Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Early Review: One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

One Thing Stolen
by Beth Kephart
Read: March 11 - 13, 2015
Published:  April 14, 2015 by Chronicle Books
Source: Edelweiss (Thank you, Chronicle!)
Category: YA, contemporary, mental illness, Florence, art
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository 

Book description: Something is not right with Nadia Cara. While spending a year in Florence, Italy, she's become a thief. She has secrets. And when she tries to speak, the words seem far away. Nadia finds herself trapped by her own obsessions and following the trail of an elusive Italian boy whom only she has seen. Can Nadia be rescued or will she simply lose herself altogether? Set against the backdrop of a glimmering city, One Thing Stolen is an exploration of obsession, art, and a rare neurological disorder. It is a celebration of language, beauty, imagination, and the salvation of love.

Beth Kephart's writing is beautiful. I love to get lost in her words. But within those words, Nadia Cara is lost. Her family is spending a year in Florence, Italy while her father is on sabbatical from his university. He is doing research for a book he's writing on a tragic flood that occurred in Florence in 1966. Nadia is there with him, along with her brother and mother. But something is changing about Nadia these days, and though the evidence is there, no one can quite grasp what is happening. Nadia has become increasingly stuck in her head, struggling to communicate with words. She loses track of time and keeps secrets, including her new role as a thief and her obsession with creating intricate nests from the objects she finds. 

What I love about Kephart's words, is that through them we are able to experience the confusion of being inside of Nadia's head, and as Nadia loses herself, we become increasingly unsure of the reliability of what we see. Nadia's mental space is not a regular place, and I felt that as I was reading. One Thing Stolen does a great job at describing what is happening to Nadia, but it is only later in the story that clarity comes. Although it is a spoiler to give more details (I've said more under the show/hide tag), I liked the way this was done. One Thing Stolen also features layers of of themes from the stealing to the nest building to the focus on the Florentine flood that parallel and provide more insight into to Nadia's struggles in a way that adds poetry and symmetry to the story. 

This lovely and heartbreaking book clings to hope even when it seems hopeless. Life isn't easy for Nadia, and I will admit to getting bogged down in the heaviness of her situation. But there is also such beauty surrounding her tale. I loved the Florence setting, and exploring the city with Nadia made me desperate to revisit its winding streets and masterpieces of art and architecture. I also adored Nadia's friendship with Maggie. Their dedication to each other stole my heart above anything else in this book. Their fierce bond is one of the most moving aspects of this story. Though I love that Nadia's family is very present in her life, Nadia + Maggie is the relationship that stood out the most to me. This story also has a light romance, that while sweet, I found hard to grasp, partially because there was little buildup and they don't spend a lot of time together. However, I could understand why these two were drawn to and felt connected to each other. 

I do have a few comments that are spoilers, and I've hidden them below.

Small Damages remains my favorite Beth Kephart book, but I very much enjoyed getting lost in Florence with Nadia in One Thing Stolen. Beth Kephart's gorgeous words once again beautifully compliment her unfolding story and give readers the chance to explore places near and far. This cover is also perfect for Nadia's tale.  

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone 


  1. I love when a story brings you characters who are friends and when it takes you to places we don't usually see in YA books. Do you suppose she got to go to Florence for research? See, that would be one of the huge reasons (to me) to write a book set in a country other than your And, if you do it right, you get to write it off!

  2. Amazing review sweetie :D I am so glad that you liked this book. <3 But aw. It sounds pretty sad :\ I might not want to read it, hih. Though that cover is so so pretty :D I'm glad you really love the writing, though. <3 That is always a huge plus :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this book Lauren. <3 I'm glad you love the books by this author :D

  3. This is such a beautiful review. Thank you so much for taking the time to travel to Florence with Nadia, Maggie, and me.

  4. I've read one book previously by Kephart and whilst I didn't connect with the story much, I adored Kephart's writing. When I firts read the blurb for this book I don't know why I didn't pay much attention to it before, but I love that there's so much more that Kephart has to offer with what is going on with Nadia's character. I'm so tempted to click on the spoiler, but I won't! Gorgeous review! :)

  5. I haven't heard of this book before, but I was sent a copy in my book riot box, and I'm glad to see you enjoyed it. I might have to give it a read.


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