By Lucy Christopher
Rating: 😦 😦
I feel like I need to start off by saying that this book actually received 3.93 stars on Goodreads, so it probably isn’t as awful of a book as I’m going to make it sound, and I probably have a few (just a few) biases playing in. But still. I’ll do my best to tell you why I didn’t like it, and why it was good enough that I managed to get through it with a solid 2 stars. But Warning: It’s Complicated.
Essentially, Stolen is written from the perspective of Gemma, a teenager who is kidnapped at an airport and taken to the middle of nowhere to live with and love her captor. When I got this book for Christmas LAST YEAR I thought it was going to be really good, and was super excited to read it. I thought it was a fun added twist that it was written as a letter from Gemma to her captor, Ty. As the story progresses, so does Gemma and Ty’s relationship, until it becomes a story of survival, emotion, and complexity. At least, I think that’s what Christopher was going for.
Sounds good so far, right? (See, I told you I could do a relatively unbiased review) But rather than creating an incredible protagonist who struggles with her feeling, Christopher became the one who didn’t know her true thoughts. Gemma never seemed to have a real personality. The second it seemed to start developing, it twisted, and not in a good way. It was as though in order for the story to properly progress, the very essence of Gemma’s personality had to continuously change. And then, when you finally believed that she was had finished “changing” she twisted again, so that the very end wasn’t even consistent with her feelings a chapter from the end. I’m all for character development, but this was so completely unrealistic I couldn’t take it seriously.
I’ve been told that the reason I don’t like this is a similar reason to why I don’t like Paper Towns– protagonists with annoying beliefs annoy me to no end– but honestly, I really don’t think this is the case for this book. I honestly just don’t think anyone could relate to Gemma, not just because her situation is unique, but because Christopher didn’t seem to have a firm grasp on her emotions and who she really is as a person. Considering that there are only 2 people for 95% of the book, I think you should be able to nail them both.
That being said, I loved Ty. He was the “antagonist” technically speaking, and I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be trapped in the middle of nowhere with him, but his personality was dynamic, while still staying true to his own essence. Everything she lacked in creating Gemma, Christopher did a great job in creating Ty.
Part of the reason that I think Gemma was made a weak character is that she constantly needed to be vascilating in order to make a plot. There’s not much to do if there isn’t a conflict; there were constantly things happening to drive the plot forward in this book, which I appreciated while reading it, but I wonder now if it was a bit overkill. Maybe if Christopher had stepped back and focused more on relationship than plot, it would have been a better and more well developed story. Who knows.
Overall, I certainly wouldn’t say that nobody should ever pick this up, but they should certainly know what they’re in for. It’s a really quick read, so it doesn’t hurt to try it at any rate.
I want to know your opinions
What did you think of Gemma? Does Christopher have any other books, and are they better? Have you read any books with a similar theme that you would recommend?
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