Sunday, May 16, 2010
Gemma is just an ordinary English teen, waiting for her flight in the Bangkok airport with her parents while on vacation. When she steps away from them for a moment to buy a coffee, she meets Ty. He's charming and handsome, and he buys and drugs her drink before whisking her away. When she comes to, Gemma finds herself in small house in the harsh Australian desert, alone with Ty. It's then that she discovers that he has been watching her for years, and stole her away so that they can live together away from anyone else. He expects her to love him. Gemma is devastated, but as days and weeks slip away, along with any hope of escape or rescue, and Gemma comes to know and understand Ty, the lines between enemy and friend become less tangible.
Stolen is an intense and complex novel that explores the gray areas between two extremes, forcing you to think. The novel is written in the form of a letter from Gemma to Ty, recalling her experiences, which is an intimate technique that really puts the reader in Gemma's shoes and reveals all of her thoughts and convoluted feelings as she wrestles with curiosity and fear, but also portrays Ty in an interesting light. Along with Gemma, readers come to realize how damaged Ty is psychologically, but his caring and even noble sides are also revealed, which will invoke nearly as much sympathy and concern for him as the despise and disgust ignited when he stole Gemma away.
The setting of Stolen is described with breathtaking beauty and desolation, and its characteristics and the many things that Gemma experiences while in the desert--catching the camel, for instance--all serve as a fascinating extended metaphor for Gemma's time spent with Ty. Christopher's depiction of the desert is vivid, and will certainly haunt you.
Christopher does build quite a bit of suspense throughout Stolen, which will have readers wondering how the letter's end will find Gemma, and what her emotional state will be when she finally signs her name. She is an incredibly strong and capable heroine, and by the end she has grown impressively as a person, and she grapples with the fact that once you have truly understood someone and their motivations, it is difficult to condemn them. Stolen is a remarkable and stirring novel that blurs the lines between right and wrong, love and hate, and freedom and captivity--it is a truly impressive debut.
Cover Comments: I love this cover--so simple, and beautiful, but the colors used hint at its darker undertones. It is perfect.
ARC received from publisher.
Posted by The Compulsive Reader at 1:19 PM