The Last Good Day of the Year - Jessica Warman

Genre: Young Adult/Thriller
Synopsis: 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. Master storyteller Jessica Warman keeps readers guessing in this arresting page-turner.


Review: I really enjoyed reading this novel, which I've seen a few reviews accuse of being a tad slow. It moves at a somewhat leisurely pace, but if you're enjoying the content then that doesn't really matter too much. What I think causes that response in some readers, however, is that this book is a slightly strange, somewhat clashing blend of a young adult coming of age story and an adult crime thriller. Additionally, the story is told from the perspective of the victim's family, meaning if it is going to be a bit slow and lenient on the thriller aspect, you need characters who have been sufficiently developed and are interesting enough to carry the emotional aspect of the story. This emotional aspect is the central feature of the story, but for me, my interest was driven - as most thrillers are- by my need to know whodunnit.

Despite the initial slow pace, the novel does pick up momentum towards the end and the big reveal. I particularly enjoyed this section of the story, and the last thought it really left me with was that the story's concept would be a really interesting idea for - gasp - an adult thriller. I'd love to read an adult version of this story told as some kind of standard real-time investigate thriller.

All the same, overall this is an easy and enjoyable read.

Rating: 3/5

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