Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Long Stolen Night

The theme for this post is the captive narrative. I know, I know. Dark, right? The two following books are really good though, I swear.

The Long Night of Leo and Bree by Ellen Wittlinger: Bree just wants to be alone and forget about expectations. On the fourth anniversary of his sister's murder, Leo is losing his mind and spinning out of control. Leo kidnaps Bree and takes her hostage. It's going to be one long night for the both of them.

It introduces the things that Leo and Bree are running away from early on. Bree is sick of being told what to do by her parents and her boyfriend and following their orders. She just wants a night to herself. Leo is still distraught over the murder of his sister Michelle and can no longer take the effects it's had on his mom. The story is told in alternating points of view and Leo and Bree both have distinct voices.

And despite how horrible things begin between them, Leo and Bree find common ground and they try to help one another to work through their problems. In my opinion, Leo finds a bit of redemption. His pain does not excuse his actions but he does realize that the decision to take Bree was a bad one and feels guilt because of it. I also really like that Bree is honest (sometimes even rude) with Leo and works to try and help him. They help each other realize that they are strong and capable of being better.

It ends on a very hopeful note for both characters and though the book is short, it doesn't feel incomplete. In fact, you are struck with a sense of possibility for Leo and Bree.

Girl, Stolen by April Henry: Cheyenne Wilder is dozing in the backseat of the family car while her stepmom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. She wakes up from her nap to realize that the car isn't being driven by her stepmom but by a stranger who has stolen the car.

All Griffin wanted was the car. He didn't mean to take Cheyenne. Things only get worse when Griffin's father realizes that there's money to be made from Cheyenne since she's from a wealthy family.

How will Cheyenne get through it when she's both sick with pneumonia and blind?

I just finished this novel today. It took forever (7 months) for the library to finish processing it. I am not gifted with very much patience.

First, I'm going to talk about the characters. I loved Cheyenne because even though the odds were against her, she fought to survive and ultimately saved herself. She didn't allow her blindness to stop her, which it predictably could have and no one would have batted an eyelash.

I couldn't help but like Griffin too. He's a kid who dropped out of high school, is possibly dyslexic and the only family member he has is a terrifying and abusive dad. He takes care of Cheyenne, protects her even and helps her escape despite the risk he's taking with his father finding out about it.

Some might complain that the novel is slow at the beginning and some of the information presented about character back stories is unnecessary but I don't think any of that is true. The novel flows really well and it builds and builds the tension with each chapter until the end. I also enjoy getting to know the characters that I'll be spending about 2 to 3 days with while I read.

April Henry did a lot of research and it shines through in this novel. It's not just a relaying of a bunch of the facts she's learned but more a sharing of her understanding with the reader through Griffin's questions and Cheyenne's answers.

I really enjoyed these novels so I hope that other people will give them a chance too.

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