by Jessica Warman
Published on May 19, 2015
Source: ARC for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: Ten years ago, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, seven-year-old Samantha and her next door neighbor, Remy, watched as a man broke into Sam’s home and took her younger sister, Turtle, from her sleeping bag. Remy and Sam, too afraid to intervene at the time, later identified the man as Sam’s sister Gretchen’s much older ex-boyfriend, Steven, who was sent to prison for Turtle’s murder. Now, Sam’s shattered family is returning to her childhood home in an effort to heal. As long-buried memories begin to surface, Sam wonders if she and Remy accurately registered everything they saw. The more they re-examine the events of that fateful night, the more questions they discover about what really happened to Turtle.
My take: At first, I wasn't sure about The Last Good Day of the Year. I tried it when I was in a noisy and crowded situation, and had trouble getting into it. Then, over the weekend, I was all by myself in a lounge chair with a glass of lemonade, and I started over and ended up really enjoying it.
First off I should say that to me, The Last Good Day of the Year did not read like mainstream YA. I think you could shelve this book with adult mystery and it would fit in just fine. It's one of those books in which all the tension and suspense run underneath the surface. I absolutely love mysteries like that, because they allow my mind to explore all the who/what/where/when/why possibilities. But if you read a book like that and your mind wanders to what you're going to have for dinner, you may prefer something more plot-driven.
The story revolves around a decade old mystery: main character Sam is still dealing with the emotional aftermath of her younger sister's disappearance ten years earlier. As you find out in the early chapters of the story, Sam feels a lot of guilt in that she was there -- right in the room -- when her sister was taken. Of course, Sam was only seven when that happened. Through the course of the book, she slowly goes over that night and what she saw (or didn't see.)
This story is more psychological suspense than page-turning thriller. Sam's investigation is more gradual than purposeful, as the book examines the impact of the sister's disappearance on Sam's family, the rest of the neighborhood, the community, the person who was accused of the kidnapping. The story is very subtly and skillfully woven, though some readers might wish for a different resolution.
I'd definitely recommended The Last Good Day of the Year for those who enjoy true crime and/or more character-driven mystery.
I really like the idea of this book, Jen, especially when you describe it as psychological suspense more than thriller. I like those kinds of books for sure. I'm always a little let down by YA mysteries though because I can figure out what's going on early on and it irritates me when the characters don't. Still, I'm adding this to my list.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing! :)
I understand. This book is definitely different than a typical YA or a typical YA mystery. Hope you try it!Delete
I'm not sure this one is for me but I'm going to recommend it to my mother in law.ReplyDelete
Karen @For What It's Worth
Ooh - let me know what she thinks. Maybe she can do a guest review!Delete
This sounds something I would enjoy immensely, so I'm adding it to my TBR list :)ReplyDelete
Aeriko @ http://thereadingarmchair.blogspot.com
Please let me know what you think!Delete
I'm not big on mysteries, though it does sound interesting. I see you'e reading CoToR - so am I :) Can't wait to hear what you think... I for one was really surprised.ReplyDelete
Ah, I need to change that! I finished it and reviewed it last week. I did like it more than I thought, given that I am Fae-averse.Delete
Mystery is one of my favorite genres so I'm sure that I'll love this one! I'm excited to pick this one up :DReplyDelete
Can't wait to hear what you think!Delete
this book rattled my brain so so so much. loved it and you are right so could be adult. great review.ReplyDelete
Glad that you liked it too!Delete
This sounds like one of those mysteries that just mess with your mind--so excited about that! I'll admit I didn't want to read this because the cover is giving me the creeps, but I'm definitely excited for it now! :DReplyDelete
Oooh the synopsis sounds fascinating - I love psychological mystery/thriller type books (as opposed to bloody horror ones which creep me out.) Added to my TBR pile!ReplyDelete
Ooops. I thought it really was about the apocalypse. Lol. My bad. Colour me intrigued!ReplyDelete
True crime is one of my favorite sub-genres and I'm glad you really liked this one! The cover does look super creepy though, this is already in my TBR but your review does have me intrigue more now. <3 Benish | Feminist ReflectionsReplyDelete
The psychological aspect does sound well done, and sometimes not being just like mainstream can be goodReplyDelete
I agree that this one wasn't really that thrilling. In my review I mentioned that this was very character and backstory-driven, as we needed a lot of background info before really getting to the juicy bits. I still enjoyed it somewhat, though! Santa Clauses kidnapping kids are creepy and throughout the book I wanted to know who that madman was!ReplyDelete
Faye at The Social Potato
This seems to be the YA book which leans towards adult fiction a bit more. I like that though, because then it will probably read in a mature and focused sort of way. And having a bit of mystery thrown in there as well makes me want to try it all the more. Glad you liked it!ReplyDelete