The Children’s Book Review | July 15, 2015
The Last Good Day of the Year
Written by Jessica Warman
Age Range: 14 and up
Hardback: 304 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (2015)
What to expect: Mystery, Kidnapping, Family Relationships
There are some places that you never want to return to, even if that place is your childhood home, because the memories of your past have shaped your future and can’t be forgotten, no matter how deep they’re buried. For Sam, time has done nothing to ease the pain for her and her family, following the kidnapping of her youngest sister, Turtle – a kidnapping she and her best friend, Remy, witnessed at just seven years old.
Ten years after the kidnapping, when Sam’s dad loses his job, her family is forced to return to the same small, close-knit community where everyone thinks they know what happened the night Turtle went missing. Back in her childhood home, Sam discovers that while some people have changed – including her once best friend – some can never move beyond that fateful night. Sam’s troubled elder sister returns to the friendship with her best friend Abby, as if nothing ever happened, while Sam’s days are spent in the basement of Remy’s house, avoiding her difficult and emotional mom, sorting through Remy’s late grandmother’s belongings. As Sam sorts through the past of herself and others, she begins to question the events of the kidnapping, delving into buried memories in a desperate bid to answer unspoken doubts. Revealing the truth once and for all will change the course of everyone’s future, but at what cost?
Jessica Warman sets up a complex and moving mystery, creating a troubling story riddled with the authentic, gnawing voice of guilt, making for a truly addictive page-turner, one that invites the reader to sift through memories and question all characters. Peppered with fictional excerpts written after Turtle’s kidnapping, with anecdotes from the accused, the family, and the community, offers a swift glimpse beyond the story told in Sam’s perspective, underscoring the importance of listening to multiple viewpoints. Switching neatly between past and present, to Sam’s seven and seventeen year-old self, Warman deftly allows the reader access as detective. Emotionally wrought and sharply written, The Last Good Day of the Year explores and examines the capacity of evil and the result is a fine, smart read that isn’t afraid to uncover the frailty and weight of guilt and family relationships. This isn’t just for angst-fuelled teens: open the front cover and you won’t resurface till the end, and when you do, it will be with a gasp of admiration and surprise.
Add this book to your collection: The Last Good Day of the Year, by Jessica Warman
About the Author
JESSICA WARMAN is the author of Breathless, Where the Truth Lies, Between, and Beautiful Lies, which have received seven starred reviews among them. Between was published in a total of twelve countries around the world. Jessica has an MA in creative writing and recently moved to Houston, Texas. Find her online at www.jessicawarman.com and on twitter @jkwarman.
The Last Good Day of the Year, by Jessica Warman, was reviewed by Charlie Kennedy. Follow along with our book reviews and articles tagged with Comics and our Graphic Novels category to discover more great kids books.