I was drawn to this book. It’s that simple. I saw the cover, read the blurb, and ordered it—all within probably under one minute.
The book didn’t disap...moreI was drawn to this book. It’s that simple. I saw the cover, read the blurb, and ordered it—all within probably under one minute.
The book didn’t disappoint; in actuality, it surpassed my expectations and my hopes. Although I do have one major gripe, I think that comes down more to who I am as a reader and doesn’t necessarily reflect upon the author herself.
This book tells the story of 16 year old Gemma, who is drugged and kidnapped from Bangkok Airport and taken to live with her kidnapper in the Australian wilderness. Immediately, you’d think this book would weave a tale of good versus bad; victim versus perpetrator; the kidnapped versus the kidnapper. And you’d be forgiven for expecting that the book would end either in complete tragedy, such as with the excruciating, tortured death of Gemma or with a happy ending, with Gemma rescued and her kidnapper either behind bars or dead. But, the ending is neither of those things and, strangely, as the reader, you don’t want it to be.
The two characters in the book, Gemma and Ty, have a complex history; one that spans back six years and raises a number of questions—many of which are not answered at the end of the book. But, despite the drugged kidnapping (or rescue?) and Gemma’s thoughts of escape, the story twists and turns with beauty and conflict and uncertainty and desire, and somehow becomes a story that could either be based on love or the well-known Stockholm Syndrome.
At the end of the book, I have come away a little disappointed only because the author made me want something that didn’t materialise, which was so so clever considering this is how the two characters undoubtedly feel when the last page is turned. I wanted Ty and Gemma to remain in the vast Australian desert, to build a life, to love each other, and to be complete as the only two souls left on the planet, gazing up at the stars. Maybe that makes me crazy, but blame Lucy Christopher: she makes you want love to conquer all.
I expect readers of this book could go one of two ways: feel what I feel, and desperately want the two characters to find a way, thus experiencing Stockholm Syndrome; or be repulsed that the main theme underlying this story of kidnap—and therefore abuse—is one of supposed love. Either way, the author tells a riveting story and leaves you captivated.
Putting to one side Ty and Gemma, kidnap and betrayal, unanswered questions and a slightly frustrating ending (begging for a sequel, I might add), the Australian land cannot be neglected. The descriptions are mind-blowing, breath-taking and wonderful; they took me back to ‘Walkabout’ and studying aborigine art in school. Now, I desperately want to be under the vast blanket of stars the author painted so beautifully. I want to be right there now, with Ty and Gemma, lay in the cool sand, a delicate moth balanced on my finger.
And so it becomes clear that this book has left a mark—an imprint—on me like very few have managed to do in my lifetime. I adore this book, and it’s made me a huge fan of the author.
Whenever I write a book review, as awful as it is to say it, I usually have in my head (or, worse, noted down) a list of what I’ve disliked about the...moreWhenever I write a book review, as awful as it is to say it, I usually have in my head (or, worse, noted down) a list of what I’ve disliked about the book: typos, silly mistakes, the beginning, the middle, the end, the characters, the believability factor, this bit and that. When I’ve considered everything I’ve not liked, I then move on to highlighting the handful of things I liked about the book, before finally emphasising the very isolated, usually rare elements I have loved. This review, however, will be much simpler.
The things I disliked about this book: nothing.
The things I liked about this book: nothing.
The things I loved about this book: everything.
Officially, this book is one of my favourites of all time. It’s as if Rumpelstiltskin’s locked-up princess transformed penned ink into gold; each and every page is magical.
The general plot, I suppose, is not the most original——it is a Groundhog Day-type tale of a young girl who dies and is forced to live her final day over and over until she has learnt lessons and given her loved ones (those she realises she loves as well as those she doesn’t) a piece of her; a little bit of happiness and insight into the girl she once was——and who she was supposed to be. However, whether or not the plot itself is unique, the story most certainly is, and Oliver writes Samantha in such a raw, true and realistic way; she really gets inside the head and heart of the character, and depicts her without any immature teen babble that’s likely to put-off and irritate non-teen readers.
The end to this book is most definitely bitter-sweet, but it couldn’t have been concluded any other way: to end it differently would have made the entire book pointless——and I think Lauren Oliver recognised this. She penned Samantha and her (after)life exactly as they should have been, from beginning to end.
Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest with this book; delightedly, I have discovered a wonderful author and a book I will read time and time again. This one will remain a fixture on my bookshelf! (less)