I have this habit of putting a book on my tbr-list and actually picking it up months, even years later. But after I’ve read Laura’s beautiful review I knew I needed 738 Days right that moment. I started it right away with a certainty that I would love it, and I was right.
This book starts with a heart-wrenching prologue. Amanda has been kidnaped and is hold captive in a basement chained to the wall. Yet another visit from her abuser is approaching and he may finally kill her this time. During this time of pain, fear and desperation the only constant that kept her same was a wall poster of Chase Henry, a teenage celebrity whose voice she heard in her head.
Miraculously she escaped this nightmare and the story begins two years later with Amanda still trying to adjust to her “normal” life. She has not only visible scars, like the one on her wrist from where she’d been chained, but also invisible emotional scars. Despite years of therapy she feels like she is failing on all sides.
Chase (not a poster, but a very much real Chase) is dealing with career problems. He is not the golden celebrity boy with all doors open before him as he was two years ago. His abuse of alcohol and destructive behavior almost ended his career. He’s given the last chance to get on track, and he desperately needs a miracle to improve his bad image. Amanda seems like a perfect candidate. A girl who survived the worst with his virtual help. A miracle indeed.
He approaches Amanda and proposes to visit his film setting. So these two began their charade; mistrustful of each other and each pursuing their own goals.
I want to point out that despite serious topic 738 Days is not a dark story; it’s full of hope and light. At core it is a deep and touching love story. No, no, it’s not “a broken girl met a celebrity guy who healed her” kind of story. Stacey Kade explores consequences of such traumatic experience in very sensitive and tactful way. It was Amanda who set pace to her relationship with Chase. Where was one particular scene that grabbed me:
“But you don’t get to say no for me,” she says, pushing off the couch to stand up, fire in her gaze. “Do you understand that, Chase? I’m my own person. I have enough people telling me what I can’t do, what I should and shouldn’t want, whether it’s too fast or long overdue. Pick any reason you want, but not that one. It’s mine.”
And the romance was sexy, so very sexy. It was one of the most beautiful and full of chemistry romances I’ve ever read. And it’s coming from a person who read a lot of books in this genre.
The romance between Chase and Amanda was slow burn with realistic pace. Not ones I felt like the author just used Amanda’s past as a plot device (which unfortunately I can say about many NA books).
What struck me were Amanda’s guilt and trust issues.
She bites her lip. “I still have trouble trusting people. Actually, it’s more like trusting my judgment of people, you know?”
What can be worse than not be able to trust your own judgment?
But this story doesn’t focus only on romance. I also want to mention Amanda’s family. Her parents and two sisters are greatly affected by what happened to Amanda. All of them have their share of guilt and regrets. It was fascinating to observe their family dynamic.
Up upon 70 % I was sure it would be 5 Stars read, but then the author thrown into the mix a crazy fan and this unnecessary angst ruined the perfect story. I think the book didn’t need this additional subplot. It added some thrills, but significantly lessen powerful message. Thus I give this story 4 Stars.
I’m a little bit hesitant to recommend this book. On one hand it was a deep touching and sexy romance with interesting family dynamic. On the other hand last 30 % were very angsty and hard to swallow.
I live for romance in my books. I can look past even serious issues if the author delivers great romance. So for me 738 Days was worth reading, actually I may even reread it in the future.