One Thing Stolen
ONE 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.
ONE THING STOLEN is written in watercolor --- it’s beautiful, poetic and arresting.
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.
Reviewed by Cassandra H., Teen Board member on April 17, 2015