Monday, December 12, 2016

Book Review: "738 Days" by Stacey Kade

When Amanda Grace was fifteen years old, she was kidnapped.  After nearly two years of confinement, abuse, torture, and rape - she escaped.  Now two years later, Amanda is stalled in her recovery, and her family is falling apart.  But she remembers that Chase Henry poster that hung in her "room" for those two years - the one thing that kept her grounded and hopeful, the one thing that reminded her of home.  So it is more than a little disorienting when the real Chase Henry, the actor who has hit his own rock bottom, walks into her life and asks her to spend a couple days with him on set.  He is looking for a little positive press, using the "guardian angel/personal hero" angle for the "Miracle Girl" who survived her abduction.  Against the advice of literally everyone around her, Amanda agrees to go with Chase, hoping this might help her overcome her plateaued recovery.  Chase hopes that spending time with Amanda will help him with his "comeback" and ramp up his acting career.  Neither expect what actually comes out of this arrangement.

I'll admit, I was expecting something a little lighter, something that focused mostly on the potential budding romance between Amanda and Chase.  But this book goes far deeper than that, and I was happily surprised.  There is no shying away from the severe trauma that Amanda experienced, and really continues to experience with PTSD, social anxieties, trust issues, even agoraphobia.  This offer from Chase gives her an opportunity to force herself into an unfamiliar territory, away from her well-meaning but overprotective family, and a chance to learn how to trust herself and her decisions.  Chase has had a rough go of it too.  He's a recovering alcoholic who did some very terrible and public things at the height of his stardom.  He has a long way to go to earn back the trust he's squandered.  This whole thing about meeting Amanda is not his idea, but he agrees to it, hoping it will help his career.  But it quickly (too quickly?) becomes more than that for both of them.  The dual point of view narration helps give insight to both of their histories, mind sets, desires, and rationale.

I really liked how their relationship grows and develops, even if it does happen really quickly.  Chase develops this protective stance for Amanda's well-being, and she stands up for herself and her desire to make the decisions dealing with her own protection.  She appreciates what he wants to do for her, but she does not want to just rely on someone else.  And as things develop physically, Chase is the poster child for asking for consent which I thought was awesome.  And the thing is, even as much as I loved how their relationship helped both of them work through their individual issues and made them stronger, I still wasn't sure that I wanted the happy ending for them.  I wasn't sure if that was the right thing for them in the long run.  And I had no idea which way their story was going to end until the last four pages or so.

This is a great survival story that looks at what happens to a person after the initial rescue, with a side of romance.

*****
738 Days
by Stacey Kade
Forge, 2016
431 pages
Source:  Purchased New
*****

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