Review by Kaitlin
by Mary G. Thompson
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (October 11, 2016)
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A bittersweet homecoming holds dark secrets in this heart-wrenching story of loss, love, and survival for readers of Room
When sixteen-year-old Amy returns home, she can't tell her family what’s happened to her. She can’t tell them where she’s been since she and her best friend, her cousin Dee, were kidnapped six years ago—who stole them from their families or what’s become of Dee. She has to stay silent because she's afraid of what might happen next, and she’s desperate to protect her secrets at any cost.
Amy tries to readjust to life at “home,” but nothing she does feels right. She’s a stranger in her own family, and the guilt that she’s the one who returned is insurmountable. Amy soon realizes that keeping secrets won’t change what's happened, and they may end up hurting those she loves the most. She has to go back in order to move forward, risking everything along the way. Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee is a riveting, affecting story of loss and hope.
I don't quite know how to review this Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee and do it justice. I was blown away. I went into it with very few expectations. I was intrigued by the title, cover, and description and decided, hey, I might like this one. I didn't expect it to become one of my favorite 2016 releases!
It was a really hard book to take in. It reminded me of Little Peach by Peggy Kern and Stained by Cheryl Rainfield in terms of dark content. I was horrified by what Amy went through! It was a disturbing, lingering read that I don't expect to forget any time soon.
What's this dark content I mentioned? Kidnapping and sexual assault. A deeply disturbed kidnapper obsessed with dolls. Murder, fear, and trauma. And young characters in the middle of it all. It reminded me of something I would see on Criminal Minds, but something that dug deeper and focused much more on the characters affected. Other content included broken families and broken people--some who only showed some cracks and some who showed a lot. There was a confused heroine who was trying to reconcile the old parts of herself with the new ones.
When it came to themes and focuses, there was...a lot. There was so much packed into this little book and I don't think I wrote down everything. This story was about doll-like perfection and the fact that no one is like that. Humans aren't dolls. The book was also about the loss of choice and a future and how that affects you. This was a story about identity and trying to figure out who you are after a horrific experience. There was grief and healing, growth and strength. Friendship, love, and family were highlighted very well, which made me really happy to see.
I really liked how the book was written. There were quite a few flashbacks that were a vital part of the development and unraveling of the story. It was also an important part of Amy because the time she spent remembering the events in her past was time she lost in the present. The pacing was great, too. I'm not sure how to describe it in terms of fast vs. slow, but I can say that it seemed perfect for the story.
As much as I love this book, I don't have many specific things to say on the characters. I loved getting to know Amy. She was a wonderful character to meet and get to know. She felt very well developed, as did the supporting characters.
Overall, Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee was a tough story that was well worth the read! It punched me in the gut and made me cry. A lot. If you're up for a dark book that will leave an, I highly recommend picking this book up and experiencing it for yourself!
Book Blogger at Reading is My Treasure