When sixteen-year-old Cheyenne is kidnapped in her stepmother’s SUV, her captor has no idea that she is in the backseat. He only intended to jack the car, and is in for the surprise of his life finding out that not only has he kidnapped a girl, but he has kidnapped a blind girl with pneumonia. Forced to make a decision, her captor takes her to his house and proceeds to fix his mistakes under the watchful eye of his father.
Told in alternating POV, this novel gets in to the minds of Cheyenne and her kidnapper, Griffin. We learn of how Cheyenne lost her sight, as well as the struggles she has had since then. Griffin has problems of his own, trying to sort through the reality that is his life, living in a home where stealing is like breathing and violence is a part of everyday life. Author April Henry has seamlessly brought together these two characters, as the chapters flow together in a way that keeps you turning pages quickly. At the same time that the characters are woven together, there is also a distinct voice to each of them. Obviously, Cheyenne is blind and experiences the world in an entirely different way than Griffin. The distinction between the two voices gives light to how our circumstances hinder us or enable us to see the world differently. However, each character is seeking survival and strength during this tumultuous time, and this is what brings them together.
The plot of the novel reveals the emotions of the characters, as any good novel should. However, because the two main characters have such depth to them, it is not just the plot that we follow, but also the revealing of inner struggle, doubt and sacrifice. When it comes to the plot, the pacing might be a little off, but only in order to continue with the alternating points-of-view.
I feel as if Girl, Stolen should be a completely different experience for each reader. Though short in page count, there is much depth when it comes to emotion, the reality of life, and human nature. One could most definitely fly through this novel, getting caught up in the kidnapping aspect of it, rejoicing in triumphs and feeling despair with the characters. One could also read for the character development, possibly putting aside the fact that the novel is told from the point-of-view of a kidnapper and his victim. This novel is definitely one that I will read again, trying to glean from it what I can.
by April Henry
Published by Henry Holt and Co.