Saturday, September 22, 2012


Stolen by Lucy Christopher, narrated by Emily Gray (2010)

Gemma is on her way to Vietnam with her parents, when she is suddenly abducted from the Bangkok airport. Her captor, Ty, takes her to the Australian outback where he says they will live forever. He doesn't hurt her - he wants her to be happy there, away from the city. As Gemma overcomes her fears of Ty, she slowly learns more about him and his formative years and her feelings begin to change.

Lucy Christopher has made the unusual choice of telling the story as a letter Gemma is writing to Ty - so it's almost like being in the second person. It's not easy to pull this off, but I think she succeeded. It felt a little bit awkward to me at first, but soon I didn't even notice. I think it could have been done in a more traditional first person, but knowing how it ended, I do think this choice was a bit stronger.

This is not a story of much action or dialogue. Mostly, there are long days in the desert during which Gemma reflects on her life back in England while worrying about Ty and how to get away from him. But it was fascinating. When Ty abducted Gemma from the airport, that wasn't the first time he saw her, and the back story is really quite unsettling and creepy. He also continued to insist that life in the desert is far better than life in the city, and that she is much happier. Gemma does begin to question some of her past experiences and relationships and begins to doubt herself. The changes we observe in Gemma's thinking were subtle and well-executed.

Stolen worked well as an audiobook. The narrator wasn't quite right - she didn't sound young enough, and pronounced "us" as "uz" - but still, she was very good. Her voice captured the haunting feel of the story, and Gemma's confusion, quite well. I've heard that the Australian accent is extremely difficult but she makes both the British and Australian voices sound authentic. (I thought maybe she was Australian, but apparently she grew up in England.)

Altogether I found the novel quite unique. There may be other young adult books about abductions, but this was so much more. I don't want to give away as much information as some of the reviews do, so I'll just say that I found it compelling and haunting and I think it would be great fodder for discussion.

No comments: