Girl, Stolen by April Henry is a young adult book about a 16-year-old girl named Cheyenne who is in the backseat of her stepmother’s car when it is stolen. Cheyenne is blind due to an accident three years earlier, and sick with pneumonia. The boy who stole the car, Griffin, did not realize Cheyenne was in the back seat and returns home to his father’s chop shop unsure of what to do. The story unfolds from here.
The story is told from third person point of view and alternates between focusing on Cheyenne and focusing on Griffin. Although Griffin’s dad and his friends are clearly “bad,” it is really hard not to feel sorry for Griffin. “Good” and “bad” are not clearly defined in this character. He seems to be doing bad things only out of a desire to be accepted by his father, and he feels an inner conflict between this and his desire to protect Cheyenne.
I had only two real problems with this book. It is classified as a young adult book, and Amazon lists it for grades 7-10. The book is such an easy read, and I was reading adult novels in grades 7-10. The writing seems more appropriate for ages 9-12. On the other hand, there is definitely one part of the book I wouldn’t want my 9-12 year old reading due to violent sexual language. Cheyenne seems like a wise character because she has been through so much since she became blind. I was very appreciative of the backstory so we could better understand what happened to her. However, Cheyenne and Griffin’s language felt younger than 16, having been 16 myself within the last decade. The second issue I had with the book was the ending. I enjoyed the fast-paced climax toward the end of the book, but just one or two more lines tacked on to the end of the last chapter would have left me so much more satisfied. It was not a cliffhanger, but I wanted a little more information.
That said, the book was an enjoyable read, and I liked it more than I disliked it. I think this would have been a book I would like in late elementary school. A relatively fast reader can read it in its entirety in a few hours.
Where did I get this book? ARC received from publisher through Goodreads
2010. New York: Henry Holt and Company. 213 pages.