Title: Taken
Author: Edward Bloor
Pub: Random House; 2007
Pages: 247
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Rating: Love it
Extras: This is the first book that my student book club chose to read; it's also a Sunshine State book

The year is 2035 and kidnapping children is prevalent in society. In fact, kidnapping is so frequent that all wealthy students are trained in kidnapping survival. (Think back to your years as a student and practicing for fire drills, bomb threats, lock downs, etc.)

Charity Meyers lives in Florida in a community with other wealthy families. Surveillance is tight and the neighborhood is guarded. She lives with her butler, Albert; maid, Victoria; step mom, Mickie; and father. Mickie is a whack-job and professional reality star gem. She films every aspect of her life, so obviously, Charity can't stand her. Her father is a self-absorbed drunk who'd rather be playing golf with his buddies. This sorta leaves Charity close with only Victoria and Albert.

But here's the clincher. Charity doesn't really know anything about Albert and Victoria because it's against the rules. You see, if you're "working class" there are very few options that you have to make something of yourself. You can fight in the military, or you can join RDS. RDS is the organization that supplies help to the wealthy families. If you work for RDS you give up your identity completely for the duration of employment. You are forbidden to talk about your personal life prior to joining the family, and you really aren't even suppose to form bonds with the family you're taking care of. RDS is so strict that they give you new names. Victoria and Albert are two of those fictional names.

It's Christmas time and Charity is kidnapped. Taken is her story in this not so distant future. For twenty-four hours we are with Charity and her kidnappers as Victoria and Albert attempt to locate the father and Mickie decides to film it.

Uh, can I just say that Taken is one of the most amazing books I've ever read. Immediately from the get-go we are in the back van with Charity and her kidnappers. She is running through her head everything that her schooling has taught her: how to act, how to react, when to look emotional, and when to remain calm. While we feel for the predicament that Charity is in, we also grow to understand (and dare I say empathize??) with the kidnappers. Society is separated rather drastically: you're either wealthy or poor. There's no in between. If you are wealthy you receive an education, you have medical care, you experience not just the bare necessities, but the luxuries of life. If you are poor, you have to find alternative ways to gain education, life is fragile and oftentimes medical attention comes too late. There are many reasons for the kidnappers to grow angry toward wealthy.

I love the themes that Bloor brings up in the novel. He also does an amazing job shifting between present to flashbacks as Charity passes the time in captivity.


  1. This definitely sounds different from the usual YA. I like the sound of this one. I shall add it to my list.

  2. I find dystopian hit or miss, but this does look interesting.

  3. Viv - *I* really enjoyed it, but I've spoken to two other colleagues and they haven't. One said it was just plain BORING and the other said it was confusing. Oh well, you can make everyone love 'em all, right?

    Stacy - Hit! Hit! Hit! LOL.


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