Review: Held by Edeet Ravel

Posted October 6, 2022 by Angie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

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Review: Held by Edeet RavelHeld by Edeet Ravel
Published by Annick Press on January 6, 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, Young Adult Fiction
Format: Paperback (245 pages)
Source: Library
Purchase: AmazonIndieBound
Add Book: Goodreads

What happens when the source of your worst fears becomes the object of your affection?

Seventeen-year-old Chloe's summer vacation in Greece comes to an abrupt end when she is suddenly bound, gagged and whisked away to an unidentified location. Waking up from a drug-induced sleep, she finds herself in a squalid warehouse. Chloe can only imagine the worst.

After several days of total isolation and utter despair, Chloe faces a new threat when her kidnapper appears, but she also feels a sense of relief. His revelation that she is being held as ransom for a prisoner exchange, however, does little to allay her fears.

The weeks pass and, haunted by terrifying dreams and with only her thoughts to keep her company, Chloe fights to remain calm in an impossible situation. At least her kidnapper, although cold and distant, visits frequently, often bringing gifts. Before long, Chloe begins to have feelings for him that take her by surprise. Though still fearing for her safety, she now fantasizes about a life together. And is it her imagination, or does her captor share those feelings? Even when she is finally released, Chloe vows to protect her captor at any cost.

This powerful psychological thriller, written by renowned novelist Edeet Ravel, leaves readers wondering at every suspenseful turn: Is Chloe experiencing Stockholm syndrome?


Proceed With Caution:

This book contains kidnapping, a hostage situation, dunking, discussions of rape and incarceration, Stockholm Syndrome, and PTSD.

The Basics:

Held is narrated by seventeen-year-old Chloe. It’s written as a diary-like report on what happened to her when she was abducted in Greece and held captive for several months. It’s not the report she gives to the authorities, she just wanted to get out the insane truth of her experience. Mainly, falling in love with her hostage-taker. It’s also interspersed with newspaper clippings and other media snippets from her time as a hostage.

My Thoughts:

Held had been on my radar for way too long, and I do think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it a decade ago. It’s not a bad book at all, but it didn’t really push any limits like I was expecting. It’s actually quite tame in its portrayal of Chloe’s situation. Not that I wanted torture porn or anything, but I honestly didn’t feel much of anything toward Chloe or her hostage-taker (as she calls him).

I am fascinated by Stockholm Syndrome which is why I picked up Held, even all of these years later. My issue with it here was that it was too easy to understand Chloe developing feelings for this unnamed man. Aside from snatching her off the street and holding her in a warehouse, he never harms her. He’s actually very kind and caring toward her. He reassures her that things will be fine. He cooks for her, brings her stuff to keep her occupied, and nurses her back to health when she falls ill. Naturally, she clings on to him! He’s the only person she has contact with for months.

I never felt conflicted about their relationship. Logically, it’s 100% wrong. They should not be together as he constantly reminds her. I never had a moment where I wanted things to work out for them then had to slap myself back into reality. That’s what I wanted to do! There’s none of that. It’s always at the forefront that this is wrong. He tells her all the time. But he also loves her? I didn’t believe that part for a moment. I believed that Chloe believed she was in love with him. I did not believe he also fell for her.

Held was just a weird one for me. I had no emotional reaction to it. I was just reading to see what happened at the end. Obviously, Chloe was returned home since the book starts there. But what happened to her kidnapper? The ending is very much focused on Chloe’s mental state, which is understandable. But it doesn’t go into whether or not the authorities used her meager report to go after this man, or if Chloe ever tried to find him again. Heck, did he ever try to find her again?! It was just kind of over.

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