Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Title: Stolen 

Author: Lucy Christopher 

Rating: 5 Stars

I literally just put down Stolen and my can't think. I just need to let this book sit and saturate into me, every part of me because it can and it will and I will let it.

I do want to say, however, that Stolen was not what I expected. When I went into it, I was almost expecting an eventual romance, but there is none and I'm glad there isn't. Stolen is a novel of abduction, but it is also a novel of hope and faith and beauty. I only really fell in love with Stolen seven pages from the end; until then, I was on the fence. I think, more than anything, I was confused while reading this, which is what you're supposed to feel... You see, this book is such a mind-fuck (excuse my language, but there is really no other better way to put it) because on one hand, you despise Ty for stealing Gemma, for taking her away from her home, for stalking her for so many years, for making her life miserable; but, at the same time, I despised Gemma whenever she destroyed Ty's art, when she hurt him with her words, when she mocked him and his love for his desert, when she failed to even try to understand him the way he so obviously understood her...

Stolen isn't a romance and for 90% of the novel, Gemma is constantly trying to run away from Ty, to escape her predicament. Yet, somewhere, she realizes that some of what Ty says is true; society is terrible and cruel and parents really don'tunderstand their children and sometimes even friends don't and terrible things do happen. But, that gene that tells you in your brain that you have to accept the bad things and move on, that you can't save everyone, that maybe even you can't save wasn't in Ty. Yes, Ty steals Gemma, but he steals her because he thinks he's doing the right thing. Unknowingly, Gemma saves him as a child and he wants to return the favor. It's so mind-boggling because Ty isn't a bad person; he's nice to Gemma, he never harms her or takes advantage of her in any way, he clothes her and feeds her and shows her the beauty of the desert; but he's wrong in his own right, too.

"I can't save you like that Ty.

What you did to me wasn't this brilliant thing, like you think it was. You took me away from everything - my parents, my friends, my life. You took me to the sand and the heat, the dirt and isolation. And you expected me to love you. And that's the hardest bit. Because I did, or at least, I loved something out there.

But I hated you too. I can't forget that."

Stolen, I felt, was a social commentary of sorts. It's difficult to understand and comprehend properly and it's painful because of that, because of the confusion we feel and the sudden desperation as we want to escape to a desert, see the sunset, and live alone, but happy, without the burdens of society and expectations of our parents and disappointments of our friends. In life, however, there are always two paths: the right one and the wrong one. From my experience, the wrong one is always the easiest, but leads to eventual downfall, just as the right one is full of hurdles, but ultimately leads to happiness. In Stolen, however, all the lines are blurred; just the way I like it in a truly fantastic novel.

I will warn you, reading this novel is a strange experience. I felt uncomfortable, not knowing where the plot was leading, not knowing what I wanted to happen, but I feel better now that it's over. In some ways, I feel like this novel is better for a re-read than anything else, an opportunity to understand what really happened and where Gemma started to feel something more than hatred for Ty. One of the things that did surprise me, however, was how un-original Ty's story wound up being. Now, I won't say that it isn't terrible and cruel and painful, but the path that Ty took seems so much more strange than most people in his situation. I think, however, that to become a stalker like Ty, to become obsessed with a person, to think that you're saving don't need to go through a unique traumatic experience for that. Anything, even something as small as six-year-old Gemma talking to him, a stranger, can alter the mind in such a way; after all, who are we to know the depths and recesses of our brains and how events can affect you?

"It sounded weird to hear you talk so much; normally you only said a few words at a time. I'd never imagined that you'd have a story, too. Until that moment, you were just the kidnapper. You didn't have reasons for anything. You were stupid and evil and mentally ill. That was all. When you started talking, you started changing." 

As for me, I don't know what to think. Yes, I do think Gemma suffered from a form of Stockholm Syndrome, I do think she makes the right decision, I do think Ty is slightly insane, I do think he is a good person, I do think his axis in life is just a little off...but I don't see Ty as a monster and neither do I see Gemma as a tortured abduction victim. If anything, there is too much of a silver lining to this tale. It's sad and depressing and unhappy, but it's also right and true and beautiful.

"And, let's face it, you did steal me. But you saved my life, too. And somewhere in the middle, you showed me a place so different and beautiful, I can never get it out of my mind. And I can't get you out of there, either. You're stuck in my brain like my own blood vessels." 

