Thursday, September 10, 2015

Review: One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

Title: One Thing Stolen 
Author: Beth Kephart
Publication Date: April 14th, 2015
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Source: Won in Giveaway
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
Summary: Something is not right with Nadia Cara. She’s become a thief. She has secrets she can’t tell. And when she tries to speak, the words seem far away. In Florence, Italy, with her epicurean brother, professor father, and mother who helps at-risk teens, Nadia finds herself trapped by her own obsessions and following the trail of an elusive Italian boy whom no one but herself has seen. While her father researches a flood that nearly destroyed Florence in 1966, Nadia wonders if she herself can be rescued—or will she disappear?

Set against the backdrop of a glimmering city, One Thing Stolen is an exploration of obsession, art, and a rare neurological disorder. It is about language and beauty, imagining and knowing, and the deep salvation of love.
"This is what I'm trying to say, what I want you to know, what I want you to tell them when I am gone, because this bad thing is happening to me: Once I had a future."
I was drawn to this book due to it setting and its cover. The summary also intrigued me since I deals with a "rare neurological disorder" that a teen is going through in a beautiful city such as Florence. However, I found this book was very polarizing. On the one hand I absolutely loved the writing and the imagery in the book. It was absolutely stunning and highly enjoyable. However, the actual plot and story failed to grip me. The lack of a story or even really a typical plot really hurt my enjoyment of this book. I wanted to love it, but I felt like I was not truly reading a good book. 

I was reading a beautifully crafted story though. I loved the way the story progressed first through, Nadia's POV, followed by Maggie and Benedetto. It was a great way to change POVs while also moving the story further. As Nadia's condition grew worse, it was necessary to switch POVs to continue the story.

With this came the other reason I truly enjoyed this book, Nadia's POV. Nadia suffers from a rare form of dementia which has slowly overtaken her. As such Nadia's POV is written in a way that mirrors this deterioation of her mind. At first it was really hard to get through the pages and I was constantly rereading phrases to get to the true meaning of the words, but that is what makes it so brilliant. It was Nadia's thoughts as she dealt with her condition.

So I've talked about how the felt like something was missing with regards to the plot for this book and that continues to be the case. I was left with a feeling of incompleteness after I read the last page. We spend the entire book following Nadia as her condition gets worse and those around her realize what is wrong. But we never see the outcome of the struggles and treatment. I feel like this was an in depth character study on Nadia that was incomplete. 

The writing alone gives this book 5 crowns, but I cannot justify that rating because of the incompleteness I felt after finishing the book. Also for full disclosure, I did read this in one sitting for the #Booktubeathon and that potentially affected how I perceived the book and how I am reviewing it.

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