Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped ... 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?I am completely enthralled by Stolen by Lucy Christopher. The story, written in the form of a letter from Gemma to Ty, reflects on the months of captivity in the Australian Outback. "Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost" (Goodreads). At first I was so creeped out by Ty and how he kidnapped and held Gemma captive that I found it hard to read the book. How could anyone, even in fiction, think it was OK to kidnap a person and hold them in such a desolate place for no other reason that personal obsession? But then something happened and I started falling for Ty, even rooting for him. In so many ways he was so capable, so thoughtful, and even artistic that it would have been hard not to fall for him. When I turned the corner on my reading from resistance to compulsion to read on, I remember thinking that the author "had me" and I knew that I would reread that portion. It was that good that I was planning a reread before I was done reading. Ha!
Here is a quote to give you an idea of the writing style:
'Now we wait,' you said.I didn't notice until I was done reading it, Stolen is Lucy Christopher's first published book. What? How can such a good book, so well-written with such vivid descriptions be an author's first book? Here's what Lucy says about her motivations and inspirations for writing Stolen:
You pulled me down onto a bed of sand and leaves right in the middle of all the paint and color. The sun was shining through the window so brightly it was difficult to keep my eyes even half-open against it. And the smell was stronger there, too, leafy and herbal, earthy and fresh.
'Face this way,' you said.
You turned to the wall at the back, and I did the same. With the sun behind us, I could see the way the rays picked out the lighter swirls and dots in the painting, making them look three dimensional...p. 224
...Thankfully, I’ve never been kidnapped, but when I was nine years old and moving from Wales to Australia, it felt like a bit of a kidnapping. Suddenly I was in a new country I didn’t understand; a place that was simultaneously beautiful and terrifying. I’ve always been fascinated by wild Australian land and, when younger, my favourite memories are of camping in the bush and exploring the overgrown creek at the back of our first Melbourne house. But this landscape scared me too, and I didn’t feel like I fitted in. I used these feelings of being simultaneously entranced and repulsed by something in order to write Gemma’s feelings for both Ty and the landscape he takes her to (Christopher).With the completion of Stolen I have now read all the Printz award books for 2011. I think that the Printz committee hit a home-run on all their selections this year. All the books are fabulous. All use literary devices that make their books unique and compelling. Interestingly, all of the books are quite disturbing this year, too. With Stolen Christopher makes the reader switch allegiances and start rooting for the captor. She also described the Australian Outback in such a way that I would really like to visit it. I don't even feel revulsion toward snakes and other crawling critters. Now that is some writing.
I highly recommend this book for all teen readers.