“You saw me before I saw you. In the airport, that day in August, you had that look in your eyes, as though you wanted something from me, as though you’d wanted it for a long time. No one had ever looked at me like that before, with that kind of intensity. It unsettled me, surprised me I guess.”
Arguing with your parents in an airport in Bangkok during the summer holidays; normal. Talking to a random guy in a coffee shop in that same airport; normal. That guy dropping something in your coffee and taking you away from the airport; not normal. Gemma was confused, taken from everything she knows and the guy who took her claiming to know her, to love her, and that time together in the Australian desert will make her grow to love him too. Gemma was stolen and she couldn’t see a way out. This is her letter to her captor.
I knew that Stolen was going to be a powerful read. It had been on my wishlist for years and years, I can remember first seeing it on the shelves in my local bookstore, but I hadn’t read it until now, maybe because I knew it would unsettle me, that is was not the happy story that many people want from their contemporary reads.
The story is heartbreaking, heavy and honest. There is an air of the connection that Gemma makes with her kidnapper even from the start, that idea that she hates him but at the same time can’t hate him... The tone clearly indicates that it was all thought of in hindsight, that Gemma is still confused about it all but she isn’t as terrified as she probably was at the time. I liked though that everything was done in a linear way and even the past was brought up in conversation rather than Gemma actually remembering it.
The book is written in the style of a letter, from Gemma to her captor. I liked that as it meant the it was more personal... more I’s and you’s rather than the names and it helped me keep Ty at a distance, like you would want to if you knew him. It also gave me hope, hope that Gemma made it out of that horrible place and that she was ok... the ending was perfect for me and I loved how it didn’t really occur to me as an option until very late on in the story.
Stolen is very much about Gemma and Ty, you find out a little about their past but its mainly their present that is explored. This helped a lot and as the book went on you really got the connection between them. The stockholm syndrome idea is explored well and even transferred over to the reader in a way because I didn’t blame Ty for what he did... I wanted to hate him, I knew it was wrong, but he was a kind and loving person who just had a few problems... even if they were pretty major ones!
I am so glad that I’ve finally managed to read this book after diliberating over it for some many years. The subject matter is tough but as you read it and you get to know the characters there are things that make it easier to read. I loved Gemma and I liked that she showed a lot of strength when it came to certain things, even if sometimes she appeared to be stubborn.
Stolen was first published in 2009 by Chicken House. To celebrate its success and to coincide with Lucy Christopher’s new book, The Killing Woods, Chicken House released the book on September 5th. My copy was sent to me in exchange for an honest review on lovereading4kids.co.uk.
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