Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

One Thing Missing

Could you live with being robbed of language? Beth Kephart's One Thing Stolen showcases a girl with a rare neurological disorder trying to answer that very question.

One Thing Missing

BOOK REPORT for One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

Cover Story: Montell Jordan
BFF Charm: Yay x 2
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Mind Games
Bonus Factor: Florence
Relationship Status: I’d Follow Your Vespa

Cover Story: Montell Jordan

What a gorgeous cover. The rendering of Nadia and the Florence skyline, coupled with the splashes of color, are so striking. As you learn more about the book, it reflects more of the story than you might first imagine.

The Deal:

Nadia is losing her words. Her brain is foggy and she can’t seem to communicate with her family anymore, who think that she’s just slow in adjusting to living in Florence. In turn, she hides from her family, using a newfound artistic ability to weave beautiful nests out of stolen objects, and follows a beautiful Italian boy around the city.

When Nadia’s parents finally figure out that something is wrong, they bring her to a doctor and fly her best friend, Maggie, out to stay with her. Together, they all try to solve the mystery of what’s happening to Nadia, and where the line between reality, art, and imagination lies.

BFF Charm: Yay x 2

Nadia is so sweet, and manages to deal with being robbed of language remarkably well. You can tell why her best friend, Maggie, loves her fiercely – which is why they both get my BFF charm. I also would like to borrow everything in Maggie's heavily-thrifted closet.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Although there’s a mysterious boy on a Vespa, part of the swoon here is falling in love with Florence, too. If you’re going to find out that you have a rare neurological disorder that makes it difficult for you to communicate, I guess finding out in a gorgeous, historically-rich city would be the way to do it.

Talky Talk: Mind Games

The book is largely made up of two parts: one narrated by Nadia, and one narrated by Maggie. Beth Kephart’s use of language to show Nadia’s frustration and sluggishness truly becomes clear when Maggie’s section starts: all of a sudden there is more dialogue. The sentences get longer and everything seems to move faster and more logically. It’s a great storytelling device, and Kephart uses language to great effect.

Bonus Factor: Florence

Why, I wonder, weren’t my parents doing research in Europe when I was a teen? Nadia’s story is paralleled with her father’s study of the great Florence flood – stories of survival, persistence, and recovery are woven in with her own personal struggle.

Casting Call:

Maia Mitchell as Nadia

Kaitlyn Dever as Maggie

Relationship Status: I’d Follow Your Vespa

Book, you were a fascinating ride through the mind. Was our date real, or is my mind playing tricks on me? Either way, I’d follow you through Florence to find out. (For more information on this book and Beth Kephart, check out our interview with her!)

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from Chronicle Books. I received neither money nor a pet unicorn for writing this review, despite how hard I wished for one.  One Thing Stolen is available now.

Jennie's photo About the Author: Jennie Kendrick lives in San Francisco and has an excessive fondness of historical fiction, spreadsheets, turquoise sparkly things, and bourbon. When she's not reading, writing, or writing about reading, she cooks obsessively, runs an Etsy shop, and thrifts for vintage everything.