Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Review: Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G. Thompson

Chicken House • 292 pages

Six years ago, cousins Amy and Dee were abducted. They were never recovered and no trace of them was ever found - that is until Amy suddenly returns home, alone and unable to tell anyone where Dee is or what happened to her. Amy’s unexpected homecoming gives hope to her family, but she’s a different person after spending most of her teen years in captivity, and she’s not sure if she can ever fully go back to her old life. Amy is someone she left behind when she was 10 years old and in the years of her absence, she became Chelsea and Dee became Stacie. But why has she come back now? Who took them in the first place? And where is Dee?

This story is full of questions before you even turn the first page, and the protagonist leading the story is unwilling to give any answers no matter how hard she’s pressed. Thankfully, as readers you find yourself more in on what’s happening than the rest of the characters, which I for one didn’t mind in this case. I’m all for unreliable narrators if they’re done well and if it fits with the story arc, but I’m glad Mary Thompson chose make this more of a thriller than a mystery. The basic premise of the story gives you some idea of where this is going from the outset, so I didn’t find it a surprising read exactly, but I did enjoy the execution of it. It’s not light reading, but it’s effortlessly written and despite having a strong idea of why Amy and Dee were abducted from very early on, I wanted to know more and enjoyed my time I spent with the story. With Amy’s first person narrative I was worried at first that it might be a mild YA sort of thriller, but it’s surprisingly accessible to both teens and adults alike.

Before anything else, I will say that I think this book is for a certain type of reader. To say I enjoyed it is one thing, but I liked how it was handled as opposed to what it represents. There are trigger warnings for this book, certainly, so if you’re uncomfortable reading about child abuse, rape, and imprisonment then you may find this book is not for you. I have a rather strong disposition when reading about such topics, but it’s harrowing and disturbing nonetheless. In that sense, it feels odd to say I liked it, but I did. I devoured it in a couple of days because I was interested in the psychological elements to the plot: how Amy/Chelsea deals with returning home, how her absence and sudden reappearance shifts the dynamics of her family. It felt like a genuine story; you hear about such horrific true events on the news and this came across as a believable account, which deals with the whole arc of Amy’s life, including how she was before, during, and after the event.

There’s little else I can say without giving away some major plot spoilers, but like I said, if you enjoy psychological thrillers with disturbed characters then I would recommend this. I for one am very glad to have had the opportunity to read this gritty little novel, so thank you to The Bookbag for providing me with my copy. 

Overall rating: 3.5 stars

My copy of Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee was sent to me by The Bookbag and my review originally appeared on their website.

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