- Hostage Three by Nick Lake
Amy, rebellious and devoid of life goals at the close of her senior year in London, grudgingly agrees to accompany her wealthy father and young stepmother on a round-the-world cruise aboard their new yacht. She spends the Mediterranean leg of the trip largely in the company of her iPod but begins to perk up as they make their way through the Suez Canal. Just as Amy starts to take active notice of her family and surroundings, though, the Daisy May is boarded by Somali pirates and negotiations for her father’s ransom begin. The family and the three-man crew are immediately assigned numbers according to monetary value, a strategy that depersonalizes them and makes them easier to shoot if necessary. Amy and Farouz, the pirates’ translator, are gobsmacked with an intense attraction, however, which complicates the carefully choreographed interactions of all on board. Lake freights Amy with so much YA problem novel angst—from her mentally disturbed mother’s suicide, to her jealousy of the new stepmom, to her father’s loss of his high-level banking job—that being taken hostage looks rather like just another day in her burdened life. Moreover, the maudlin Stockholm Syndrome romance is utterly [End Page 222] predictable. What saves the novel, though, is the fictionalized explication of the piracy itself—with its hierarchy of “employees” from the middle-managementlevel shipboard leader, to the financial advisors on retainer to the investors, to the professional negotiators. The backstories of the pirates, who regard hostage taking less with callousness than dispassion, are also intriguing. Readers will climb aboard for the drama, but they may disembark with a better understanding of the grim reality of limited life choices in east Africa.