Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Title: Stolen
Author: Lucy Christopher
Publisher: Chicken House
Published: May 04, 2009

“You saw me before I saw you. In the airport, that day in August, you had that look in your eyes, as though you wanted something from me, as though you’d wanted it for a long time.”

Thankfully, I still have the ability to type. Ask for my thoughts in spoken words and you’ll receive incoherent mumbling, gulping sobs, and maybe the occasional wistful sigh. It’s complicated, my relationship with this book. It doesn’t make sense to even me. I am overwhelmed, exhausted even, but completely thrilled to have experienced this incredible piece of work.

Stolen, for those who have yet to read this, is a simple story of kidnapping, of being taken. It’s Gemma’s letter to her captor, Ty, nothing more and nothing less. Never did I expect such a straightforward premise to hold such depth; never did I expect to cry for these characters in the early hours of the morning. Lucy Christopher’s writing is subtly beautiful, it’s writing that manages to be intense and powerful without smothering the reader. She takes her simple idea and does wonders with it, easing under my skin and invading my every thought. This book, everything about this book, will haunt me now for months to come, years even, and I will gladly let it.

The Australian desert serves as a backdrop for this story, gently emphasising the situation. It’s a scarily beautiful place, with its dry, hot sand, its snakes and camels, and its silence for miles and miles. It plays such a spectacular role in this book. It makes Ty who he is. It makes Ty the wild, lonely man who will effortlessly race across the sand to capture Gemma every time she tries to escape. It makes him the nature-conscious boy who will talk to the stars and appreciate the beauty of the rocks. It makes him a contradiction, constantly, but one that is enigmatic and alluring, and quite frightening too. It is easy to be in Gemma’s shoes, to feel what she is feeling and to also agree with it. It is much harder to maintain a healthy distance from this story, to be nothing more than an impartial observer.

Stolen, of course, touches on Stockholm syndrome, a psychological occurrence that has always perplexed me. Having previously been nothing more than distantly aware of cases where this syndrome has taken effect, I wasn’t at all prepared to be lured in myself. A part of me didn’t even believe it could happen. The point at which Ty transformed into the misunderstood, troubled character I wanted to desperately help is not clear to me. There is no easy way to distinguish the before and after, no easy way to determine the good and the bad. All I know is that I was compelled by his vulnerability, his love for the natural land, his artistic pursuits – just as much as Gemma was.

“It’s hard to hate someone once you understand them. It felt so mixed up.”

It’s thought-provoking, in a very quiet way. It makes you wonder how it’s possible to truly judge what’s right and what’s wrong. I wholeheartedly cared for these characters and wanted a happy ending, as illogical as that might have been. I felt for Gemma, I felt for Ty, I even felt for the camel tied up outside. There were a number of destinations this story could have travelled to and all of them would have crushed me in some way, but I’m just glad Christopher did not take the easy approach. The ending, the part that I dreaded the most, it was perfect.

Though, having said that, I cried myself to sleep afterwards. I still have a few tears left to shed, too. 

Rating: 5 stars

50 comments:

  1. Oh a five star read from you, it has been awhile since I have seen that on your blog and I am wondering why I haven''t seen this and then I see it came out in 2009. It is awesome that you found a great read that is older. I love and hate books that take me on an emotional roller coaster, I am definitely adding this to my list!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sam, I don't know why you keep telling me you want me to write for you when you can write LIKE THIS! Seriously, THIS REVIEW. It's hit me in the heart. I can feel the depth of your emotions for this novel and that alone makes me want to run out and buy it at once. (I hopefully will!) I think this is easily my favorite of all your reviews...I'm bumping this up my TBR immediately. Lively review, Sam. Simply beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This book was so amazing! I never expected to love something that seems simple but is so complicated. My love for Stockholm Syndromes books began here. It is an interesting topic I never really understood either until this book when I was feeling it right along Gemma. It is hard to decide right and wrong when you understand someone. I think it ended the only way it could but I definitely had tears in my eyes too! I also loved the way it was written as a letter to Ty.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is why your reviews are my favorite. I literally want to drop everything I'm doing to go buy this book. I haven't read a really really good book in awhile, so I'm definitely moving this book up on my TBR so I can see if I'll love it as much as you did!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I could never tell by the cover that this book could be so intense, so powerful, so beautiful! From what you're sharing, I could feel how much this book had affected you. Sam, you know how much I always enjoy reading your reviews but this one, it's just mega-brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow. I actually never considered reading this book, but after this review.. Woah. I guess I could really like it! I will definitely give it a try! :-) amazing review Sam! <3

    ReplyDelete
  7. beautiful review for what sounds like a beautiful book. I have a copy of this myself...bought it awhile ago and still haven't read it (story of my life) but I'm so happy that it really pulled at your heart strings. I love books like that, and that's what I would hope for in a story like this.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, Sam... I think I seen this book pop up here and there, but wow. I am making it a mission to read this book.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This sounds amazing! I need to get my hands on this book now :) Both the writing and setting sound great. Awesome review!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sam, your review has left me speechless! I don't think I've ever read such a beautiful review for this book, you praised it so much! I always love it when an author is able to make the reader feel for the characters. I'm so glad to hear that the ending was perfect! Fabulous, exceptional review, Sam. <3

