Review: Stolen: A letter to my captor

Stolen: A letter to my captor
Lucy Christopher
Chicken House
May 2009

Gemma, like most sixteen year olds, doesn’t always get along with her parents. In the Bangkok airport, she’s seeking temporary solace from them at a coffee shop when a handsome stranger buys her a cup of coffee. When she wakes up in isolated house in the desolate Australian Outback, that cup of coffee is the last thing she can remember. The handsome stranger, Ty, has stolen her away from her family to live with him in the middle of nowhere. He’s chosen her; he loves her. Gemma tries desperately to escape, but the wilderness of the Outback is impenetrable. Trapped alone with Ty, hundreds of miles from civilization, can his patience and love wear her down? Will she come to love him back?

I think that Stolen might be my favorite of this year’s Printz winners (to be fair, I haven’t read Revolver yet). It’s written as a letter from Gemma to Ty, and Christopher does an amazing job of putting the character inside Gemma’s head. I felt her desperation, fear and confusion. I’ve heard people describe this as a book about Stockholm syndrome (a psychological condition when the kidnapped come to identify with their captors). I don’t want to be to spoiler-y, but I will say that I find that a pat way of describing the strange and complex relationship between Gemma and Ty. I didn’t want to like Ty, but I found it impossible to see him as only a villain – that ambiguity is the heart of what makes this book great.

The other really awesome thing about this book is the setting. Christopher makes the Outback seems beautiful yet terrifying – I’ve never wanted to visit a place that also seemed so horrible. The desert is the book’s third main character. The way Ty and Gemma relate to the land plays an important role in the story and figures strongly into the way they relate to each other.

Definitely recommended for its beautiful, evocative descriptions and for the way it sticks with you, leaving you to ponder the characters long after you’ve finished it.

2 thoughts on “Review: Stolen: A letter to my captor

  1. Hello – I’ve found you via CPD23Things, and I love your reviews! I also read ‘Stolen’ and enjoyed it for the same reasons, particularly the force of the Australian Outback. I haven’t had a setting come through so strongly in a while, and you’ve described it perfectly as the “third main character.”

    I look forward to following more of your reading! (I may have to steel myself to attempt ‘Nothing’, however).

    • Hey, thanks for commenting, and I’m glad you like the reviews 🙂 If you read Nothing you’ll have to come back and let me know what you think!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s