BookBrowse Reviews Taken by Edward Bloor

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Taken

by Edward Bloor

Taken by Edward Bloor
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2007, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2009, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Bloor returns to his home state of Florida, the dreamlike setting and inspiration of his YA bestseller, Tangerine

Bloor returns to his home state of Florida, the dreamlike setting and inspiration of his YA bestseller, Tangerine, in Taken, a gritty and suspenseful meditation on the future of the American family.

Taken unfolds in the violent year 2035, when those fortunate enough to have achieved the American dream live video-surveiled lives in mega-mansions within fortified communities with ironic and grandiose names. The novel's thirteen year old heroine and narrator, Charity Meyers, lives with her wealthy divorced step-mother and father in a high-security community called "The Highlands" (Bloor fans will recall that in Tangerine, protagonist Paul Fisher's family lived in the genteel Lake Windsor Downs housing development.) Young residents of The Highlands never leave, not even to attend school or to celebrate holidays. That's because it's messy and dangerous on the outside where poor families live in squalor without health care or economic or educational opportunities. The poor of 2035 fight the Oil Wars, work 365 days a year as maids, cooks and butlers in an ever growing service sector, or prey on the rich by kidnapping their children and exchanging them for huge ransoms.

Charity thinks she knows what to do and what to expect when she realizes she's been abducted. She stifles her panic and claustrophobia by forcing herself to remember recent events at school and in her home. It is through these flashbacks that we learn about her mother's death from melanoma, her dermatologist father's remarriage to a television personality and their divorce, her one good friend at school; her teacher; and Victoria, her beloved maid. While her father plays golf, drinks or attends football games, it is Victoria who comforts Charity when she suffers night terrors.

Like the teenaged protagonists Bloor writes about so lovingly, knowingly and respectfully in his earlier books, Charity's tough mindedness and dignity make us like her and care about her right away. She seems real and alive on the page when she worries that her father will be too drunk to follow the kidnapper's instructions, when she is embarrassed to use the bedpan her kidnappers provide, or when she repeats jokes only a thirteen year old would think are funny.

As the kidnappers' Plan A goes down in flames, and they pursue a desperate Plan B to secure the ransom, Charity realizes that her life is truly in danger. In an interesting inversion of Stockholm Syndrome, Charity wins over one of her captors, a bitter teenager whose father was murdered and whose mother died because she could not pay for treatment. As the minutes tick by, the two young people engage in powerful and affecting arguments about what is true, safe, valuable and just.

Bloor is a serious and ambitious writer, always willing to experiment. His satirical ghost story Storytime, skewers ineffectual parenting, magnet schools and the push for ever higher test scores. In London Calling, an old radio transports the depressed and bullied son of an alcoholic to blitz-ravaged London so he can save the soul of a hopeless man. Taken's vision of families where hired help do the parenting, and of a world where racial and economic injustice imprison both rich and poor is made vivid by the anger and brilliance that inform Bloor's most successful, moving and darkest novels—Tangerine and Crusader. Bloor truly cares about teenagers and wants adults to cherish them, to listen to them and to reflect on the often cruel world they have built for them.

Reviewed by Jo Perry

This review was originally published in January 2008, and has been updated for the December 2009 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    My Name Is Leon
    by Kit De Waal
    Kit de Waal's striking debut, My Name is Leon, has inspired this big, long, complicated question: ...
  • Book Jacket: New People
    New People
    by Danzy Senna
    Danzy Senna has spent virtually her entire writing career exploring the complicated intersections of...
  • Book Jacket: Hunger
    Hunger
    by Roxane Gay
    In this penetrating and fearless memoir, author Roxane Gay discusses her battle with body acceptance...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt

Cruel Beautiful World examines the intricate, infinitesimal distance between seduction and love, loyalty and duty.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Heart's Invisible Furies
    by John Boyne

    A sweeping, heartfelt saga set in Ireland from the author of The Boy In the Striped Pajamas.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

Epic, propulsive, incredibly ambitious, and dazzlingly written--a story about sacrifice and motherhood.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A F Out O W

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.