Lucy Christopher, I will read anything you write. Anything. Especially if it's a sequel to Stolen that I hope you will eventually write onto paper instead of keeping locked up in your head. I do have to admit, however, that the ending to this is perfect and it doesn't need a sequel at all. I wouldn't mind if a sequel was written, but I don't need one either. Just this gem of a novel is enough...

I realize this is long, but it's also not much of a review, for which I apologize. It doesn't even begin to touch upon the complexity of Ty's character; his passion for the stark Australian desert, his talent with animals, his love of art, his intelligence and resourcefulness... It barely even grazes the vastness of the backdrop this book is set against, a landscape so harsh, yet lovely, that it was a deeply enigmatic character in its own right. But, all this isn't something I can just write about or explain or even begin to understand; it's something you just have to experience on your own.

Without a doubt, I am in love with this book. It is thoughtful, compelling, and mind-numbingly provocative. It is written in a beautiful and creeping manner, molding its way around your heart all while growing thorns. Best of all, however, it makes you think and question your own life and long for something inexplicable...and, really, isn't that the most we can ask of a book? For it to impart some of itself in us, for it to make us see an author's passion, and for it to make us attempt to define that which is undefinable?


  1. I have this one!!! I forgot about it, it's been on my shelf for ages, but I still remember when I got it at a garage sale. Anyway, you have ne wanting to read this RIGHT NOW. I think I had forgotten what it was about. So thanks for the great review!

  2. Wow. A 5 star book that is so...different. I read Living Dead Girl which is sort of like this book and I was so shocked. I'm glad that you liked this one so much and now I want to read it too!

  3. I don't know what to think. Yes, I do think Gemma suffered from a form of Stockholm Syndrome, I do think she makes the right decision, I do think Ty is slightly insane, I do think he is a good person, I do think his axis in life is just a little off...but I don't see Ty as a monster and neither do I see Gemma as a tortured abduction victim. If anything, there is too much of a silver lining to this tale. It's sad and depressing and unhappy, but it's also right and true and beautiful.

    I hope you realise how perfect that paragraph is! I felt exactly the same way reading this book. I was so very confused by my own feelings, but I loved that Lucy Christopher was able to make that happen (without me even realising it at times). And gosh, the characters... I can't get them out of my head. Ty's voice still haunts me sometimes.

    I'm so glad to see this get 5 stars from you, Keertana. A really beautiful review!

  4. Great review! This was an amazing book. I'm going to meet Lucy Christopher herself in a few weeks. I AM SO EXCITED!!

  5. Everyone has such intense reviews about this! I'm kind of curious about it now, even though I wouldn't normally read it. Great review!

  6. I have heard of titles like Stolen which would always involve some major lover/romance but I'm glad that its not the main focus of the novel. That its something different! 'It does what it says on the tin' basically and I like it already! :) Gemma seems like a beautiful woven character, even with her troubled life and the thought of being kidnapped must be over-whelming. Ty sounds like the same sort of character, each one giving them a piece of what real life is about. Like Sam said a beautiful review of this book Keertana. :)

  7. Awesome review. This sounds like a thought provoking and intense read. I am glad that there isn't a romance it seems kind of out of place. I will have to go look this up now.

  8. Since I've started reading contemporaries, I've wanted to read this one, but I haven't picked it up yet. This is about as convincing as anything to pick it up. I hope I can get to it soon because WOW this sounds brutal, challenging, and also amazing. Love these thoughts!

  9. Stupendous review! I applaud you! You have intrigued me and made me want to go out to buy this book immediately so I could read it too. I was happy to hear there was no romance. Nothing straightforward like that. Instead, there's this beautiful, complex relationship between Ty and Gemma that makes you think long after the book is done, and that makes me want to read this so much. It sounds twisted but, at the same time, lovely.

  10. Very nice review :) I wanted to read this book for the longest time, and then when I finally got my hands on it I couldn't get more than a third into it. I guess it just wasn't for me.

  11. I definitely want to read this novel, but I think that I'll put it on hold for now with it not being a happy novel, I'm going off unhappy novels for a while.

    I did love your review which was a little more winding that usual, but I think that reflects the novel and your feelings and I liked that.

    The characters sound complex and I loved your choice of quotes that somehow managed to pinpoint the novel that sounds like it takes lots of different feelings and directions.

