updated 04/30/2014 AT 8:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/01/2014 AT 2:00 PM ET
Just a year ago, Michelle Knight was chained inside a dilapidated house near downtown Cleveland, wondering if she’d ever be free.
“Everything in the house was unexplainable,” says Knight, 33. “It happened. I don’t know the reasons why.”
What she does know, as she told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview, is that she survived the nightmare and is finally regaining her life.
Her memoir Finding Me, excerpted exclusively in next week’s issue, is out May 6, the one-year anniversary of her escape from the house where she, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus were held for more than a decade.
In it she details the abuse she suffered at the hands of her captor, Ariel Castro, and the friendship with her fellow captives that helped keep her going. “I think basically every day we told each other we’d make it out alive,” she says.