Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Review: Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Title:  Girl, Stolen
Author:  April Henry
Publisher:  Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: YA/suspense
Hardcover: 224 pages
ISBN: 0805090053
Summary from Goodreads: 
Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen--with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price? 
  • Overall rating: 8/10
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April Henry's Girl, Stolen is a suspenseful thriller about sixteen year old Cheyenne, a blind girl with pneumonia who is inadvertently kidnapped by a carjacker while her stepmother is in the pharmacy picking up her prescription.  When Griffin, the teenage carjacker, discovers Cheyenne in the back of the SUV, he wants to let her go but decides to consult with his father first.  Unfortunately for Cheyenne, when Griffin's father finds out that her family is extremely wealthy, he decides to hold her for ransom.  But will he really let her go if the ransom is paid?  Will Griffin stand by and let his mistake turn into murder?  Can Cheyenne escape and find help on her own?

What I Liked:
-     My favorite aspect of this book was how brave and resourceful Cheyenne was and how thoroughly her  blindness was integrated into the story.  Her blindness was presented in a believable and enlightening way, and I liked that she was so smart and capable.
-     Despite Griffin's criminal history, he was easy to sympathize with because he found himself in a difficult position - torn between his compassionate impulses and his abusive father's demands.
-     This book is a page-turner!  The carjacking/kidnapping happens on the very first page, and the pace doesn't let up until the very last page.  So although this book is fairly short, it is intense from start to finish.
-     The setting has a gritty realism that I liked.  From the sink filled with dirty dishes to the hot dogs and ramen Griffin prepared for Cheyenne, the two main characters and their environment felt realistic.  It didn't ever feel like a sugar-coated fictional world.

What I Liked Less:
-     Aside from Griffin, the bad guys were stock villains who didn't seem to have any ethical concerns about  kidnapping, rape, murder, or theft.  I found them fairly generic and easy to hate.  In a book with so few characters, I wanted every one of them to be compelling and conflicted.
-     The last couple of chapters resolved the story a little too quickly for my taste.

Girl, Stolen is a suspenseful book about a blind girl who is kidnapped and held for ransom.  The author, April Henry, has written several more suspenseful thrillers for teens and adults, including Shock Point, Torched, Learning to Fly, the Claire Montrose mysteries, and the Triple Threat novels (which she co-writes with Lis Wiehl).  If you would like to learn more about Girl, Stolen or April Henry's other books, visit her website, blog, or twitter.

You can read the first chapter of Girl, Stolen here or see April Henry read the first chapter here.