    I shall definitely be reading this novel at some point and I'm so thoroughly glad you ended up liking it! :)

  12. I've been so interested in reading this book ever since I read Sam from Realm of Fictions' review! Keertana, I'm SO SO happy that you loved this one as well! The character relationship seems like a romance at first, but I can see where it strays off as more of a growing friendship-like thing. Man, I don't know if I can handle this book! It sounds so thought-provoking. Beautiful review, Keertana!

  13. It's so intriguing to see your review start off a bit apprehensive, and then by the end, grow confident with your love for this book. I think that's how your reading experience kind of went as well- starting off quite confused and then you falling in love with it by the very end. I like that parallel, even if it wasn't intentional. ;)

    Anyways, I think this one would be confusing read for me, because I always like to know who and what I root for, and I always want an idea of where the plot is going, which is something you didn't get until 90% apparently. But honestly, this book seems utterly beautiful, and I think this one is going to be a book that I'll be picking up soon. It seems like too much of an enigma for me to pass up.

    Stunning review, Keertana, this one was absolutely breathtaking. <3 Your reviews just manage to be getting better and better, even if I thought that wasn't possible!

  14. You know, after reading Emma Donoghue's Room, I wasn't sure I really had it in me to read another stolen/captured woman story. The genre just isn't that appealing to me and that book, at least, was a little depressing and disconcerting. But now I'm reconsidering my stance, at least for Stolen. I love how your review really focuses on how real and multi-faceted both the captive and the captor are to you. And how the novel itself seems to elicit so many diverse feelings while reading it. I'm not sure whether I can buy a captor being "good," but I am eager to figure this out for myself by reading the book!

  15. I just can't believe it!! I posted the review for this book today! :D What a coincidence! :D I loved this book as much as you did! It's hard to even say how beautiful and heartbreaking it was. Amazing review! :)

  16. I loved that you loved this book! And of course your review is so gorgeous, Keertana. :) The way you expressed your conflicting feelings about Ty and his relationship with Gemma, whether he IS truly evil or just a damaged guy with a distorted moral compass brings all those complicated feelings back. What is with these Australian authors and extraordinary books, though? I have this theory that if I went to live down there for a bit, I could somehow immerse myself in all the writing awesomeness that country inhibits and write so much better! ;) (Obviously, it’s more wishful thinking than an actual theory, heh.)

  17. I am always in awe of authors that make me sympathize with situations that would normally make me cringe or say NO WAY could that work. This sounds like exactly that kind of book, one that could make you think for days and realize that life isn't always (or ever) just black and white.

    Is this book written in letter form? The sub-title makes it look that way? Also, the Australian Outback setting sounds fascinating as well. I love love books set in Australia.

  18. I really want to read this soon. I bought it after seeing Leanne and Sam's reviews. I know it's going to screw with my brain because I'm going to wish for a romance between these two, and yet, I know it's wrong because he's a kidnapper. I can't wait to discuss this after I finish. Brilliant review Keertana! :)

  19. Hehe, I can tell when you are in love with a book because of how you construct those reviews, and I love it. I really want to read this one! I already did, but now I know that I MUST read this one, that it will be one of those contemporaries I can fall in love with. I love the complexities of these characters and their actions, and I LOVE that you didn't really fall in love with it until 7 pages before the end...certainly worth holding out for.

  20. I bought my sister a copy of Stolen for her birthday back in June, I might have to contrive to steal it or borrow it or something. I love complexity. I actually love a desert setting too. I love a nice gray area as well.

  21. Would you believe me telling or rather writing you that I'm madly in love with this book 'Stolen : A Letter To My Captor' by Lucy Christopher... even when I've not at all read it? I have a passion for reading books, just like Ty had a passion for Gemma. Whenever I love a book, I try to find it online and read it... I did the same when I read 'The Fault In Our Stars' and many more. I'm myself a writer in different writing sites. I once had read the title of this book somewhere on the internet... but that time I could not search for it as I had no internet connection and after so many days when I'm back to find it... I am disheartened to see that through some problems(I don't know if that is in my computer, or on the internet or the site) I cannot read the story. So, I'm off for collecting summary of the story, reviews and so on every here and there. That is how I found your site and am really happy to read the summary in such close details with the book. I am and will be thankful to you forever and I hope that somehow I get to buy this book and by that time a sequel gets published too. :)

    Your sincere reader,
    Gazel Ryan Nessie Lanater.


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