TW: discussion of rape, kidnap, sexual assault
Blurb: A stranger took Amy and Dee as children and gave them new names. Now at sixteen and called Chelsea, Amy has returned. Dressed in purple and clutching a plastic doll, she refuses to answer questions but locked inside her is the truth. How did she survive? Why did she escape? And what happened to Dee?
Title: Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee
Author: Mary G Thompson
Publisher: Chicken House
Genre: Fiction, YA, Contemporary, Thriller
Amy and her cousin, Dee, disappeared six years ago and all people know is that they were seen getting into a car. Now, aged sixteen, Amy finds herself drawn back to her front door, to her family and to a life she no longer knows. All everyone wants to know is what happened but Amy’s not talking. There’s a lot more at stake than anyone realises.
A colleague passed on her copy of this book about two years ago and it’s been sat on my shelves ever since. I love a thriller but have to be in the right mood for one and in this case, when it hit, I finished the book in an afternoon! Straight away we’re immersed into the story when Amy, who’s not too sure of herself, makes her way home after six years. We begin by knowing that she was kidnapped along with her cousin and the book details how it happened, what happened next and how Amy got to go home. I really appreciated this as immediately we can identify with Amy’s family who have all of the same questions we do and it also was a brilliant way to showcase just how jumbled Amy’s mind is. The plot advances in good time, with the present being interrupted with flash backs to drip feed us precious information which kept me very invested. There were honestly times when I simply couldn’t put the book down as I just had to know what would happen next. I felt that the premise was particularly interesting as it’s not something that I’ve seen done very often in YA novels. This therefore allowed the emergence of a story that really played with my emotions – I teared up, my heart broke a little but it also was warmed to see that there’s always some good to come from periods of darkness.
As for what I disliked, there were times when I wanted a bit more from the characters, for them to be fleshed out a bit more. A lot of the characters are only really introduced at face value and only ever in relation to who they are to Amy. Aunt Hannah’s flipping of the dinner table felt a bit too much for me (not that I have any experience of my children being kidnapped of course) and I would have loved to see more of her when she wasn’t screaming. We do get a bit of this in the end but it’s very much a 180º change – from crying hysterically to being fine with not knowing all the details of what happened to the girls. I would also reiterate here the trigger warnings I mention at the top of this post. While there aren’t are particularly graphic discussions of rape of sexual assault in the story, you definitely know it’s happening and it’s not just once. For me, even though they’re uncomfortable, this didn’t put me off but it’s something to consider if you find these themes to be particularly troubling.
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who is on the look out for a dark YA thriller that is sure to give you the creeps – but mind out for the trigger warnings!
Recommend?: Yes, if you’re ok to deal with the trigger warnings.
Have you read this book? Or maybe you’ve read something similar? What did you think? I’d love to know!
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