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Psychology of Duress

by
December 2009–January 2010, no. 317

Stolen: A Letter To My Captor by Lucy Christopher

Chicken House for Scholastic Australia, $17.99 pb, 301 pp

Book 2 Cover Small (400 x 600)

Mama's Song by Ben Beaton

Black Dog Books, $16.99 pb, 199 pp

Psychology of Duress

by
December 2009–January 2010, no. 317

A certain sub-genre of Young Adult fiction thrives on the psychology of duress – on the useful friction yielded by placing a young heroine in a near-impossible situation and asking the reader: ‘What would you do? How would you cope?’ Two recently released, formidable début novels have utilised this formula, with some impressive results.

The first is the disastrously titled Stolen: A Letter to My Captor. Sounding more like tabloid journalism than literary Young Adult fiction, Lucy Christopher’s book nonetheless manages to avoid the pitfalls of the former to resemble the latter. Stolen is the story of Gemma Toombs, a London schoolgirl who is kidnapped by a mysterious stranger (or is he?) and held captive somewhere in the deserts of remote north-west Australia. Following a disagreement with her parents at Bangkok Airport, Gemma is approached by Ty, a handsome young man with piercing blue eyes ‘too intense to stare into for long’. Her first mistake is to continue staring. Her second is to allow him to sugar her coffee.

Stephen Mansfield reviews 'Stolen: A Letter To My Captor' by Lucy Christopher and 'Mama’s Song' by Ben Beaton

Stolen: A Letter To My Captor

by Lucy Christopher

Chicken House for Scholastic Australia, $17.99 pb, 301 pp

Book 2 Cover Small (400 x 600)

Mama's Song

by Ben Beaton

Black Dog Books, $16.99 pb, 199 pp

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