This is a novel I read for my YA literature class, and I won't soon forget it. Stolen is written as a novel-long letter from a victim to her kidnapper and it's unlike anything I've ever read. It not only dares to speak the entire time in the second person (using "you" instead of "I" or "he/she"), but it also treads the controversial topic of Stockholm syndrome: when a kidnapping victim has positive feelings toward his or her captor.
The story is a letter from 16-year-old Gemma to the man who kidnapped her: Ty. She was in an airport in Bangkok when Ty, a seemingly charismatic, mysterious guy not too much older than her drugs her coffee and kidnaps her, bringing her to the middle of the desert in Australia, miles and miles away from anyone or anything. Ty has set up a little place for them to live, with running water and enough food to last years. Gemma is angry with him for taking her, though besides initially drugging her, Ty never hurts her.
The story gets really interesting as Gemma (and the reader) start to develop feelings for Ty that aren't hateful. He has been through a lot in his life, and tells Gemma about it, and why he had to take her. Parts of his story made me think of Native Americans, because he is so dedicated to the land, and smart about how to use it. Gemma begins to struggle with her feelings toward her kidnapper. He must be a bad guy right? He took her away. And yet...he seems so gentle, and he genuinely cares for her, in a way that isn't creepy as she once thought. Is she suffering from Stockholm syndrome? Or is Ty really just not a bad guy?
This debut novel from Lucy Christopher had me hooked from the beginning. The second person narration is a little weird at first, but I got used to it. I was confused about my own feelings toward Ty's character. I felt that I had to hate him, and I tried so hard to, but sometimes my feelings were swayed. The novel really makes you think, long after you've finished, and it poses some interesting questions about Stockholm syndrome. Having recently read another novel about kidnapping that was extremely different, Stolen was a refreshing new kind of novel that blew my mind until the last page.