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About The Book


“An extraordinary novel. A coming-of-age-story you will get lost in.” —Fredrik Backman, internationally bestselling author of The Winners

Part coming-of-age novel, part sweeping family saga, and part love song to a disappearing natural world, Stolen is the internationally bestselling and award-winning debut novel about a young Sámi girl and her struggle to defend her family’s reindeer herd and their traditional way of life—for readers of Katherena Vermette and Michelle Good.

It is winter, north of the Arctic Circle. A few hours of pale light is all the sun has to offer before the landscape is once more enveloped in complete darkness. This is Sápmi, land of the Sámi, Scandinavia’s Indigenous people.

Nine-year-old Elsa is the daughter of Sámi reindeer herders. Her community is under constant threat—from the Swedish population who don’t always value the Sámi way of life, from the government that wants to claim their land for mining, and from violent poachers who slaughter their reindeer for sport and for sale on the black market.

One morning, when Elsa goes skiing alone, she witnesses a man brutally killing her beloved reindeer calf. Elsa is terrified by what she sees. Fearing for her own life and for the lives of her family members, she remains silent.

Ten years pass, and Elsa is now trying to claim a role for herself in her community, where male elders expect young women to know their place. Meanwhile, the hostility toward the Sámi continues to escalate, and the police won’t do anything to protect them. When Elsa becomes the target of the man who killed her reindeer calf all those years ago, something inside of her breaks. The guilt, fear, and anger she’s been carrying since childhood come crashing over her, leading to a final catastrophic confrontation.

Told in three parts, Stolen is a powerful, propulsive, and cinematic novel about a courageous young Sámi woman struggling to defend her Indigenous heritage against the cruelty of the modern world for justice and for the future of her people.

About The Author

© Thron Ullberg

Ann-Helén Laestadius is an author and journalist from Kiruna, Sweden. She is Sámi and of Tornedalian descent, two of Sweden’s national minorities. In 2016, Laestadius was awarded the prestigious August Prize for Best Young Adult and Children’s Novel for Ten Past One, for which she was also awarded Norrland’s Literature Prize. She is the author of Stolen—which was named Sweden’s Book of the Year, longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, and adapted for a Netflix film—and Punished, both #1 bestsellers in Sweden.

About The Reader

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 31, 2023)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668005088

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Raves and Reviews

“An extraordinary novel. A coming-of-age story you'll get lost in, about youth and heritage and the never-ending struggle to be allowed to exist. Although set in the coldest and most northern part of Scandinavia, I'm convinced it’s a universal story to be loved everywhere in the world.”
FREDRIK BACKMAN, internationally bestselling author of The Winners

“In equal measure a gripping and thrilling mystery as it is a testament to the continued beating heart of Sámi life. Ann-Helén Laestadius steps confidently beyond young adult literature and takes her place as an important voice in world Indigenous literature.”
MICHELLE GOOD, award-winning author of Five Little Indians

“Viscerally clear fiction of both the fractured, violent nature of the Sámi’s relationship with their Nordic occupiers and the coming of age of an innocent girl. Written with such cool clarity, Stolen is a perfect metaphor of our slippery grip on humanity and our tenuous relationship with the Earth.”
TANYA TALAGA, bestselling author of Seven Fallen Feathers

“Through adept characterization, the novel highlights the problems and issues the Sa´mi face—racism, loss of culture, alcoholism, suicide, governmental mistakes and neglect, and the devastating effects of climate change. . . . Award-winning author/journalist Laestadius, who is herself of Sa´mi descent, succeeds in capturing Sa´mi life.”
Library Journal

“Sámi author Ann-Helén Laestadius has written a fresh, devastating, and insightful novel about Sámi life and the struggle for justice in a rapidly changing world. A love for the imperiled landscape reverberates throughout this engaging read.”
MEGAN MAYHEW BERGMAN, award-winning author of How Strange a Season

“Laestadius offers a rare, multigenerational look at the diverse and deep-rooted cultural heritage of this traditional arctic community. Akin to gritty stories of Old West cattle rustlers evading the law and society, Laestadius’ unvarnished saga demonstrates the universality of oppression and revenge and conflicts over land and race. Teens drawn to tales of social justice crusaders and Indigenous communities will appreciate Elsa’s journey from intimidated child to avenging adult.”

“A deeply gripping and atmospheric novel that will take hold of your heart. Filled with compelling characters and a formidable landscape—this debut is a triumph!”
DANIELLE DANIEL, award-winning author of Daughters of the Deer

“Kick-started by the disturbing poaching and slaughter of a reindeer that was part of a Sámi family's herd in remote northern Sweden, Laestadius’ saga details the inequities faced by the contemporary Indigenous Sámi population. . . . A revelatory account of not-well-known assaults on the rights of an Indigenous group.”

“[Written] with sensitivity and insight for the subtleties of Sámi life.”
The New York Times

“Nuanced . . . the sense of place and character development make for an affecting portrait of the Sámi’s disenfranchisement . . . a solid story of a family torn apart by cultural tensions.”
Publishers Weekly

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