Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Lying in the back seat, Cheyenne is sick and waiting for her stepmother to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. Her stepmom has left the car keys in case she gets cold. Covered up with a blanket, Cheyenne hears someone enter the car and start it up, racing out of the parking lot. From the way the person is driving she knows this is not her stepmom. Who is this person and what is happening? Cheyenne doesn't know because she's blind.
Griffin is a young man a few years older than Cheyenne. He lives with his dad Roy who runs a chop shop. Griffin's mom use to be around until he was seriously burned in an accident when she mysteriously left to go live with her family. When Griffin sees the Cadillac Escalade SUV with the keys in, he knows he just has to take it. He wasn't there to steal cars, only Christmas packages from the cars at the mall. How could he be so stupid not "to see past the keys dangling in the ignition." Now he has a bigger problem on his hands - a blind girl in the backseat. He can't just let her go. The cops will find him too quickly.
So Griffin takes her back to his dad's house and shop. Griffin wants to let Cheyenne go, but when his father learns that she is Cheyenne Wilder, the daughter of the president of Nike, he is determined to ransom millions from him.

But things turn ugly quickly and both Griffin and Cheyenne must make difficult choices. Will Griffin help Cheyenne escape? Can Cheyenne trust Griffin to protect her from Roy and his men?

April Henry's book is another twist on the kidnapped girl theme that is currently very popular in YA fiction. It follows books like Stolen (Lucy Christopher), Living Dead Girl (Elizabeth Scott) and The missing girl (Norma Fox Mazer).

In Henry's tale, there is the added tension of not knowing just where Griffin's loyalties lie. Griffin is portrayed as a basically good kid caught in bad circumstances. He is a thief but Henry shows us that he does have some redeeming qualities. He seems to want to do the right thing but is terrified of his father. He develops a growing attraction to Cheyenne whose helplessness and illness seems to bring out the protector instinct in Griffin. When Griffin gradually comes to the realization of what his father is planning to do, he realizes the situation has escalated far beyond auto theft.

The twist at the end seems highly implausible. But Henry leaves it open to the reader's interpretation. Told from both Cheyenne and Griffins perspective, Girl Stolen is an enjoyable, suspenseful read!

Book Details:
Girl, Stolen. A novel by April Henry
New York: Henry Holt & Company 2010
213 pp

Girl, Stolen

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