Figures the first Cyblis Shorlist book from the YA category I read would be Stolen. It just figures. I should have known better. I had plenty of warning. I should have read Liz B’s post before I reserved this one. Or maybe it’s good that I didn’t, I might have decided not to read it at all – even though that would mean totally blowing my own challenge. It’s that kind of book.
Liz B. sums it up nicely, it’s a Printz Honor book (and on the Cybil’s shortlist, I assume) for three reasons, — writing, setting, characterization. Both Gemma and Ty are very real, in both their strengths and weaknesses.
But is that enough? I don’t know. It’s a terrifying book because the reader, even one as old as I am, falls into the trap of if not liking Ty – at least recognizing the beauty of him and of what he wants to do out there in the middle of nowhere. The painting. His connection to the land. And that passion extends to Gemma, which is where it all goes wrong. A teen girl (or boy) reading this book might just be lulled into believing Ty’s passion towards Gemma are good – they must be because of his overwhelmingly good passionate feelings about the land.
I worry about this book, for teen readers, because I don’t believe that most of them have the maturity to see Ty for what he was – a very dangerous, abusive, criminal. And that is enough for me to warn readers away from this. I wouldn’t hand it to my teens. I’m very sure that some of them would get sucked into feeling sorry for Ty – feeling attraction for Ty – believing what he felt was LOVE and so it must be ok.
It’s not. It’s not ok.
As troubling as “Romantic Hero: Edward Cullen” is, this book goes so much further. It makes the entire “Marry me/Change me” plot seem like a happy lark through the park for women.
Please don’t let there be a sequel. I am terrified of what that might look like.
I don’t think I will ever forget these characters or this story. Sign of a great book – certainly. Without a doubt. It deserves its awards. Read it at your own risk – but definitely read it before your teenagers do.