Stolen by Lucy Christopher

In a Bangkok airport on her way to Vietnam with her parents, sixteen-year-old Gemma stops for a cup of coffee to take a break from arguing with them.  It was then that her life changed.  She was drugged and taken to the outback of Australia where Ty, the man who took her, had created a self-sufficient home for both of them.  Gemma fought back as best she could when the drugs wore off, tried to escape multiple times, but the outback itself kept her bound at home with Ty.  Ty is handsome, well-built, and deeply in love with Gemma, whom he has been watching for years.  Readers get to experience their strange, disturbing, but captivating relationship grow and change through the form of a letter from Gemma to Ty. 

Christopher’s book explores what freedom really is, what love means, and how relationships can morph and change despite ourselves.  In Gemma, Christopher has created a strong modern female that readers will instantly relate to.  She has domineering but distant parents, close friends, and much to miss.  But the most remarkable character Christopher created is Ty.  Ty the monster, the angel, the wronged, the wrong-doer.   He is so complex yet so simple to understand.  And readers will come to understand him, and perhaps like Gemma love him in the end.  The writing masterfully takes readers on the same course as Gemma, loving Ty despite themselves.

The third character in the novel is the setting itself.  The Australian Outback is vividly rendered from its incredible heat to the redness of the sand to the plants and animals that make their home there.  It forms the walls of Gemma’s prison, beautiful and horrible at the same time.  Christopher weaves imagery from the setting into much of her writing, further tying the book closely to the setting.  She does it with skill and subtlety.

Highly recommended, this book is one that twists underneath you, bringing you to a place you never expected to reach.  Beautifully written, this book is appropriate for ages 14-18.

Reviewed from ARC received from Scholastic.

Also reviewed by Melody’s Reading Corner.