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there's more to life than reading books

“What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren't long enough for the reading she wanted to do.”

Stolen: A Letter to My Captor - Lucy Christopher I read this book a little while ago but have been meaning to write a review for it. Where to start… firstly, I really wanted to like this book. I loved the premise of this story and was curious as to how it could be effectively portrayed in a YA book, given this is a very serious topic. I think that’s where my problem with this book lies. Great idea, just not executed well. Perhaps if it had been written for an adult audience it would have been able to explore this subject better.

I was really intrigued by how the relationship was going to develop between Ty and Gemma. I thought there was great potential to explore Stockholm syndrome with these two characters but it wasn’t done particularly well, if at all. I never sympathised with Ty. For me he was and remained a creepy, mentally ill kidnapper. I wanted him to be institutionalised, not to form a relationship with Gemma. I would have liked the story to span over a longer timeframe, like maybe years, not weeks. My feelings for Ty and Gemma didn’t change at all over the six-week span of this book, but had it spanned over a couple of years I think the author could have better explored whether a relationship (whatever it may have been – friendship, dependency, trust, love, who knows) could have ever developed between the two of them and how Gemma would have dealt with it. I may have better connected with the characters if they’d had more time to connect with each other. And I don’t necessarily mean in an intimate way. I actually don’t feel comfortable with the idea of these two ever being together. But I could have handled a friendship or a mutual understanding to develop.

As an Aussie who has travelled throughout Australia and now lives in remote WA I connected to the description of the landscape - the harsh, sparse, lonely, desolate Aussie outback. It was portrayed really well. But on the other hand because I’ve experienced this land first hand, there were too many unbelievable aspects to the story which kept distracting me from the actual story. Like how Ty built the house, how did he get the building materials supposedly hundreds of kilometres from anywhere in a sandy dessert? And how did he do it all on his own? Surely someone would have cottoned on to what he was doing or had to help. And how did he keep travelling between Perth and England? And why? Because he had some sick obsession with a 14 year old girl? I know these are trivial details but like I said they distracted me from the story. I didn’t believe or understand why Ty had gone to all the trouble to do what he did, let alone in the time frame he had. It just didn’t add up. I needed a better explanation than what I got.

All these complaints aside, I do recommend this to others. It’s an interesting story which will give you lots to think about and reflect on. It just didn’t reach its potential for me.