Book Review – One Thing Stolen

FinalCoverOneThingStolenONE THING STOLEN is written in watercolor — it’s beautiful, poetic and arresting. Nadia Cara is a girl who recently moved to Florence, Italy. Not only does she feel lost in the gorgeous city but she’s lost the ability to find the right words when speaking. She begins to steal pretty things that catch her eye and weave nests out of the objects she’s collected. When she meets an elusive boy in the city, she finally feels like she’s found someone who understands her. However, Nadia can’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy as she descends into the snares of a rare neurological disease. She tells herself the boy is real, although the reader knows better than to trust this narrator.

The book reads like poetry, with fragmented sentences and vivid imagery. Metaphors abound and sometimes the plethora of images presented is too disjointed for the reader to truly picture the scene, but I believe this represents Nadia’s disoriented state of mind. It leaves you with an overall feeling of breathlessness and the wish to see the world through Nadia’s eyes. The symbols author Beth Kephart chooses are significant and will stay with the reader long after the last page — names, birds, nests, floods, foreign languages, churches. Reading ONE THING STOLEN is like finding something you never knew you lost.

Nadia’s disorder, in some ways, frees her even though she is trapped by speech and memory loss. Just like she is able to roam the city, Nadia gives herself the liberty to live in the beauty of the moment. With the free-verse style narrative and muddled thoughts, the plot may be confusing, but the sense of mystery ultimately pulls the reader through. I love the characters, especially Nadia’s best friend Maggie, who she recounts in flashbacks of good times spent together — the type of friendship everyone envies. Nadia’s family brings hope to the readers as they learn to deal with Nadia’s wandering mind. ONE THING STOLEN is artistic, dauntless and haunting from the beginning to the end.

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About Cassandra Hsiao

Cassandra Hsiao is a senior at OCSA (Orange County School of the Arts). Her work has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and National Student Poets Program. She has been chosen as finalists of playwriting competitions held by California Young Playwrights, The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, and Princeton University. Her poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in TeenReads, Jet Fuel Review, Feminine Inquiry, Aerie International and more. She also conducts print and on-camera interviews as a Star Reporter and Film Critic for multiple online outlets. She won a National Gracie Award in Student Online Video Host Category by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation .

Posted on April 17, 2015, in Books Review. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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