Published by Forge Books on 6/7/16
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
My content rating: 18+ (Explicit sex, abuse)
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?
This is one of those books where it’s hard to know what to expect. On the one hand, it tackles an incredibly serious and tough subject – the emotional (and physical) scars left from an abduction and abuse. But then, it also incorporates a romance trope that we typically find in much lighter fare – the burnt-out celebrity who needs to freshen up his image by helping out a fan. Somehow Kade managed to blend these two disparate topics perfectly – which I’d say is some feat!
What Fed My Addiction:
- The pain of a very broken past. The book starts out at the very end of Amanda’s horrible ordeal. She’s been held for over two years, mentally and physically (including sexually) abused. When an opportunity to escape presents itself, Amanda isn’t sure she can do it – isn’t sure she can face the fear of failing and what that would mean for her. But (with the help of an imaginary movie star who she’s conjured from a poster) she screws up her courage and takes a chance. Unfortunately, her ordeal is far from over because, two years later, she hasn’t healed (at least not emotionally). Amanda is a shell of a person – constantly scared and sometimes unable to face the world at all. This book dealt so realistically with the repercussions of Amanda’s imprisonment, and I couldn’t help but feel her acute pain and empathize with the panic that threatened to overtake her at any moment. That also kept me rooting for her to overcome her psychological barriers as the book went on!
- Chase. Chase could easily have been a cardboard cut-out, but he wasn’t at all. Since this book was written from both Amanda’s and Chase’s perspectives, we got to see early on why Chase felt so desperate to save his career – how he truly felt about the craft of acting and how he couldn’t lose that in his life. Yet, we also saw his faults (including addiction) and insecurities and how those were reflected in his choices. Chase truly didn’t believe in his own worth – even as he was fighting to prove it to others.
- The romance. Despite all of Chase’s dreams and aspirations (and the machinations of his publicist), once Chase truly realized what was at stake for Amanda, his focus was on her completely. Likewise, even though Amanda was hoping to make steps toward recovery through her visit with Chase, she also saw relatively quickly how people underestimated him and she found herself actually becoming protective of him. I loved watching these two find each other’s strengths and help each other to nurture them. This was in no way a one way street – though Amanda was the one who went into this arrangement feeling like she needed to heal, Chase and Amanda actually ended up growing and healing together. The romance was sweet and wonderful (and sometimes awkward and painful – but in all the best ways!).
What Left Me Wanting More:
- Slight predictability. Sure, some things played out pretty much the way you’d expect them to based on the trope that was used. But the complexities of these characters emotions and experiences distracted me from that so completely that I honestly didn’t care.
- Quick timeline. The whole book only took place over a few days, and I found myself wishing sometimes that it had been stretched out just a bit. Every once in a while something jarring would happen where I’d think, “Oh yeah, that was just yesterday!” The quick timeline could have made the book feel like instalove if you thought about it too hard, but since the romance was developed throughout the whole book that feeling was (mostly) avoided.
This book turned out to be so much more emotionally impactful than I expected it to be. What is it with books that want to tear my heart out and stomp on it lately? (I love this, by the way.) This amazing story of resilience is one I will not soon forget. I highly recommend it! I give the book 4.5/5 stars!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via BEA16 in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About Stacey Kade:
As an award-winning corporate copywriter, Stacey Kade has written about everything from backhoe loaders to breast pumps. But she prefers to make things up instead.
She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Greg, and two retired racing greyhounds, SheWearsThePants (Pansy) and Shutter. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll likely find her parked in front of the television catching up on her favorite shows (Scandal, The Vampire Diaries, Almost Human, The Walking Dead, and Sherlock, among others.)
Stacey is the author of the The Ghost and the Goth trilogy (THE GHOST AND THE GOTH, QUEEN OF THE DEAD, and BODY & SOUL) and The Project Paper Doll Series (THE RULES and THE HUNT).