A stunning debut novel with an intriguing literary hook: written in part as a letter from a victim to her abductor. Sensitive, sharp, captivating!
Gemma, 16, is on layover at Bangkok Airport, en route with her parents to a vacation in Vietnam. She steps away for just a second, to get a cup of coffee. Ty–rugged, tan, too old, oddly familiar–pays for Gemma’s drink. And drugs it. They talk. Their hands touch. And before Gemma knows what’s happening, Ty takes her. Steals her away. The unknowing object of a long obsession, Gemma has been kidnapped by her stalker and brought to the desolate Australian Outback. STOLEN is her gripping story of survival, of how she has to come to terms with her living nightmare–or die trying to fight it.
I read this book for the first time in 2016.
I was instantly smitten with that gorgeous and unconventional story. When I learned some months ago that Lucy Christopher would finally give us a sequel titled “Released” I ordered the book as soon as possible and… I decided a reread was in order.
I am pleased to say that I loved it as much as the first time and here I am leaving you my “old” review as it translates perfectly what I felt this second time around.
”What you did to me wasn’t this brilliant thing, like you think it was. You took me away from everything –my parents, my friends, my life. You took me to the sand and the heat, the dirt and isolation. And you expected me to love you. “
It was not my usual “man kidnap girl” read. This story has a haunting quality, thanks to the choice the author did to write the book like letters from the girl to her captor.
”But what else can I do, other than to plead with you like this? Other than to write down my story, our story, to show you what you’ve done… to make you realize that what you did wasn’t fair, wasn’t right.”
Gemma is sixteen and has been kidnapped by a man, Ty, at Bangkok airport while travelling with her parents. She’ll wake up in the middle of nowhere. The sand is everywhere, the heat is scorching and the white light is blinding. Her captor took her in Australia’s Sandy Desert. He wants to keep her “forever”. He is lonely and wanted her company.
Written in such a way you feel the heat of this dead and thirsty land, I was in Gemma’s head and experienced everything alongside her: her family memories, her fear of Ty, her rage and desperation. I learned to see the hidden life of this arid land, to recognize the beauty of a starry night sky. I touched the soft fur of a camel with long eyelashes and sweet eyes. The earth sang and told a story. The slow pace allowed me to savor the story, to soak up this land’s wonders.
This story played with my beliefs, with my emotions. I discovered this strange man alongside Gemma and tried to understand why she had been chosen. Why her? Why not some other girl? The more I read about Ty’s past, the more I understood his motives. He was a complex and complicated character. He was a man but he also had the candor of a child, even after all he did to gather the money and take Gemma from her family.
Like Gemma, I know what he did was wrong and I could hate him for this. But like her, I understand why he did it and I can’t stop loving him too. He was meant to live in the wilderness, he can’t be caged like some animal, it would be so wrong. He is born to be free, to be one with this savage land.
”I’m going to tell the truth. My truth. I will say that you kidnapped me, of course. You did. I won’t shy away from the evil you can be. But I’ll tell them your other side, too. The side I saw sometimes when you spoke softly to the camel, and when you gently touched the leaves of the saltbush, only picking what you needed. And the times you rescued me.”
It’s been a complicated and beautiful journey.
Thanks for reading!