Hostage Three by Nick Lake

Available November 12, 2013 from Bloomsbury USA Childrens.

As Amy sets out to sea with her family on a yacht, she’s only thinking about the peaceful waters and the warm sun. But she doesn’t get either after a group of pirates seize the boat and its human cargo, and the family becomes a commodity in a highly sophisticated transaction. Hostage One is Amy’s father–the most valuable. Hostage Three is Amy, who can’t believe the nightmare she’s in. But something even stranger happens as she builds a bond with one of her captors, making it brutally clear that the price of life and its value are two very different things.


Hostage Three will take you for a wild, emotional ride. Nick Lake mixes the perfect combination of desperation, love, and heartache. It’s definitely a case of someone doing the wrong things for the right reasons.

With their lives on hold, Amy, her father, and step-mother set sail for the world on their yacht. Amy is the reluctant passenger, content to listen to music and forget where she is and who she’s with. When Amy and her family become hostages, all of that changes.

As the bargaining chip of pirates from Somalia, the yacht and all of its human cargo will fetch a high price, a price, which for one of the pirates, will allow him to buy his brother’s way out of prison.

The back story of Amy and Farouz unfolds between the action scenes. There’s plenty of guns and intensity to go around. It’s such an unlikely romance between captor and hostage, innocent in a unexpected and beautiful way.

Amy is a very unlikeable character at the start. She’s bratty, she’s spoiled, but mostly, she’s unhappy. She has a lot of ghosts following her around and her father’s inattentiveness leaves her cold and lonely.

Farouz became a pirate because he had no other choice. Somalia is not a forgiving place. After his parents are killed and his brother is imprisoned, he turns to piracy to raise the money to free his brother. Farouz’s story is heartbreaking, and even though he’s a pirate and he does terrible things, I can understand why Amy would sympathize with him. I found myself rooting for the bad guys.

Amy and Farouz’s romance develops slowly and is filled with uncertainty. Though it’s clear Farouz cares for Amy, he’s also a pirate who has sworn to do his job. Refusing could mean his execution.

I found Hostage Three unique and heartbreaking. It tests the limits of trust and love. It shows that even good people do bad things, but that doesn’t necessarily make them bad people. What I loved about this book was that it was unapologetic. Hard situations are described, nothing horrible is skirted.

The action and suspense make Hostage Three unputdownable. The carefully crafted relationships make it unforgettable.

This book will haunt me well into the future.

Rating: 5 GIANT Stars


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