Lucy Christopher's Stolen
Book review by Isabella Thompson
An ill nurtured soul exists as the most desolate of plains…
Amid the backdrop of the vast, uncultivated, and unaltered Australian outback; which is characterized with a profound and striking presence throughout the novel, a young woman, Gemma, is abducted and thrust onto this barren terrain to live out the rest of her life with the only other inhabitant - her captor.
Ty is a young man whose family and society had neglected him years earlier and who develops an unhealthy attachment to Gemma, the daughter of two very successful, yet distracted British professionals. Ty’s fixation leads up to a calculated and proficiently executed abduction which muddles the two strangers together in the heart of desolation and solitude as a pair of ill at ease companions.
Stolen, written in first-person narrative, is a letter from Gemma to Ty detailing their entire ordeal. Eerie yet stunning, untamed and breathtakingly beautiful, this work is as wild and wonderful as the characters themselves. Raw and uninhibited, Stolen (a 2011 Printz Award Honor book and that it recieved the Prime Minister's Literary Award for YA fiction in Australia) depicts a view of humanity in an utterly vulnerable yet captivating state in a wilderness consisting of not only land, but of the soul and human spirit wanting and awaiting a connection; a pulse to revive what is barren and surface dead.
This story piqued my interest from the onset, delved into my personal, human condition and carved out a spot and meeting place, where I was successfully reintroduced to the core needs of every individual upon the planet - love, acceptance, and a place to call home.
The depth of the characters and the evolution of their transitioning and progressive relationship created an entrancing and surprising storyline. Their lives are seemingly enhanced by a land that embodies the power to strip away the callousness that impedes them both in different ways, and brings them, individually and collectively, to a greater experience.
The reader will discover from what is inferred from Ty’s past, that Australia is Ty’s attempt at creating a world that he can control and perfect himself in. It is a place where only those that he wanted in his life could be - a separation of himself from what had gone terribly wrong in his life.
Living in Australia was an opportunity to start again, this time with what he thought would be the proper ingredients for a good life - Gemma, him, and the land.
Stolen is a story of anguish, survival, and hope. Just as much, it is a journey to define family and to discover the true road home; in more ways than one. I would recommend this book for mature readers ages fourteen and up.
You won’t leave the pages of Stolen unchanged, but will be touched by its profundity, its beauty and by the effective rendering of the soul exposed and laid bare. Another true gem of a book!
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