I’m so pleased to talk to you about Beth Kephart’s new book ONE THING STOLEN today! This book is so unique, captivating and dreamlike I couldn’t put it down. It’s about a girl from Philadelphia who moves with her family to Florence, Italy and slowly loses herself piece by piece. It’s part mystery and part travelogue, part history lesson and part mental health exploration– it is unlike anything I’ve read before. Read on to find out more about this book and be sure to enter to win a copy for yourself.
One Thing Stolen BY BETH Kephart
Chronicle Books | April 2015
About the Book:
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.
Hardcover 271 pages | ebook
Florence, Italy is one of my favorite places on Earth so I was thrilled to find that One Thing Stolen was set there. This book explores the city from the local’s perspective and Kephart’s visual descriptions make you feel like you are along for the ride. Nadia’s family moves to Florence with her parents and brother so her father can research the 1966 flood of the Arno River. Everyone is doing their own thing in Florence and don’t notice right away that something is not quite right with Nadia.
Most of the book is in Nadia’s perspective. Her internal monologue is lyrical, scattered and lost, and I had to consider her an unreliable narrator. Nadia spends her days shoplifting random items and then taking them home to build intricate nests in her room. (She is quite taken with birds) She is losing the ability to communicate with speech, and seems to exist in an imaginary world in Florence while she recalls her past experiences in Philadelphia. When she makes a connection with a boy named Benedetto it’s hard to know if he is real or not real. Finally, her father consults with a local retired neurologist/ old friend named Katherine to spend some time with Nadia to figure out what the heck is going on.
Nadia’s BFF from home Maggie shows up three-quarters into the book and takes over the narration. This grounds the reader by providing some perspective about Nadia’s state of mind. It seems Nadia has a rare brain disorder and Maggie and Katherine try to help Nadia to cope the best way they can.
This artfully layered book is dreamy and hypnotic. It’s a compact novel but there is a lot to unpack. In fact, it would be a perfect pick for a book club – there is much to discuss. Read more about the stories behind the book here and here. This is my first read by Beth Kephart and I can’t wait to catch up with more of her work.
About the Author:
I was a child writer-dreamer who never strayed far from that path. Today I’m the award-winning author of seventeen books—dreaming my way toward more by night, while running a boutique marketing communications firm by day. I’m privileged to teach creative nonfiction at the University of Pennsylvania in spring semesters. I love writing about the intersection of place and memory for the Philadelphia Inquirer. I am honored to review literature for the Chicago Tribune. Always and most importantly, I am privileged to be a mom.
Enter to win a signed copy of One Thing Stolen, courtesy of Chronicle Books.
Giveaway is open to US and Canada entrants age 13 and up.
Follow along with the One Thing Stolen blog tour for unique content and more chances to win:
4/15 Actin’ Up with Books (Q&A)
4/16 Read-A-holicZ (Review)
4/17 The Reading Date (you’re here!)
4/18 The 3 R’s Blog: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness (Guest Post)
4/19 The Flyleaf Review (Guest Post)
4/21 Forever Young Adult (Q&A)