Author: Karen Tayleur
Publisher: black dog books
Date of Publication: 2009
Length: 191 pages
From black dog books: What if you could have your life over again. Would it be different? Tully becomes a hostage when she is abducted from a chemist on Christmas Eve. Her ordeal lasts 24 hours. Or so she says.
I think I mentioned earlier this year that a trend was emerging in my reading – I’ve been drawn to books about missing and lost girls, girls who are kidnapped or who mysteriously vanish. It’s a bit scary that my reading list in this subject now falls into double-digits for the year. I think that’s why I was pleasantly surprised when Hostage didn’t follow the format and style I had anticipated (I thought it was going to be a sort of YA Eleven Hours).I really liked the character of Tully and the fact that she’s not necessarily your typical teen girl protagonist. She’s this great mix of toughness, bravado and a bit of a smart-mouth, and yet still vulnerable and sympathetic. I also really enjoyed the flashback and memory sequences, which were insightful and well-executed. Despite Tully’s unreliable narration, there is such a strong (and at times, painful) sense of realness to these memories, that it really helps endear her.
The other aspect I especially enjoyed whilst reading Hostage is the way that Karen Tayleur plays with the roles of captor and accomplice, and the malleable nature of truth. Whilst I was left with unanswered questions at the end of the novel, the sense of uncertainty works and I liked that Tayleur kept me wanting to read on (I read the novel pretty much in one sitting – I found it hard to tear myself away).
Hostage isn’t exactly an easy read (I mean this in the best possible way), but I appreciated the fact that it didn’t necessarily follow trend or genre expectations. Whilst the slightly unconventional format may put some readers off, I feel that Hostage is a fresh and touching road story for fans of contemporary young adult fiction, who like a challenge.