I must confess that I haven’t read the Robert Louis Stevenson classic from which I lifted the title of this post, but I have read several teen novels recently that have to do with abduction.
Girl, Stolen starts with a mistake. Griffin is just trying to help is family or maybe impress his father when he steals a car left in a parking lot outside a pharmacy in a shopping center. Only he didn’t realize that there was anyone in the back seat. Cheyenne, who was waiting in the car while her stepmother picked up her medication, has pneumonia, and she is blind. We get both teens’ points of view in this edge-of-your-seat adventure as Griffin struggles with a problem that keeps escalating out of his hands and as Cheyenne tries to keep her cool and get away from her captors. Cheyenne is a tough girl who never gives up despite her limitations, and Griffin is a complex character who must make a difficult decision. This is a quick read that will have appeal to both boys and girls.
Helen Frost’s latest novel in verse, Hidden, also begins with an accidental kidnapping. This time the abducted is a child, 8-year-old Wren, and the abductor is a down-on-his-luck family man with an 8-year-old daughter. The two girls never meet (Wren hides in the garage until she is able to get away), but both of their lives are deeply affected by the experience and its aftermath. Years later, Wren and Darra end up at the same summer camp, and they find themselves changing once again. This is a slim novel, but the poems contain more complexity than you might expect from a glance. Helen Frost’s fans will not be disappointed.
The last abduction I read about was no accident. In Printz Honor-winning Stolen, Gemma is drugged and transported to the Australian Outback by a man who has been stalking her for years. He believes he is rescuing her, and his plan is to make Gemma love him and keep her forever. Clearly this book is a bit more intense than the two above, but it isn’t a story of abuse. Ty treats Gemma well, and, despite her captivity, Gemma eventually begins to care for her captor and connect with the desert. Stolen is emotionally raw, but somehow it also manages to be beautiful.
Girl, Stolen by April Henry. 2010.
Hidden by Helen Frost. 2011.
Stolen by Lucy Christopher. 2010.