I love saying to students, “You’ll love this book! It’s about this girl who gets kidnapped.” And, then we both look at each other, feeling awkward about getting book nerd excited about someone who was kidnapped. But they truly make for some tension-filled and compelling stories that they love. Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee gives you that plus some added creepy factor.
The story begins with Amy showing up at her childhood home after being kidnapped six years ago. She’s not sure this is the right thing to do, but she doesn’t have a choice. Her reunion with her mom, her home, and her old bedroom are tainted with the memories she wants to escape but can’t. Even though her family, including her Aunt Hannah, want to know what happened to her cousin Dee, she can’t tell them. Ever. Her kidnapper, Kyle made that abundantly clear when he kicked her out and told her to leave. Which is how she ended up home. But now that she’s here, she can’t but wonder if she belongs here at all.
Flashbacks explain Amy’s anxiety and anxiousness over not being able to tell the whole story. Kyle took the girls, he only wanted Dee, to his cabin in the middle of nowhere. He fed them when they behaved, hit them when they weren’t, and dreams of marrying Dee when she turns eighteen. He already had a giant, pink, doll-like dress ready for her. His obsession with dolls led to their new names- Stacie (Dee), who only wears pink, and Chelsea (Amy), who only wears purple. To appease him, they had to become the very dolls with which he plays. He also uses Dee for his own reasons, and after less than a year of being there, the outcome is that of nightmares. The two other dolls, Barbie and Lola, enter the scene as innocents and it’s Amy, not Dee who protects them. Amy just wants her friend to fight, to show that she’s still in there. The trouble is, she’s fighting the wrong people.
Holding all of this trauma in causes Amy’ relationship with her family to be strained. Her Aunt is forcing her to court, her brother won’t talk to her, and her now divorced parents are together under one roof again. Lee, Stacie’s sister, tries to help Amy without pressuring her- taking her shopping and to parties but ultimately, she needs to know if her sister is alive to move on with her own life. As Amy remembers what did happen, can she tell the truth or will it be too late?