Before I get into this review, I'd just like to say that the lovely Amber from Books of Amber has let me ramble on about my favourite YA boys on her blog, so if you want to check that out, then please do! :D
May 4th 2009
Chicken House (Thank you muchily for sending me such a fantastic book!)
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.
Stolen is, undoubtedly, a hard book to read because of the controversial subject matter, but all the same, it is probably one of the most brilliant books I've read in a while.
The book is written entirely in the form of a letter to Ty, Gemma's kidnapper, and he is always referred to as 'you'. The second person was something I really enjoyed, and it was interesting to read about Ty like that. It felt like I was completely involved in the story.
Gemma was a character I really liked, and felt I could relate (minus the kidnapping...) But she reacted like how I'm sure most of us would if put in a similar situation. I felt Gemma's hate towards Ty at the beginning, and I felt the transformation from complete and utter loathing (which I think nobody can blame her for) into tolerance and ultimately love. I felt her confusion as to why Ty was treating her well, and why she began to like him, I felt her anger at him. I felt her desperate need to escape, and then her ultimate hopelessness. That the land had beaten her into staying.
Ty was the most interesting character of the book though. At first, I really didn't like him. He was a bit of an arse where I was concerned. He's just kidnapped a girl. But, he wasn't so bad. Sure, he had a few mood swings, and he was was a wee bit wrong in the head, but he'd had a terrible childhood. And I felt sorry for him, because he wasn't evil. He wasn't going to hurt Gemma. He was not a monster.
And I think that's what made this book so incredible. It made me question my morals. It made me think about kidnap, and not only about the kidnapee's or the laws view of it, but the kidnappers. It made me think about hpw badly these people may have been treated in their childhood, and how maybe they think that they're doing the 'right thing'. It made me question what the 'right thing' was. (Please note that I'm not sympathising with kidnappers. I am aware that the majority of them are still pretty f***ed up. But this book really made me think A LOT about the whole kidnapping thing, which isn't really something I've thought about before.) It also made me think about Stockholm Syndrome, and how it works. I've never know how it would be possible to love someone who'd taken you away from all you knew, but, I don't know... I'm just rambling.
I adored the setting, how the land was described. I never thought I'd love a book set in the Australian outback so much (I don't do hot places) but I loved that how the land first came across as being bleak and empty and dangerous, but as Gemma's view of her situation changed, so did her perception of the land. That even though it was a desert it was bursting with so much life. And the painting Ty did in the shed! It was so fabulous. I had such a great image of it all in my mind.
The ending was bittersweet, and if I'd skipped ahead to the end when I'd first started it I would've thought that it was happy, that it was what she wanted, but after all the events of the book, I just... I feel kind of strange. I KNOW that it's how it should've been, that that's the 'right' way for it too end, but it didn't feel as right as it should. And Lucy is a fantastic author if she can make me question all the things I've thought of as right before. I don't really know what else to say. Stolen is intense, and difficult, controversial and slightly dangerous, but amazing all the same. 5 stars.