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One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

One Thing Stolen

by Beth Kephart

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6115194,696 (3.53)2



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Nadia is worried that she is going crazy. Literally. She's living in Florence, Italy with her parents and younger brother, while her professor dad is on sabbatical to write a book about the 1966 flood of Florence. Nadia misses her best friend back in Philadelphia, and wishes she had her to talk to about her secret: Nadia feels compelled to steal things, and weave them into intricately constructed artistic birds' nests. And, she keeps glimpsing a boy in the streets, and runs after him, but no one else in her family sees him. At the same time she seems to be losing her ability to speak coherently, so she can't tell her family what is going on. As Nadia spirals downward, the reader is drawn into her swirling anguish. Eventually she gets help, and learns that she has a rare (but real) condition called "frontotemporal disorder." That was the most fascinating thing about this book, learning about this condition where people gain a sudden artistic ability but gradually lose the speech and science centers of the brain. I also loved the setting of this book; you could tell the author has been there many times and has a real love for the twisting streets and venerable architecture and colorful vendors and so forth. The flood is also a real historical event, and the author's note at the end explains more about both the disease and the flood. The book is a little hard to get into at first, because it's a real stream of consciousness style of writing, being inside Nadia's head where it's hard to tell reality from fantasy, just as she is experiencing herself. There is little punctuation, and it really shows her losing her grip on reality. But as you get into it it is quite fascinating. ( )
  GoldieBug | Feb 28, 2017 |
At times it was difficult to get through the writing style but the plot is worth struggling for.
  meliarose | Sep 11, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
One Thing Stolen is like nothing I've ever read. The first half is from the point of view of Nadia, who is slowly losing herself and her ability to communication, instead finding art and crafting nests from stolen objects, papers, and crafts an all-consuming need. The writing is so beautifully confusing and full of emotion, and in the lack of clarity (intentional), you can understand what Nadia must be going through. The second half is told by her best friend from home, who travels to Florence to help Nadia with treatment, and questions what of Nadia's memories are real, and what has caused this change in her.

Each time I picked up this book, I became as consumed in it as Nadia did in her nest-crafting. It was difficult to get into at first, but then I found it even more difficult to come out of it, to let go of Nadia and her way of thinking and return to me and my life. It may be a book that people put down quickly, because it's so different, but I would urge you to keep going because it's one that will stick with you. ( )
  AbbeGoldberg | Aug 10, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I, like other readers, had a hard time getting into this book. The sentences seemed choppy and I felt the narrative was hard to follow sometimes. I definitely think there is an audience for this teen novel, though, and I have purchased a copy for the library I work work for. It wasn't really "my thing," but I know that it will find some dedicated readers in the library. Thank you!
  megtall | Jun 3, 2015 |
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