Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Three out of five stars

A sixteen year old girl is kidnapped by a man who has been stalking her since she was ten. He doesn't lay a finger on her during her entire incarceration and not once threatens her. His past is tragic at best and in the end, he is lonely. Do we sympathize with him?

This book has left me very conflicted. Gemma is the girl in question who was kidnapped and while I am very appreciative that she does not fall in love with her captor and forgive him for all that he does (the girl tries to escape, she tries to harm him) I still am left feeling very uncomfortable with the turn of this novel. Does she grow to have feelings for him? Is it Stockholm syndrome? Is the author writing a novel to add to the long list of fucked up teen books that romanticize abusive relationships? Okay, okay. Lets get that one out of the way first.

No. I don't think that Lucy Christopher is romanticizing this kind of abuse. She makes it very clear that what this person did was wrong and towards the end of then novel, she even calls into question some of the thing that the kidnapper was telling Gemma to maybe cause Gemma to question her home life and if it was truly better than what he was giving her. For this reason, I do appreciate this author. She does however add the confusing element of the kidnapper, Ty, being a character that one can sympathize with. It's a weird feeling to have. When it came to Ty, I was much more brutal in my opinion of him because while he did have a horrid childhood, and while he never tried to hurt Gemma, he still drugged and kidnapped her from the airport. I don't consider the man a monster like the public does in this book, but I don't consider him a character to lend my sympathy to. I can see how a reader could go there though and that's what makes the book terribly uncomfortable for me and terribly confusing.

On a side note, can we just take note for a minute how annoyingly bland the public reaction can be in books like this? Why is it that there is always some female archetype stroking the young girls hair and waxing poetics about what a monster said bad person is and how said victim is too confused to understand what really just happened. Said victim was there. Annoying hair stroker was not.

While I do not romanticize this story, I think many will.  The deeper picture of this story is that there is always more to what we see.  When the book is boiled down to its bare bones, that is what it is about.  However, in this society, teenage girls are falling into these horrible patterns of falling for the emo "misunderstood" boys out there that treat them like shit.  They are going to gloss over the fact that the situation Gemma was in could have been much worst; that in fact, what happened to her was psychologically traumatizing and that while she did somewhat begin to fall for this guy, there is a much more confusing and deeper layer that we must understand in which Gemma's feelings probably stemmed from the fact that he was all she had.  There is so much meat to this story and so many different angles that we can dive into, but unfortunately, most people do not.  Most teens sigh in love and whimsy and dream of their captors coming to sweep them off their feet and take them to Australian.

Alright, so maybe teens aren't that bad but that seems to be the type of teens that I hear from when researching books like this.

Lucy Christopher is a decent writer. I wasn't a huge fan of the first person narrative or the lack of chapters, but she does get her point across with little to no nonsense and focuses on a character development that is very believable. For the novel also only focusing on two characters, it doesn't get dry or boring. If anything, this is an exploration into the mind set of two very different and very broken people. Watching Gemma's sanity slip like it does is what makes this novel worth the read. It is done subtly and I was surprised to find how much the character had truly changed by the end of the novel. For that, I have mass respect for this author.

While it wasn't exactly the kind of book I would normally read, I did enjoy it. I would recommend it to people that are looking for something a little dark and a little different. It's an easy read through and one that does stick with you as well.
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