by Stacey Kade
Published on June 7, 2016 by Forge Books
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
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?
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I want to preface this review by stating that I don’t often read contemporary fiction. In fact, it’s a genre I’ve essentially avoided. But when I received 738 Days in the mail, I felt a certain obligation to read it. Though it took half the book, I finally got into the story and ended up really enjoying it by the end.
Amanda Grace is dealing with PTSD following her kidnapping years before. Chase Henry’s career is spiraling down the toilet if he doesn’t do something soon. The two pair up to perform what begins as a publicity stunt and ends in a sweet romance. Alright, cool, contemporary romance. Should be easy enough to connect with these characters, right? After all, it’s set in our world and not somewhere non-existent (like my usual genre of choice).
I think that’s where I struggled the most, though. I couldn’t connect with Amanda because she was dealing with something I never even remotely experienced. Her little quirks and tics just didn’t click with me. Now I’m not trying to make light of the subject of PTSD by any means, but it’s not an area I’m familiar with or something I related to very well. Chase had his own issues that fit the “celebrity problem child” idea that got him into this mess in the first place. I liked his character much more than Amanda; however, both were written well for their histories.
At least for the first half of the book.
While I enjoyed 738 Days by the end, I had issues with the romance. Because that’s what this book is, a contemporary romance, and it’s what took most of the focus for the second half of the story. The book primarily spans about a week of time (a little less, really) where Amanda decides that to help her get past her PTSD, she’s going to help out this poor celebrity get himself back in the limelight. So for about five days, the two stay in connected hotel rooms and suddenly bada-bing bada-boom, romance. I’m sure it’s possible to fall in love in such a short time but it didn’t read like that. I struggled to believe that a girl who struggles with people outside her own family (though to be accurate, she has issues with her family too) would suddenly be okay with a random stranger being so close all the time. As if suddenly he’s working magic over her and everything is better.
Despite the cheesy romance, the writing style was spot-on and really brought these characters to life. I can’t say I was a huge fan of both characters having a lot of emotional issues because I ended up pitying them more than being invested in what happened to them, but it worked well enough. Just not my personal preference. The plot came off as predictable, but not necessarily in a bad way. I came into this expecting that and therefore wasn’t disappointed.
I don’t expect to find myself reading a lot of contemporary novels but this one may have changed my mind about the genre.