While this intriguing debut novel certainly kept me turning the pages, I also found it creepy and somewhat disturbing. It is told from the first person perspective, as a letter written from sixteen-year-old Gemma to her kidnapper Ty. He has drugged and abducted her from the Bangkok airport, where she was traveling with her parents on vacation, and takes her to a house he has built in the isolated Australian Outback. There she discovers that the man in his mid-twenties has been stalking her for six years, and says he loves her and would never hurt her. Ty is determined to open her eyes to the beauty and mystery of the Outback. If only she will cooperate with him, she will want to stay, he is convinced.
But Gemma is stronger than he realized, and fights back, eventually escaping and almost dying in the desert. As he rescues her, she begins to see a new side of him that might counter the obsessive young man she thinks he is.
This was a difficult book more me to like, although I found it hard to put down. Ty is portrayed fairly sympathetically, and Gemma’s eventual affection for me felt wrong. Her psychologist talks about the Stockholm Syndrome, where captives eventually come to identify with their captors, but she doesn’t see herself as having this. She continues to see Ty as misunderstood. At the end, the question is whether or not she will testify against him in court to put him in prison.