Thursday, August 11, 2016
review: 738 Days by Stacey Kade
At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.
Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.
Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he's sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.
To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart? ~ Goodreads
I’ve adored Stacey Kade’s YA writing for years now and was thrilled to hear she had written a gritty NA stand alone novel.
Amanda Grace was abducted and held captive for 738 days before being rescued. Fast forward almost 2 years and Amanda’s life is still in chaos. She’s alive but broken. Her family – parents and 2 sisters – is in shambles, drowning under the weight of fear and guilt – tip toeing around Amanda or, in the case of her youngest sister, Mia, jealous of all the air and space Amanda takes up regarding their parents.
One of the things that kept Amanda going in captivity was a poster of actor Chase Henry hanging in the room she was kept in. He *talked* to her and helped keep her alive through all the pain and suffering.
And there was a lot of suffering. Kade doesn’t shy away from anything Amanda went through, or the aftermath. It’s intense and incredibly well written. Your heart just breaks into a million pieces for what Amanda has gone through.
Chase is hitting rock bottom as well. His acting career is in shambles after several arrests and the usually bad boy actor downward spiral.
His publicist thinks a meeting with Amanda and visit to his latest movie set on the 2 year anniversary of her escape is just the thing to improve Chase’s image in the press.
Their initial public meeting doesn’t go well – at all – but unlocks something in Amanda to try something new. She’s been afraid too long and therapy hasn’t helped as much or as quickly as she hopes. She's tired of everyone making decisions for her and begin afraid all the time. So she agrees to go with Chase to his movie set to help his career but also as a way of pushing herself out of her comfort zone but with someone she feels a connection to.
Chase is in way over his head with Amanda but they begin to open up to each other and form a friendship that leads to more.
It was a delicate balance to make Amanda and Chase's relationship work and explain how they can relate to each other. Chase has gone through things in his past that help him connect to Amanda's fear of attention and lack of control of her life but there's just no way it can EVER come close to what she's been through. But it works.Again, Kade wrote this part with sensitivity and care.
Having said how much I loved this book and the relationship – I did have one issue with it.
Kade did such a good job at making you feel the horror of Amanda's experience over that 738 days that I so wish she took longer to develop this romance. A few days for Amanda to overcome EVERYTHING. The way it was written - perfection. The speed of it - not so much. Sure it worked out but Chase was dealing with a girl that had horrible, horrible things happen to her. One wrong move and he could have undone years of work. He was the right person to push her forward - and I believed it - but oh man, the side of me who has known people who have been through this cringed at all the ways this could have gone wrong.
And the twists that caused the big black moment for the couple felt squicky. I mean how much more do you put a girl through? It was honestly hard to read.
On one hand I loved this book. My heart ached for Amanda and I thought her journey to strength and healing was beautiful but I would have felt more comfortable with the whole thing if it spanned months and not days.
Even though I had that one issue – I think this is Kade’s best writing to date. She really pushed outside the comfort zone of her usual somewhat lighthearted (but always thought provoking) books.
This was a tad steamy and happened in a short time frame but it wasn’t a romance fixes everything story. Far from it. Again – it was just that time frame that got to me. Maybe I’m being too nitpicky considering how much I enjoyed it overall but there you go – I still felt like I had to vent about it lol