Published by Forge Books on June 7th 2016
“Oh yeah, she’s definitely not ready. And neither am I. This is such a bad idea.”
FINAL DECISION: A powerful, angst filled story that retains a great amount of charm and humor, 738 DAYS is the story of two people who are rebuilding their lives and find inspiration in each other to become their better selves.
THE STORY: Amanda Grace was abducted at the age of 15 and held for 738 days until she was rescued. In the small room where she was held there was a poster of teen heartthrob Chase Henry which Amanda credited for helping remind her of home. Now at the age of 20, Amanda is struggling to get her life together. She fears that life will never consist of anything but her fears and her difficult relationships with her family members. At 24, Chase is washed up. A recovering alcoholic after experiencing the excesses of Hollywood, Chase is trying to pick himself up again. When his publicist suggests surprising Amanda with a personal visit and the opportunity to go to the set of the movie Chase is working on, Chase believes it is a chance for him to get some good publicity. Instead, things go horribly wrong. Despite that beginning, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. Chase will get some good publicity and Amanda will get a chance to experience life away from her family. These two survivors don’t expect the growing connection between them.
OPINION: 738 DAYS is the story of two people who have experienced so much pain, mistakes and heartbreak in the young lives. As the two struggle to rebuild their lives, I especially liked that they don’t make one anther better rather each makes the other want to be a better version of themselves. The story shares the truth that we cannot change for someone else, but we can become better to be worthy of those we love.
I was enthralled and mesmerized with this book which I couldn’t put down. The personal journeys of both Amanda and Chase were painful and yet redemptive. I especially loved that two people with so much pain in their lives had such a sweet and gentle love between them. They have a difficult road and this book doesn’t shirk from that reality. But their relationship is also funny and innocent and something quite beautiful. That reality is which compels them to chance their lives.
Told in alternating POVs, this book really digs into the emotional and mental journeys of Amanda and Chase. Both begin the book allowing others to dictate their lives. As the story continues, each learns to seize control of their lives and accept responsibility for their actions. The dual POVs are important here where Chase could have otherwise come off as a serious jerk. Because I could understand how he allows things to get away from him, I had more sympathy for him than I would have otherwise.
These two lost souls are bound together before they even meet and their journey is one of getting to know the real person beyond the headlines. I think that focusing on the reality amidst the tabloid media gives the relationship between Amanda and Chase an intimacy, a focus and a reality that makes their story grounded rather than being a Hollywood fiction.
This book has a lot contained in it. Both Amanda and Chase have individual redemption stories and then there is their romance along with some drama and mystery to push the story forward. What is surprising is that everything gets resolved in a thoughtful manner. By the time the book ended, I wanted more because the story was so good and I could read about these characters for hundreds of pages more. Leaving readers satisfied but wanting more is a great accomplishment.
WORTH MENTIONING: This is not a book I normally would have picked up. Recommended in the Washington Post, I was intrigued by the blurb. Sometimes trying something new and unusual is greatly rewarded. For me, this was one of those occasions.
CONNECTED BOOKS: 738 DAYS is a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.