long Flight, was picked up by a publisher under a new name of FLYAWAY.

Lucy’s debut novel, Stolen, was written as part for her PhD degree. Stolen explores her thoughts on the Australian desert through the story about a teenage girl who is kidnapped and taken there.

Lucy is working on another teen novel. When she is not writing, Lucy spends her time daydreaming, emailing friends and horseback riding a mare named Topaz as well as helping to run a kid’s wildlife group at Newport Wetlands.

Find Sarah:

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  1. I read this one, and thought it was sort of mesmerizing while I was reading it, but I ended up reading Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl right after Stolen and the two make a strange contrast in approach to kidnappings. (it's much darker)and now they are tied together in my head.
    I agree on the aussie writer's, so many greats!

  2. I hadn't paid much attention to this although I've noticed it popping up in my Goodreads feed a lot. This sounds like an awesome audio book though and I'm definitely going to grab it. Wonderful review!

  3. Oh my gosh. I read the synopsis a while ago and was like "this book makes me nervous" because like you said, I wonder if I'm really supposed to like/sympathize with the captor and ultimately I will, but I'll feel horrible about it. But I will now be reading it thanks to you (I love the fact that it has FEELS because some issue books don't have those) Love the review!

  4. I read this book awhile ago and also gave it five stars. It just seems so real. I agree with you, the writing in this is fantastic, she makes you feel ALL the emotions. Ty was getting to me as well, but I like how the author took the realistic way out and they didn't end up all "Happily Ever After." It is open ended and I like that. Great review :)

  5. Okay, I'm sure I should try this. I've known about this book for quite a while. The whole kidnapping thing is just disturbing to me, but I know that book has received amazing reviews. Maybe I'll try it on a bright summer day, when it seems like nothing bad could possibly happen….

    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

  6. Yes, I must read this. I like issue books too, and I just may need to follow your lead and go the audio route as well. :)

  7. I LOVED this one :D It was composed so differently than what I'm used to. It was amazing(:
    Great review!

  8. I've been meaning to pick this one up, but just never have. It sounds interesting and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Great review!

  9. This book was insightful and held my interest the entire time. I actually read it back in high school and remembered liking it quite a bit so I reread it. I wasn't disappointed and it makes you really contemplative.

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  10. "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.

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