Cover Image: Day One

Day One

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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC of this book. I can't say that I enjoyed this story about a school shooting so I will say that the author did a good job portraying it and the aftermath. The story is told from multiple POVs and that helped a slow paced story move a bit quicker. This one is definitely a slow burn.

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Stonesmere primary school in the Lake District is where teacher Ava Ward has worked for many years. Stonesmere is a small town where life just plods along, nothing remarkable happens. Then one dreadful day, during a play which is being performed for the four year-olds, who will be starting school next term, a shooter walks in and the lives of many will be devastatingly changed forever.
The story follows the aftermath and looks at how it affects the victims families. The reader slowly discovers what really happened that day, as the author explores the unreliability of memories. Making matters even worse is a group of’ truthers’ who believe the whole thing is a hoax, and that the victims never existed.
A thoughtful and beautifully written book covering a disturbing subject, but it draws the reader ever onwards to find the truth of it all.

*Special thanks to NetGalley and Viking for this e-arc.*

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It is hard to say that I enjoyed a book about school shootings. So I will say I enjoyed the way Abigail Dean crafted this story. A unique take, that involves numerous timelines and POV’s.
The aftermath of a school tragedy on a small town, and the different opinions and theories that make it hard to know what to believe.

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DAY ONE by Abigail Dean is a sensitively written book dealing with an undeniably important topic, but ultimately, having enjoyed GIRL A so much, its execution in comparison struck me as underwhelming and slightly disappointing. It wasn't a mystery, nor was it thrilling enough to really be classed as a thriller (and honestly, considering the subject matter, I'm glad that Dean didn't lean too heavily in this direction); but it lacked the depth of consistent emotion and consideration that I would have expected from something more "literary". I felt constantly held at a remove by the two main POV characters, and the non-linear timeline was disruptive and really detracted from the emotion of the events.

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Although this story was a little slow-moving, I thought it was a great read. The emotional elements of the story were believable and I found myself relating to many of the characters. I liked that the story was told from various points of view, including that of a troubled young woman who has a history with the primary school shooter. She feels like she must atone for the relationship by lying about where she was at the time of the shooting to give hope to the people of her community. The young man at the center of the conspiracy theory seems very naive yet likable, and I wanted to cheer him on while at the same time wanting to ask him "what are you thinking?" Heartbreaking and thought-provoking read.

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This book started off strong with the shooting happening straight away. The writing was descriptive and detailed. However, as the book went on, it continued to be detailed in an overly so kind of way. As it was bogged down in details, I felt that the pacing was off and it just muddled along, and then the point of view would abruptly switch. It was rather jarring. Because the point of view changed so quickly, the author didn’t really go into much character development which I was looking for. We just got to learn about everyone on the surface, never really learning about them. As a result, it was hard to form a connection with any character. I do think that the plot was there, and this is an important type of story to tell.

The part of this book that was my favorite was the alternative points of view. Those from the conspiracy theorists. I found these chapters to be very thought provoking and intriguing. They really made me stop and think because we hear about this often after shooting occur.

While this story wasn’t my favorite, it was still a wonderful story, and I recommend it.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Penguin Group Viking @Vikingbook and Netgalley @netgalley for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

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Beginning at the point of an unspeakably violent act, this novel explores the ripple effect. For fans of dramatic fiction.

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In Day One, Abigail Dean is trying to replicate her success with Girl A using a ripped-from-the-headlines plot. Day One doesn't work quite as well. Basically, it involves a Newtown-type school shooting (horrible that there are types) and the various parties that become involved--the survivors, the victims, the conspiracy theorists, the media, etc. The whole thing revolves around a "twist" that just doesn't work. It's terrifically mundane and, while I think it's supposed to be, my reaction was along the lines of "okay." Dean has a lot to offer. She's a strong writer. I am confident her third effort will be a little better than this one. For fans of Girl A and true crime fanatics. There are plenty of patrons to recommend this one to.

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Engaging and immersive, although the content may be difficult for some readers. A recommended purchase for collections where crime and thrillers are popular.

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Abigail Dean's new novel Day One is one of those books that has a potentially intriguing premise, but fails massively in execution. This meandering tale of a school shooting doesn't spare the emotionally charged, triggering details ... but it doesn't spare much about anything else either. This book is overwrought with unnecessary details - it just tries to do too much and loses the plot time and time again. There are periods in this story when Dean does get to the point, and when she does, this story is engaging and compelling, but the rest of the story failed to hold my attention & the book became a chore to pick up.

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It took me awhile to get through this book. I found it very triggering. School shootings are one of my biggest fears. Reading about one in my downtime wasn’t my favorite thing to do.

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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of Day One.

I enjoyed the author's first book, Girl A, so I was excited my request was approved.

First, the premise could be very triggering for many readers as it concerns a school shooting.

This book won't be for everyone and that's fine.

There were many things that didn't work for me with Day One:

1. First, the characters are unremarkable, especially Marty.

She's bland, boring, and it's ironic she's one of the primary POVs because her voice is dull.

Once a popular girl and the darling of the town, now she's slumming it at the school her teacher mother worked. When her involvement with the shooter is revealed, it's not surprising. Just sad.

2. I'm not a fan of multiple POVs, and there are quite a few here, just recounting some of the perspectives on the day of shooting. POVs I don't feel were necessary, adding filler to a book that read as unnecessarily long.

3. Conspiracy theorists abound in the book, another trigger point for some readers so beware.

Trent and Susan and people like them do exist in real life, but it didn't make reading about their nonsense easier.

4. I didn't like or connect with anyone. The only person I empathized with was Larkin, but I didn't know him.

Character development wasn't great. I think if the author had focused on a few POVs, and delved deeper into each person to explain why they acted the way they do.

5. As I was reading, I kept thinking, what is the point of this narrative? Why am I reading this?

What is the point of this story?

That people have different perspectives on a horrific crime and tragedy?

That the shooter is human, too?

That our world is nuts?

That Marty is just a silly girl who has lousy taste in men?

The writing is good, but I didn't like the story, nor were the characters engaging.

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I didn't realize exactly what this book was about or I would have known that I could not finish it, in fact, should not have tried at all. It was too detailed, which I'm sure makes it great writing, I just can't read it. Content warning for others: there is a school shooting, the kids are young, there are conspiracy theorists who will infuriate you.

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Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

A horrifying school shooting leaves people with questions. Who saw what? Who was really to blame? And why was Marty seen running toward the school when she claimed she was inside when it happened? I predicted many of the things that would happen in this book, but that didn’t make it any less entertaining. Incredibly and beautifully written.

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This was so good! An interesting portrayal of a town’s members after a terrible tragedy. Finger-pointing, gossip and who are your real friends? Lies and the truth.

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Underwhelming. I really enjoy Abigail Dean as an author, but I could not get into this book at all. I could not connect with any of the characters, and it felt really disjointed.

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