Girl, stolen by April Henry
Walker Books, 2012. ISBN 9781406334852.
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Reluctant readers. YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults (2011). Sixteen-year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of the car while her stepmother fills a prescription for antibiotics for Cheyenne's pneumonia. Before she realises what's happening, the car is being stolen. Griffin is shocked when he sees that Cheyenne is in the back of the car and doesn't know what to do when he discovers that not only is she sick, she is blind as well.
From here on Cheyenne is a terrifying journey until she is finally tied up in a bedroom and threatened by Griffin's father and his sidekicks. But Cheyenne is a strong and very determined heroine who is intelligent enough to work out ways of escaping. It also helps that Griffin has a conscience and doesn't agree with what his father plans when he discovers that Cheyenne's father is the rich and powerful head of huge corporation.
Told in alternative viewpoints by Cheyenne and Griffin, the reader quickly begins to identify with both. I was engrossed with Cheyenne's story. Even though she was blind and her mother had died fairly recently, she is resourceful and persistent. The back-story of how she became blind is also fascinating. On the other hand, Griffin also gained my sympathy. Forced to stay with his father when his mother disappeared, he is not really a villain like his father. I was able to empathise with his plight although it was obvious that he was on the road to a life of crime when he stole the car Cheyenne was in. What do you do when you are a teen with no resources and no family support but a thief for a father? The relationship between the two is cleverly built up by Henry and always seems realistic. Questions about the nature of the bond between kidnapper and kidnapped are raised and the contrast between the life of a rich girl and that of a very poor boy is poignant.
Readers are in for a roller coaster ride as the resourceful Cheyenne makes some escape attempts. There is action and suspense galore, some gory moments and some very frightening scenes. The fact that Cheyenne can't see makes everything even more thrilling.
Reluctant readers, especially girls, will enjoy this story, with its fast paced action, and engrossing characters. The fact that it is not too long will also help!