Thursday, June 27, 2013

but stay awhile and maybe then you'll see a different side of me

oh my goodness, you guys. so last night i read stolen by lucy christopher, and i just... it was not a good idea. if the book taught me anything it was that, in the off chance that i am ever kidnapped, well, i'll be one of the worst stolkholm syndrome cases in history. i mean, i always kind of figured i would be, what with my tendency to feel more sympathy than hatred for most bad guys in stories, movies, and tv shows. i've always fallen in love with the tragic car crashes of characters. (i can't explain it right here without going on forever, but it's really only certain archetypes of bad guys that i'm talking about. i do not fall for every bad character to hit the page/screen.) add to that that i was already feeling mentally crappy, and it was just ridiculous.

just as a warning to the very small margin of people who both read this blog still and are likely to read a book that i read, this post is going to be chock full of spoilers. and no, it's not really going to be a review. it'll be more like emotional word vomit revolving around the story and the characters. it will also probably be too long.

the story starts off with ty kidnapping gemma from bangkok airport, where she and her family are waiting for a connecting flight on their trip from london to vietnam. (he basically drugs her, changes her clothes, puts a wig on her, and gets her on another flight.) he takes her to a deserted desert in australia, where there is nothing but a house that he built and lots and lots of sand/rocks/spiky plants. no people. no roads. no electrical lines to trace back to civilization. just the desert. oh, and they get a pet camel. we learn that gemma fleetingly met ty when she was ten (she's now sixteen) and he has been "watching" her ever since then. (gemma remembers it as a brief encounter with an old tramp living under some bushes. ty was not at his best at the time.) anyway, after ty meets gemma he starts building himself a house in the middle of the australian desert far away from people because people pretty much are the worst thing ever (man after my own heart, he is). three or so years after that he realizes that he wants to take gemma with him because she never seems to fit in with the people around her. he wants to save her like she saved him. as she grows older, he also falls in love with her. and that all leads to the whole drugging incident at the airport. his social skills really aren't the best. after about a month, with gemma constantly telling ty how much she hates him and the desert, he makes a deal with her. after four months of living with him, if she still hates it, he'll take her back to civilization. (she had made a few unsuccessful escape attempts, one of which resulted in ty rescuing her from the edge of death.) things start getting better between them then, but just as she starts to fall for him, too, she gets bitten by a snake. he takes her to a clinic that flies her to a hospital, and stays with her when she asks him to even though he knows it means turning himself in. (now would a bad guy do that? how do people not love ty?) he goes to jail, she goes back to her parents, and she's writing the whole book as a letter to him, partly as a form of therapy and partly to explain to him what she felt and hold him accountable for what he did.

when i first heard of the book, they said that you would get stolkholm syndrome when reading it. i get stolkholm syndrome with every book i read, i thought, this shouldn't be any different. but i was wrong. so wrong. it was so much worse. i fell in love with ty the second he showed up at the airport, as is my way, but i did get stolkholm syndrome too, it was like too separate things, and by the end my heart was literally breaking for him. it was very not healthy.

there are only three books that i have ever cried in in my entire life. i've gotten a lump in my throat for a bunch, but actual tears? only three. that was then, this is now in sixth grade was the first book to draw real tears from me, and even then, it was not much. the fault in our stars had tears streaming silently down my cheeks for a good part of it. and then there is stolen. stolen had me sobbing.

stolen is the kind of book that people either hate or love, depending on how you're wired mentally. also if you go for the vulnerable, broken people or not. i am the kind of person that was telling gemma to shut up and love ty already, to not testify against him, to not let him wind up in jail. like i said, i do not have very healthy relationships with my fictional characters. i mean, yes, what he did was wrong, but he was not a bad person. like gemma says, "it's hard to hate someone once you understand them."

there's a point in the book where they're talking about cities and gemma says that people love what they're used to. ty responds to that with, "people should love what needs loving. that way they can save it." and oh my god, you guys, i died. that quote crushed me. right up until the very last page (who am i kidding? it still  is.) that quote was wreaking havoc in my brain and my heart and i just can't.

and although i hated gemma at the end, i also liked her. i admired her and loathed her, i understood what she was doing and resented her for every minute of it. this book was definitely an emotional roller coaster. and i think the fact that gemma was fighting against everything the whole time made it all so much stronger for me. it was real. she didn't just fall in love with her captor because he was there and it was easy.

there are very few books that make it to my five star list on the first read. this was definitely one of them, though.

*Unwell - Matchbox 20


  1. I saw this on goodreads but the reviews made me hesitant. Maybe i'll check it out.

  2. anonymous hippopotamusJune 28, 2013 at 2:00 AM

    that comment was by me btw.

    1. i figured as much. since i put the captchas on i get no anonymous comments. actually, i get no comments period but that's neither here not there. and lol the reviews are what made me want to read it in the first place. if i read it at a different time i may not have loved it so much, but i didn't so i did and i haven't been able to pick up another book yet because my mind wants to stay kidnapped in the australian desert.