Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Title: Stolen: A Letter to My Captor
Author: Lucy Christopher
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd
Release Date:5/4/2009
Pages:301, Paperback
Rating:  4 stars

Summary from goodreads:
It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost.

Stolen is a compelling story about the psychological phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome. It is beautifully written and effective. I still don't know if I love Ty or hate Ty or whether or not I want Ty and Gemma to be together. I am terribly confused.

Gemma is taken captive and brought to a desolate, remote piece of land in the Australian Outback. Ty loves Gemma, he has for years. He wants Gemma to believe that he saved her, accept this new life, and be happy. Ty is patient and kind with Gemma, although Gemma does everything in her power to test his limits.

Gemma can't understand why Ty chose her or why he seems familiar and she struggles to adjust to her barren new surroundings a her strange new captor. Gemma is desperate for escape but even as she resists him and hates him, she finds herself wanting his company, and begins to see him as something other than a monster, although she's not quite sure what.

Ty is the stronger character in this novel. We see flashes of anger, patience, joy, hope, love, torment... He is incredibly complex and I both pitied him and wanted to make him happy. I don't feel like we learn as much about Gemma. We do see glimpses of strength as she tries to find escape, but even witnessing her mental struggle over her feelings I still don't feel like I know her.

As you can see, I gave this book 4 rather than 5 stars for 2 main reasons. First, I feel like Gemma warmed to Ty too quickly. I understand that he showed her mostly kindness and they were alone in a barren wasteland, but if someone kidnapped me, confessed to creepily watching me for years, and showed me glimpses of rage indicating emotional instability, I would probably put up a hell of a bigger fight, if not physically then at least emotionally. Second, I don't feel like Ty is your run of the mill captor. Victims still experience Stockholm Syndrome with much crueler captors. Ty was appealing to Gemma before he took her. I don't know - I guess I felt like this wasn't the most accurate portrayal. It's like the diet version of SS.

Powerful. Beautifully portrayted. Overall, very well done.
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