Forge Books | July 7th, 2016 | 4 out of 5 Stars
738 Days, for the most part, is a stereotypical new adult novel: girl and boy with broken pasts save each other from their own demons. It also has one of those impossible romances: celebrity actor falls in love with a commoner. And yet, even with these clichèd tropes, I ended up enjoying this book. At 432 pages, it’s also a bit heftier than your average romance novels. But you’ll never notice the pages flipping by because you’re so ensconced in Amanda Grace’s and Chase Henry’s plights.
The beginning of the novel was a little tough to get through. We see Amanda Grace in captivity, beaten and bloody, and talking to an imaginary Chase Henry in her head. He was the voice she clung to in her months of torture. He was the one that told her to hold on and had kept her fighting through darkness and hopelessness. They’d never met. He was an actor in a show that her sister loved. But he was the face that kept her going in that dark basement where her captor had kept her. Years after she was freed, she’s in a different prison that she’s created for herself: anxiety and fear. At twenty years old, she has no life to speak of. Her family life is in shambles and some days, she can’t even bear the thought of leaving her house. So when Chase Henry shows up at her place of employment, her reaction was severe and instantaneous. She ran away.
Chase Henry’s career has taken a nose dive over the years after a few bad decisions. Given the chance to save what’s left of it, he’ll grab at any opportunity that comes his way. Even if it would mean playing a small part in an indie film and taking advantage of his hero status to a girl whom he indirectly saved all those years ago. But upon meeting Amanda Grace, he saw himself for what he was: an opportunistic leech ready to put another person through what was the most traumatic memories of her life if only to garner a spotlight in the media once again.
738 Days is a story about redemption and courage. And while Chase’s reasons for helping Amanda Grace was selfish in the beginning, he immediately saw that he was well on his way to repeating the same mistakes he did in the past. Courage comes in many forms. For Amanda Grace, it was being with Chase even if it brings about many memories of her time chained to the wall in the basement of her captor. It was putting herself back in the spotlight again and unearthing all the things she wished she could forget. In a way, it was also admitting her role in the demise of her crumbling family relationships. It hasn’t been easy for her, and no one could blame her. She was only 15 when she was abducted – hard to recover from that.