One Stolen Thing
By Beth Kephart
2015. 271 pages. Young Adult Fiction.
“Nadia Cara is in Florence, Italy, with her family
because her professor father is researching the 1966 flood, but Nadia herself
is in trouble—she has turned into a kleptomaniac and she feels detached from
everything, except for an elusive Italian boy whom no one but herself has
The main reason I read Beth Kephart is because her prose
is so beautiful it seems like poetry. Here
Kephart writes in short, staccato (almost poetic) sentences meant to get the
reader into the head of a teenager experiencing the beginning effects of dementia. The story is set in present-day Italy, but told
with flashbacks five years earlier to the main character’s childhood in
Philadelphia. Combining all of this with
an unreliable narrator is tricky, but the story still flows in a way that you
can understand and empathize with the main character. The overarching message of the strength of
family and friendship left me feeling hopeful.