Stolen by Lucy Christopher. It's well-written, gripping, shocking, sad, dark, realistic, and beautiful.
Summary: This is how it happened: Gemma is on a layover in Bangkok, en route to a family 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 her frink. And drugs it. They talk. Their hands touch. And before Gemma knows what's happening, Ty takes her. The object of a long obsession, Gemma has been kidnapped by her stalker and brought to the Australian Outback. To sand and heat. Emptiness and isolation. Where he expects her to love him.
Stolen is written in first-person narrative, as a letter to her kidnapper. The content is disturbing and sometimes uncomfortable, but like Nabokov's Lolita, it is also beautiful. We hate Ty on sheer principle. We want to run screaming from him, but we also see the allure to his character; he's so much more than a twisted criminal. Ty lives the language of love, just as Humbert does in Lolita. If we didn't know what was happening in Stolen, we might not know that Ty's feelings for Gemma were anything but feelings of true love and respect. If you liked Lolita (in the way that you liked the book, but were also repulsed and couldn't tear your eyes away), then you will enjoy Stolen.
I went through a myriad of emotions while reading this book. I pitied Gemma, I was scared for her, I was annoyed, I was angered by her developing feelings for Ty, and I understood her. Christopher shows how easily any girl (or person, for that matter) can become a victim of something like this. Gemma does not "ask for it" and she doesn't make bad choices. This is a frightening, but all too real scenario of an everyday teenage girl who manages to survive a terrible, terrible situation.
Stolen is also a story of psychological and emotional distress. Christopher brings to life the crippling emotions of the victim and what it's like to live with Stockholm Syndrome. Mental illness is such an important topic and I'm glad that Christopher makes the story about so much more than the crime itself. Stolen makes it clear that surviving the kidnapping is only half the battle
Although Stolen is a teen book, I enjoyed it very much as an adult. Lucy Christopher is a talented writer whose story has stuck with me from the moment I started reading, to the moment I finished (and I finished reading this book days ago!). It reads a little like The Lovely Bones, but I see more similarities to Lolita. This is a powerful, beautiful, and amazing book, and I sincerely recommend you add this to your reading list!