The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
via publisher (thank you!)
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.
I’ve really been into the YA thriller genre lately—it’s always been one of my favorites as well. This was such a well-crafted mystery, and it definitely did not disappoint.
Though I’m still a bit confused on the title (if anyone got it, please let me know because I’m still trying to figure it out!), I loved this realistic, eerie depiction of how a family copes after a tragedy and how they try to figure out the real story.
It was full of suspense, but not the fast-paced, scary suspense. It was more of a slow burn and stayed true to the realistic nature of it all.
I also loved a point brought up about how different scenarios were treated in a group meeting for families whose children had been kidnapped and murdered:
“William’s murder got far less attention than it should have because he wasn’t a pretty little white girl…. It’s the kind of injustice so heinous that you would almost have to ignore it unless you were face-to-face with his mother; the prejudice of the system is the kind of thing most people can’t stand to acknowledge, because they aren’t willing to accept what that says about the world we all live in.”
This was an excellent and poignant read, and I’m still thinking about it even though I finished it almost two months ago!