GIRL, STOLEN by April Henry is a novel that will keep Chicagoland teens on the edge of their seats and leave them thinking about the plight of its main characters long after the story is finished.
It’s the story of a legally blind girl named Cheyenne, who is lying in the backseat of her step-mother’s Escalade in a mall parking lot when the car is hijacked by Griffin, a high school dropout whose father makes his living with a chop shop behind the house. Cheyenne is sick with pneumonia, and her step-mother left the car running as she ran to the pharmacy to fill an order for antibiotics.
Griffin thinks he’s found a gold mine when he spots the still-running Escalade with no owner in sight, while Cheyenne struggles to make herself invisible.“Cheyenne felt like a mouse she had seen in the kitchen one time when she turned on the light before school. Caught in the middle of the floor, it had stood stock still. Like maybe she wouldn’t notice it if it didn’t move. But it hadn’t worked for the mouse and now it didn’t work for Cheyenne,” Henry writes. Griffin soon realizes his mistake when he hears Cheyenne rustling in the back, under her blanket. He’s sure his father will help him find a way to get Cheyenne home, once he and the thugs his father works with have taken care of the car. She’s blind, after all, he figures; there’s no way she could identify her unwitting kidnappers or the house where the Escalade will be kept.
But when Griffin’s father discovers Cheyenne’s father is the president of Nike, he decides Cheyenne is more valuable than the car – and he’s not about to give her up without a ransom. And it may be up to Cheyenne to use her senses and her wits to save herself—or to Griffin to find a way to get Cheyenne to safety.
GIRL, STOLEN has just the right pacing to draw in even reluctant teen readers, with lots of action and suspense tempered with scenes that show us how Cheyenne and Griffin have gotten to this point, and what it’s like to be legally blind, motherless (Cheyenne lost her mother in the accident that caused her blindness; Griffin hasn’t seen his mother since he was little, and believes she left to get away from his father), the daughter of a high-profile executive, or the son of a car thief. The details Henry provides about both of their worlds are at times educational – How do you acclimate yourself when you’re legally blind? What’s involved in stealing a car and selling it for cheap? – and often gripping. The relationship that evolves between Cheyenne and Griffin is especially captivating, as they move from a position of mutual distrust toward an alliance that could threaten both their lives or set them free.
GIRL, STOLEN is now available in paperback. Read the first chapter, and visit the author’s website to learn more about her other books for teens. The book is available through Chicago Public Library and Lake County Public Library in Northwest Indiana, and is available for purchase through Andersons Bookshop in Naperville and Downers Grove.