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?
Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book, to be released June 7th, 2016
Typically, I don’t review NA on here. There’s a few reasons for that. For those of you who aren’t familiar with NA, there’s only really one tangible difference between young-adult and new-adult lit: NA, in my experience, almost always has sex in it.
I’m not about that, which is why, even though I did enjoy so much of ACOTAR that had nothing to do with the romance, I decided against reading and reviewing ACOMAF.
But back to 738 Days, and let’s not focus on the romance for a second.
This is a great book, and it’s an important one. I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing or how exactly I heard about the Ariel Castro kidnappings, but it was the first time I had ever heard of something like that. It was one of the most terrifying events I had ever heard of.
Recently, I watched the movie Room about a boy and his mother’s life held captive in a shed. It was the first time I’d ever thought about what the women of the Ariel Castro kidnappings had to go through with all the media coverage of their rescue. 738 Days brings us into the life of Amanda, who is still a wreck a year after her rescue. Her family is falling apart, and she’s not doing much better.
This book documents Amanda’s recovery through the time that she spends with Chase. Even though she comes to love him, she still has her triggers and she still has things that she can’t deal with. Even though Chase does a lot to help her, Amanda has to face her struggles by herself. Kade did an amazing job of sticking true to what happened to Amanda instead of letting the romance dominate the plot.
Then there’s Chase, a washed-up actor who is trying to come back after falling too far. His mistakes continue to chase him, but he truly loves what he does and is seriously making an effort to be better. I didn’t like Chase all the time, but he was complex and fleshed-out. There were many different sides to him, and I loved how he was considerate of Amanda without patronizing her.
It’s safe to say that the first 85% of this book was amazing. There were some slightly off-putting aspects to 738 Days. I never understood what Chase’s co-star had to do with any of the important story, and there were segments of the story that were just filler.
But for the most part, I loved the first 85%. The writing was fluid and beautiful. The plot events led from one to other, making for a compulsively readable story that was paced well. Amanda and Chase’s voices were distinct and they had their own fully-formed personalities. Their relationship developed realistically. Actually, Amanda and Chase were good friends before they were ever a couple. It was a bit of a slow-burn, which was a pleasant surprise.
Speaking of being a couple, that started almost immediately after the first 85%, and it made up for lost time by having a huge chunk of sex scenes–
–which I ended up skipping.
By the way, I’m talking about 30 to 40 pages worth here.
Then we got to the juicy part of the ending. It was a bit anticlimactic and the tiniest bit rushed, but it did a good job of symbolizing how far both Chase and Amanda have come. There’s a good amount of character development throughout the story
It’s a personal preference. I don’t typically read NA; I didn’t know this was NA before I started it. If you enjoyed ACOTAR, ACOMAF, or want a great NA read, I would definitely recommend 738 Days as my new go-to. I can see why people love Stacey Kade’s work, and I’ll be checking out more of her YA works from now on. Quite possibly one of my favorite books of 2016, and definitely the best realistic fiction. 4 stars.
** EDIT 2/6/17 ** A version of this comment was also posted in my ACOTAR review. It’s been a little over half a year since I read 738 Days for the first time, and my thoughts on it have changed a little bit since reading. I still love many aspects of this novel, but I won’t be rereading it or recommending it to teens. If I do recommend it, it’d be sparingly. I made a personal decision not to read NA lit a few years back, and like I mentioned in this review, I read 738 Days not knowing it was NA. The end has a lot to do with Chase and Amanda’s relationship, and there’s a substantial amount of sex in it. I thought it was all right when I first read the book, but my opinion’s changed now. I still very much respect Stacey Kade and Sarah J. Maas. I think they’re great storytellers, but their work isn’t for me, and I wanted to make a comment on these reviews reflecting that for people who feel the same way.