Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

One Thing Stolen

One Thing Stolen

Spring 2015 Fiction
Ages: 14 & Up
Author: Beth Kephart
Publisher: Chronicle Books
ISBN: 9781452128313
Hardcover Price: $17.99

Beth Kephart is a wonderful writer. She captures sounds, smells and sense of a place in a way that almost literally transports the reader.

Set in Florence, Italy, One Thing Stolen is the story of 17-year-old Nadia. Her professor father is writing a book about a famous flood, and has brought his family - Nadia, her older brother and mother - to Italy for the year while he researches and finishes it. They are an ambitious and intellectual lot, subletting an old apartment in a beautiful city. It should be a dream year.

But Nadia is falling apart. Something isn't right. She's lost her grasp of words. She can't seem to control her increasingly erratic behavior and she can't describe to her family what is happening.

Her disorder sneaks up on everyone and threatens to undo them all. Nadia tells the bulk of the story, and you can feel the frustration and descent through her words. There are stories within stories, and the writing is as intricate as the elaborate nests Nadia creates from the odd objects she "collects" while wandering the streets.

Kephart's Florence is vivid and lush, filled with food and art and history; her story of a family's struggle with mental illness is poignant.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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