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STOLEN by Lucy Christopher

STOLEN

By Lucy Christopher

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-545-17093-2
Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic

This debut novel about an English teen’s abduction and imprisonment in the Australian outback unfolds as a letter from captive to captor. From its compelling opening, the novel delivers taut suspense and a riveting plot in a haunting setting. Privileged Gemma, 16, is sympathetic and believable. Her captor, Ty, in his late 20s, is a less-successful creation. Abandoned child turned wasted drifter and stalker, Ty is now an expert survivalist, bent on teaching his abductee admiration and respect for the harsh world in which he’s imprisoned her. When Gemma’s escape attempts end in near death, Ty rescues her, returning her to captivity, using such handy teachable moments to instruct her on outback ecology. While the landscape is beautifully portrayed and deftly mined for subtext and symbolism, the novel can’t overcome its central contradiction. Ty—respectful of the struggling desert ecosystem from humblest succulent to deadliest snake, perceiving each element as part of a fragile, interconnected web—has kidnapped Gemma, in violation of her human rights and needs, and imprisoned her thousands of miles from home. (Fiction. 14 & up)