Author: Lucy Christopher
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Chicken House (Imprint of Scholastic)
Date Published: May 1st, 2010
Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don’t exist – almost.
This is one of those books that by the end you feel almost empty. It drains you a bit. I didn’t cry, but I was on the verge at one point. It’s nearly impossible not to develop Stockholm Syndrome after reading this book. Ty, while sometimes an asshole, and of course a bonafied kidnapper, is also this extremely sweet, caring, and intelligent person who is (in my opinion) impossible not to become attached to after awhile.
When Gemma is first kidnapped, and for a good portion of the beginning of the book I held my own. Sure, he was hot and that’s hard to miss given the descriptions we’re getting. But, I didn’t fall for it at first. However, before I even realized what was happening I was falling for him. I was wanting this story to end happily somehow. I was trying to justify and sympathize with Ty’s ridiculous and fully insane reasoning for taking Gemma in the first place.
That’s what makes this book so amazing though. It’s seriously an incredible look into the mind of someone who is slowly developing Stockholm Syndrome. It makes you understand it a little bit more. I will say that I was impressed, while at the same time frustrated, with Gemma too. She held her own (emotionally) for quite a while and she proved that she’s an extremely strong willed and capable person. At times I found myself just wanting Gemma to give in to Ty though — because I was giving in — and that made her strong will frustrating, while at the same time I was proud of her too.
While I found this to be a somewhat realistic look into a case of kidnapping, I also found it to be unrealistic in some instances. I can’t really get into the whys without spoiling, so here’s my reasons behind a spoiler tag:
Ty never tries to touch Gemma in a sexual way. He does reach out to her a few times and they are close at times as well, but it was more of a companionship affection than anything. You could tell, and he said that he wanted her, but it was always in a very mild sense and never in a scary and creepy kind of way. It felt more like he was wanting her as a partner, more than wanting her sexually (although that was kind of a given).
While I was pretty relieved not to have to read a rape scene. I found this to be pretty unrealistic as well. In this case of kidnapping Ty “steals” (or “saves” as he puts it) Gemma for companionship — because he “loves” her and has been watching (stalking) her for some time. But, I have a hard time believing that anyone capable of stalking and kidnapping a 16 year old girl is doing it just for love and companionship. It makes it a bit unrealistic that he wasn’t taking her for sexual reasons as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I didn’t have to read about that and it made me like Ty more. But, I just think if this were real life, more traumatic things would have happened. So in that sense, I think that this book almost romanticizes kidnapping as a whole, and that’s kind of disturbing. But, again, we are supposed to be in the mind of a person who is developing Stockholm Syndrome. So my feelings on it being romanticized could be because of the point of view we were stuck in throughout the book.
Overall, this was a great book. I’ve never read a book about kidnapping like this and it really makes you feel I think exactly how Lucy Christopher wanted us to feel. I definitely would recommend it if you’re looking for something a little emotional and a little bit shocking in the sense of how it will end up making you feel in the end.
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