Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.


Stolen - Lucy Christopher Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.Gemma, a sixteen-year-old British girl going on vacation with her family, did not expect the kind blue-eyed man who paid for her coffee to drug it and kidnap her. Trapped in the Australian desert with Ty, a damaged man desperate to connect with the girl he has been watching for about six years, Gemma has no way out and spends each day terrified that one of Ty's mood swings will be so severe that he will kill her. He never does, though. He speaks to her and shows her his world, slowly making her care for him and see beyond his crime to the damaged man behind it. Her desire to go home never fades, but will she get back or will she be there with Ty for the rest of her life?I'm wondering if recent events have biased my experience with this novel and made me love it more than I would if everything were normal. For an assignment at school, I wrote a letter to a man that victimized me when I was younger about what happened. The differences between Gemma's situation and mine are vast in ways I do not feel comfortable detailing here, but the slightest similarity there forged a connection between us. We are just two girls taking pen to paper in an attempt to move on from traumatic incidents any way we can.Ty. Oh, Ty. Just as much as this is a story about Gemma surviving, this is a story about one act of Ty's that he sees as heroism and that the rest of the world sees as the crime it truly is. He is a criminal; what he did to Gemma was wrong and I will not forget nor forgive it. Gemma's Stockholm-biased narration blurs the line and to some, he will be someone worthy of sympathy. For others, he will be a monster. For others still, he will fall somewhere in between. There is no correct answer because it will all depend on who is reading the book and experiencing him."I can't save you like that," Gemma writes to him at the end of the novel. Ty is a damaged man worthy of just a little bit of sympathy. He never really had a chance from the beginning, but the life he led does not excuse what he did to her or make it any better. I never forgot that and I don't think I was ever expected to. For all the shades of grey he is, he has done wrong and the only one who can save him is himself. The deep connection he sought with Gemma would never have been able to save him like he wanted it to. I wish he could have gotten a better lot in life and grown up to become someone other than who he is here.With Stolen, it's easy to figure out whether or not you'll like the book early on. I found Gemma's voice magnetic, leading me to finish the book in two days, and that was what pulled me along when the book got slow. Anyone who is put off by her voice or the letter format or is unable to get pulled in properly will most likely not enjoy the book. To be honest, the book doesn't have much of a plot. The driving force is Gemma's narration. If that doesn't cut it for the reader, they're sunk.In the end, Gemma is all tangled up about how she feels and trying to cope while also trying to cling to it and I'm not sure whether or not she can be considered reliable anymore, but I love it. After such a traumatic event and a lengthy period of isolation from the world with only her kidnapper for company (and a kidnapper who shared his story with her, natch), she isn't going to go back to normal with a snap of the fingers. It will never be that easy. I have no doubt she was suffering from Stockholm syndrome, but love doesn't quite describe the connection the two had. A deep understanding, maybe. Ty got the connection he wanted with her after all.It may only be the beginning of the year, but I have a feeling this will be one of my favorite novels of 2012. I had to suspend some disbelief beyond the usual amount over the fact that he was able to get her past all the airport security so easily, but it was worth overlooking so I could experience this fantastic novel.