It’s been a busy couple of weeks but I’ve finally finished ‘Stolen’ by Lucy Christopher. I know many readers LOVE this book, so I feel apprehensive about writing this review. I had high hopes for this book, and sadly it disappointed me so much. Basically, the book is about Gemma, a teenage girl from Britain who is drugged and kidnapped in an airport. Her captor, Ty, takes her to an Australian desert hideout, where he admits to following her for years and demands that she lives with him there ‘forever’. In his messed up state, Ty believes he has saved Gemma, rather than stolen her. The entire book is written in a form of a letter from Gemma to Ty. Check out a short book trailer here -àhttp://www.lucychristopher.com/stolen
By that description, sure the book sounds intriguing. Kidnapping and possible Stockholm syndrome caught my attention immediately. The beginning started off fast-paced too. After reading a good chunk of the book, I realized that Christopher omitted chapter titles— smart! Usually you stop yourself when you finish a chapter, but this format encouraged you to keep reading.
On a positive note, I applaud Christopher for making the reader feel just as confused as Gemma at times. Obviously, I wanted justice for Gemma, but as I learned more about Ty’s life and upbringing, I began to feel a bit of sympathy for him—frightening!
As the story progressed, I began to skip the long detailed passages of Australian Outback descriptions. Even though the book is relatively short, it was a struggle to finish the book. The writing just seemed to drag on about the desert and animals. Maybe it’s because I don’t live in Australia, nor ever visited, but I just don’t care about the emotional impact of the sand, rocks, sky, and blah blah blah…
I also did not like that there was no real satisfying climax or ending to the story. Ty’s and Gemma’s relationship never went anywhere, and nothing happened. The ending was boring, lacking edge.
I think that an opportunity to create a gripping read, with well-developed characters was there, but Stolen fell short. One reviewer even said the camel was the best character of the book! While I’m not sure I agree, I do think the book got more praise than it really deserved. What do you think?