Publication Date: 5/10
Gemma, 16, is on layover at Bangkok Airport, en route with her parents to a vacation in Vietnam. She steps away for just a second, to get a cup of coffee. Ty—rugged, tan, too old, oddly familiar—pays for Gemma's drink. And drugs it. They talk. Their hands touch. And before Gemma knows what's happening, Ty takes her. Steals her away. The unknowing object of a long obsession, Gemma has been kidnapped by her stalker and brought to the desolate Australian Outback. STOLEN is her gripping story of survival, of how she has to come to terms with her living nightmare—or die trying to fight it.
This review includes mild spoilers.
As I was sitting down to write this review, the song 'Wonderful & Sad' by Hawksley Workman entered my mind, because those two words sum up every aspect of this book. Stolen is not an easy read. It puts you in an uncomfortable place, not only as you imagine yourself in Gemma's shoes, but also in the harsh setting of the Australian Outback.
Perhaps it was Mad Max, or maybe Priscilla Queen of the Desert, but I've always seen the wilds of Australia as somewhere I'd never want to find myself in. It's uncomfortable to imagine yourself in a story set in a small house with absolutely no one else around except for the man that has kidnapped you. There are scenes in the house that seem utterly claustrophobic, emotions hanging heavy in the air. Gemma desperately wants to get away from Ty and the harsh place he's brought her to, and Ty wants her to see that all he's done has been for her.
As the story progresses, we learn more about Ty and his damaged past, and how his path has intertwined with Gemma's. It's sort of a beautiful story, and it makes you feel empathy for Ty that's necessary for the reader to understand how Gemma eventually starts to feel something for him other than blinding hatred.
Ultimately, Ty has taken Gemma against her will and the relationship that he has envisioned can never come to be. The dramatic climax of this book had me flipping the pages as quickly as my fingers could manage. I finished the last third of the book in an hour. I was desperate to see what happened to Ty and Gemma, but perhaps I was also as desperate to escape the harsh environment of this novel.
Stolen is a must read, but you may want to do what I did and pick up something light to read after it, as this story will cling to you for some time.