    ReplyDelete
  11. *hugs Sam*
    *hugs book*
    Your review is SPECTACULAR, Sam! So beautifully written and gosh, all the feelings I experienced when reading this are rushing back... Never will I forget the feeling of the nearly tangiable sun scorching my back and sand burning under my feet. I'll never forget Ty, or that poor, poor Camel. *sigh* How are Aussie books always so terrific?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh my god... this sounds like an incredible emotional read?? I would have never guessed from the synopsis! But yes Stockholm Syndrom also intrigues me, but I want happy ending books, I hate horrible and sad endings;((

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh wow...first Leanne's review, and now yours. Someone really ought to smack me over the head for ignoring this book all those times I've walked past it :S I've personally never heard of Stockholm syndrome until quite recently....and I find it really...fascinating.I definitely need to pick this up soon!!!! LOVEE your review Sam!

    ReplyDelete
  14. wow.. this books seems amazing. I nearly cried just READING your review!! For a book to be able to have such a great impact on a reader, is absolutely amazing. I can really feel your emotions and feelings towards this book, and thats making me want to have the same relationship with this book as well. Great review, I will def have to read this one day.
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh Sam. This review is perfection wrapped in a beautiful red bow. You translated my EVERY emotion with such a delicate hand. This book... I was initially intrigued because a reviewer wrote about how conflicted they felt over Ty and I wanted to experience those same messed up emotions. But never did I truly anticipate what a powerful and emotionally twisting journey I'd be in for.

    I am overwhelmed, exhausted even, but completely thrilled to have experienced this incredible piece of work.

    Oh gosh and yes, like you said, I was wishing for a happy ending too, even though... well, there is no happy ending for this kind of story, only a real one. And oh, the TEARS. Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam, INCREDIBLE REVIEW. I LOVE YOU.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh. Amazing review, Sam. So glad you loved this book :) I must admit that it sounds amazing, and I want to read it. But I know I won't. I dislike unhappy endings so so much. And, yeah, have already peeked at the ending to this book (A) So I know I won't be able to read it. Still, it does sound amazing :) Thank you for sharing. <3

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh Sam, that's a very wonderful review. I've always wanted to read Stolen, I just don't know whether it's in me to start it. It just felt so...sad. Reading your review makes me afraid of leaving another piece of me in another book. I want to read something fun and light. But Stolen and your review also beckons me to read it. I think I would finally allow it to just let me grab a copy somewhere. Again, thank you for the wonderful review, Sam!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This book sounds amazing! I've actually never heard of this book before but I'm definitely going to check it out now. Great review :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. "The point at which Ty transformed into the misunderstood, troubled character I wanted to desperately help is not clear to me. There is no easy way to distinguish the before and after, no easy way to determine the good and the bad."

    I can't tell you how much I love the above Sam! How brilliantly written this book must be for you to be so involved that you didn't even realize you'd begun to see Ty so differently. I've heard this book is amazing, and based on your review, it's not an exaggeration in the least. I need to read this for sure. Gorgeous review:):)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh my...Sam you have no idea what are you doing to me!! I can't wait to read this book cause I've heard only good things about it, but right now I wanna jump into my computer and just borrow the book from you. Wow amazing review! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm actually reading this now, but I only just started it. I am so looking forward to the rest of it because of your review! I just need to get some books out of the way and then I can start reading again. :)
    Amazing review Sam! ^__^

    ReplyDelete
  22. Gorgeous review, Sam. I keep meaning to get around to this book but just haven't had the chance.

    Have you read LIVING DEAD GIRL by Elizabeth Scott, by the way? Similar subject, also a gut punch. Probably the best fictional account of a kidnapping/confinement I've read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny you mention that Wendy! I haven't read it, but I was just looking at that book earlier today. It was one of the 'readers also enjoyed' books on Stolen's page on Goodreads. I'll have to add it to my list!

      Delete
    2. Yes please! I'd love to hear your take on it, the varied reactions are very interesting.

      You read that, I'll read this, hah.

      Delete
  23. Sounds like a very powerful story. Its been on my WL for quite awhile.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wow...what an amazing book! I honestly can't even imagine how this story would play out or even how emotional it will be, but what I do know is, I want to read it. I want to get to know the characters and learn about Stockholm syndrome. The way you described how you felt towards this book is mind blowing. For a book to get such a strong reaction from a reader, is something on its own. So, yes I am DEFINITELY checking this one out! And I hope I love it as much as you did!

