738 Days – Stacey Kade – Forge Books – Published 7 June 2016
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?
The first half of 738 Days could have been a young adult contemporary/thriller, with plenty of heartbreak and family complications, but the second half was definitely new adult romance. I loved the story, love the characters (really, really loved both Chase and Amanda), and loved the mix of movie-star madness with the total heartbreaking reality of Amanda’s story of survival.
Amanda was kidnapped when she was sixteen and spent 738 horrible days as a prisoner and victim of abuse. Now, two years after her rescue, she is sick of being the shaking, terrified victim hiding in her closet. So when an unexpected visit from actor Chase Henry sends her running (literally) for her wardrobe, she takes up Chase’s offer to work together, to help him with his publicity and to hopefully spark her bravery so she can start living her life again and prevent her family from falling completely apart. Amanda doesn’t expect to fall for Chase, nor to finally feel something good, but can’t help her new-found feelings as she gets to know Chase as more than just an out-of-luck actor.
Amanda is truly a stunning character. She is real, tells it like it is and is sick of hiding. I love her acceptance of Chase and how she never overreacted – panic attacks do not count as overreactions. She is brave and strong and forgiving and loving. Chase is equally loveable. He is hurting in his own way, sorry for all the things he has done that messed up his relationships with family, friends and colleagues. He is desperate for a second chance but isn’t sure he deserves one. Amanda’s acceptance of him and his past give him hope. Just as her connection with Chase gives Amanda hope. I loved their connection, their friendship and romance. This book was far more new adult than I expected, especially the end half, but it works and was, I think, a great balance between sensual and sentimental.
Family also plays a large part in this novel, taking a closer look at how Amanda’s kidnapping has affected her parents and her two sisters, as well as her relationship with each of them.
Overall, this was a really fabulous book, totally consuming, and a poignant mix of romance and self-discovery.
Category: New adult fiction.
Themes: Abuse, kidnapping, actors, romance, family, addiction, rape, sex and dating, relationships, media, mental health, PTSD.
Reading age guide: Ages 17 and up.
Advisory: Strong coarse language, s***, f***, m*****f*****, dou***, co**. Sexual references and detailed sexual scenes. References to rape and sexual abuse, but no details. References to physical abuse. References to drug and alcohol use and addiction.
Published: 7 July 2016 by Forge Books.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 432 pages.