Have you ever wanted to visit a country or a particular city because of a book you've read or a movie you've seen? This happens to me A LOT. I have a very strong desire to see Italy because of Mario Puzo's The Godfather and Anne Rice's Cry to Heaven. New Orleans? Yep, that was Anne's fault too. Elvis got me hooked on Hawaii, and as for Africa, well, I have a college professor and lion researcher to thank for that one. Now there's a new place to add to my list. Australia.
Unlike Ty from Stolen, I have no desire to actually live in the Sandy Desert, but to visit... now that I could handle. I love books that take me to places I've never been and allow me to become so immersed in that world that I feel like I have to see it for myself. Stolen is one of those books. The desert sands, the flora, the fauna, the hot, hot days and the cold nights. Seeing so many stars you feel like you're sleeping under a blanket of sparkling lights. And the solitude. The silence. Christopher took me there - and... *weeps a bit* I want to go back!!
I got the feeling that Gemma does too, and that's the really startling thing about this book. Gemma (God, I love that name) gets kidnapped by Ty, a guy who's kind of gorgeous, very lonely, obviously a little screwed up, and doesn't want anything except Gemma's love. Gemma is a little out of place with her friends, feels a bit like a third wheel where her parents are concerned, and like any young girl is eager for some attention. Mix the two together and you have the perfect ingredients for a YA Stockholm syndrome which Lucy Christopher pulls off like a seasoned pro - even though this is her debut novel. The characterization is exceptional, and I loved, loved the ending because it emblazoned the characters into my mind. I won't give away what happens, but I can tell you it was not what I expected. Or wanted. It was real. It was gooood.
Other things that I loved about the book:
1. The camel. I know you're thinking, what?? But yeah, I have a thing for them. They just seem like such lovable, docile creatures, and it's so unique to see a camel in a YA story. Nomes is probably shaking her head at me right now, but if you'd only ever seen cows grazing along the road you'd think it was kind of cool too. Although camel puke, ew, don't want to go there.
2. Ty's character. Yes, he was hot in a Crocodile Dundee fashion. Yes, I was sort of wishing that Gemma would put down her guard and just hug him, but Christopher also made him realistic. He gets mad. He gets a little nuts, just like you think a kidnapper should. And I loved that about him because this book isn't supposed to be about the girl falling for the psychopath and getting a happily ever after. We see way too much of that in YA these days (me be guilty of this- not the psychopath part, the happily ever after ). Ty was true to himself and it was refreshing and believable. Thumbs up to Christopher for making the hot guy a little unlikeable.
3. I can't leave this review without mentioning the point of view. Second person. Yikes! You have to have a reason for doing this POV, and you have to be able to do it well because it's very disconcerting. Christopher pulls it off. The format, Gemma writing a letter to Ty after the fact, fit in neatly. If you ever want to read a second person POV just for the experience, I'd recommend this book over any other.
Final score: 5 stars.
And now, to entice you, some pictures I dug up that fit well with the book:
This is sort of what I imagine the separates to look like.
The Sandy Desert.