    Fantabulous review, Sam!! :D

    ~ Maida @ Literary Love Affair

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh. My. Goodness. Sam, you make me want to read this book right away! The complex feelings you felt for this book sound so great. I wonder if I'll have a similar reading experience when I pick up this book, which I definitely will after reading your review. Pick this book up, I mean. What a fantastic review, Sam!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I've been seeing this book on our local bookstore. This is my first time to actually take notice of it. The summary already sounds great. The fact that it made you cry, means this book is really good. Thanks for the review. Will make sure I'll buy a copy :D

    -Dannielle

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is one of Kat's favorites and she's been telling me I need to read it. BUt I've held off because I know it'll be such an emotional read and I wasn't sure I was ready for that. I may have to make room in the near future. Your review has fully convinced me. Amazing review, Sam!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Sounds amazing! Thanks for the lovely review, Sam, I'll have to pick this up.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I just loved this review,Sam. Amazing. Makes me want to get this book ASAP! :D

    ReplyDelete
  30. Wow! I may be a fan of mysteries and thrillers, but I've never read anything that sounds even REMOTELY like STOLEN. The Stockholm syndrome has always been an interesting subject for me, but believe it or not, I've never read a single book that touches on that. Your review makes this book sound so beautiful, too! I may have to check this one out in the near future. :)

    Amazing review as usual, Sam!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh my gosh, this sounds like such an INTENSE book! To be honest, it didn't sound like a book I would enjoy but your review totally makes me want to pick it up. Stockholm syndrome is an interesting subject and this book sounds like it does it very well and emotionally. Wonderful review, Sam!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great review as usual Sam. This book certainly seems to have had a profound effect on you.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh wow, what a gorgeous review! I totally feel your emotions and I really want to pick up this book now. The Stockholm syndrome is something.. bizarre to me, so it sounds interesting to see how it works out in this book. It's always fascinating to see how books can affect us; those books are alway precious to me.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I don't think I've read a single bad review of this book, but I was never tempted to read it myself. I think you know why. :))
    However, yours is the first that really made me want to read it, despite knowing that it would hurt.

    ReplyDelete
  35. This is one of those difficult reads that I don't want to read.. but at the same time do. Your review was wonderful and wow, 5 stars? So many good reviews for this one, I think I will have to check this out for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I wanted to read this anyway, but your five stars is pushing me to read it even more. Stockholm Syndrome is a weird thing to think about; there's a part of me that feels like I understand how that can work, even if it is strange to think that. Brilliant review, Sam, glad you loved this! :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. Wow...

    I think your review just blew my mind.

    This book sounds thought-provoking and stunning. I shall definitely be adding this to my to-read list and stocking up on the tissues.

    Brilliant review.

    ReplyDelete
  38. What a beautiful review, Sam! I'm sure this story will haunt and hurt my heart but I bought it anyways! I'll need you to hold my hand!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Wow Sam with the impact this book had on you, you still managed to write such a flawless review, I don't think I would have been able to write a coherant review for this, I was too scared to write all my jumbled feelings down, but you managed to grasp every single beautiful aspect! Love this review! (Would you write all my reviews in future? pretty please? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Oh Sam, you write the post beautiful reviews! This honestly sounds like such a brilliant read, and to hear it had so large an impact on you makes me want to pick it up more. :)

    Wonderful review, darling!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Oh Sam, I am so happy you mentioned the camel! When I read and reviewed it I hadn't seen anyone else mention it and the situation with the camel broke my heart almost as much as Ty and Gemma's. Amazing review!!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Oh, Sam, reading your review brought me back to the moment I just finished reading this book! <3 I was a complete mess at that time too, my thoughts were all jumbled! Your review does this book justice! <3 Ty was one of the very first fictional characters who made my heart thumping like crazy. :') He's both light and dark. I love his gentleness, but Ty is too dangerous. He reminds me of a wounded animal, and his emotion is too unstable. The ending is amazing and I think it's very hopeful. :')

    Such a beautiful review, hun! *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  43. This is one of my all-time favourite books, I love this one! So glad you did too!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Now this sounds like something that I must read, awesome review and this is one I will pick up for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  45. You know Sam you have a way with words, I always look forward to your reviews!!! The books seem interesting, hope I'll come across it in the bookstore. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  46. EEEEEEEEEEE SAM! STOLEN! I love love LOVED this book. I've never quite read a book like this before and I absolutely agree with everything you mentioned on your review. I felt for Gemma and Ty and Lucy's writing was very beautiful.

    Awesome review, Sam ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
  47. This is my favorite review of yours so far, Sam! This was so beautiful, and I cannot wait to read Stolen and sob uncontrollably (nothing like a good soul-cleansing cry)! Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic review <3

    ReplyDelete
  48. Echoing other people's comments: amazing review, Sam! I definitely agree with you, my relationship with this book are complicated, it made me feel all kinds of emotions. I love how it is kind of told in 2nd person, "You looked at me" etc. It's also amazing how Gemma AND the reader fall in love with the kidnapper, a role that is stereotypically shown as unlovable. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

    ReplyDelete