Cover Image: The First Day of Spring

The First Day of Spring

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Member Reviews

I found this to be a compulsive and difficult read, with a very dark story at its heart. Chrissie is neglected by a useless, uncaring mother, which leads her to behave in some very disturbing ways...

There are quite a few gaps between Chrissie's childhood and adulthood that you have to fill in yourself, but I didn't mind this - I found the story readable enough without having to have everything spelt out. The book is dark and disturbing, but well written and thought-provoking.

I think some of the events that took place later in the story weren't quite convincing, but overall this was a good and quite unique novel.
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A powerful, heartbreaking story of serious crime committed in young childhood, the dominoes that led to it and its aftermath and wider impacts on everyone affected. 

Nancy Tucker writes in a way that evokes such a strong flavour of tragedy-strewn nostalgia, even if you yourself experienced nothing remotely similar in your own early days and even if the time period the childhood years are set is not the one you grew up in. 

There are so many important topics presented in this novel which are not discussed enough. It is a difficult but brilliant read. 

Many thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a review copy.
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I went into this expecting to be blown away given the hype its had across social media. Maybe I should’ve let the hype die down first, maybe then I may have enjoyed it more. 

To me, this wasn’t a crime/thriller, it was more a gripping drama. Much like how I felt about The Family Upstairs. But I am glad I’ve read it and it is one I would recommend but not if you wanted a gripping, on the edge of your seat thriller. I’d more aim it at fans of Big Little Lies.

This book is told from two perspectives, 8 year old Chrissie and future Chrissie/Julia. What I did like was how they intertwine between past and present. 8 year old Chrissie, what a little snob, but what’s interesting is while you’re sat thinking what a little bitch she is, you also can’t help but feel for her. She’s had a terrible time during her 8 years and that has led her down a despicable path. However, Julia is trying to get on with her life as a mother to 5 year old Molly but is constantly looking over her shoulder, worried about every little thing. Which isn’t at all surprising but I felt it all came together by the end. 

I’m awarding 3.5 stars because although it had me turning the pages wanting to know more, I felt the pace was far too slow and I think we needed more of an outlook to Chrissie’s mother in order to learn more about Chrissie.
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’m going to start off making quite a bold statement. This will undoubtably be my best book of the month.

The First Day of Spring is a powerful and emotive read from the first few words of the book.

‘I killed a little boy today.’ Meet Chrissie, a little girl herself.

I don’t want to say too much about this book as I really urge you to go and read it yourself and I don’t feel I could do it justice.

The story is told through the eyes of Chrissie and Julia, who we soon discover are connected and in fact the same person. A terrible and horrendous crime is committed and we explore the backstory behind the killer.

This book really made me stop and think and question what I thought, or how I felt about some of the themes that surrounded the plot as well as the characters. Days later, I am still reflecting and thinking about it, re reading the last chapter. #heartburst

I read this as part of a  readalong and it was the perfect book to read and discuss with others. Our DM group was, and still is, so active as we have all needed to discuss and talk about what we have read.

If you have read this I would love to hear your thoughts. If you haven’t, please add it to your wish list or TBR pile.
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An astoundingly moving novel which will stay with me for a very long time.  At eight years old Chrissie murders a younger child.  It seems unlikely that such a character can be drawn sympathetically, with compassion and with love, and yet, despite her abhorrent actions, Nancy Tucker managers to give Chrissie a voice and to portray a complex character - intelligent, stubborn and desperate for love and attention, vulnerable and shocking in equal measure. Nancy Tucker writes Chrissie through the lens of an eight year old, her similes and metaphors evoke the joy, simplicity and misunderstandings of a child. The language Chrissie uses is childlike and unguarded so we can watch her and experience her as she thinks and acts rather than analysing her from a distance. Chrissie's life of neglect and poverty collides with the community around her and the fall out is unflinchingly observed. The First Day of Spring is an extraordinary work. It makes for uncomfortable reading but it is also tender and loving about grief, about sorrow and about the absence of love.
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This unforgettable and incredibly powerful novel considers what factors prompt a child to commit the most horrendous crime. 

I am still reeling from finishing this book and I know the story will stay with me for a very long time.  

Told in a dual timeline, we first meet 8 year old Chrissie, then 15 years later, as the adult Julia.  The narrative flows seamlessly between the two.

It’s difficult to review this book without giving too much away. I think to get the most from this utterly compelling book, readers should just immerse themselves in Chrissie’s story.

The author has created a totally authentic and remarkable voice for Chrissie.  I loved the touches of humour in Chrissie’s bluntness, she definitely has no filters!

At times this book is so harrowing and tense you can hardly bear to imagine what will happen next.  It is, however, so well written you are swept along with the narrative and I was completely emotionally caught within this story.

The pages about the adult Julia’s friendship with Linda are so moving and wonderfully written I shed a few tears…

This is a truly unforgettable book, I am so grateful I was given the chance to read it.

I would like to thank the publishers Random House UK, Cornerstone and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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The First Day of Spring is not an easy read. It covers subject matter that is upsetting and may be potentially triggering for some. But, it is clearly well researched and authentically voiced.

The opening chapter really captures the imagination immediately and I certainly felt compelled to read through to the end once I'd begun. I think it's a book that deserves to have its plot kept private so I won't be talking about the specifics of the story. But I will say that to be able to give a character who has committed heinous acts of violence, such depth that the reader feels an immense amount of compassion for her, is a testament to the author's skill.

Certainly not a fluffy or uplifting read, there is however a glimpse of hope and I was certainly engrossed in the story from start to finish.
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The First Day of Spring is a powerful and compelling thriller, and beautifully written.   It tells the story of Chrissie, a child who kills a child, and then the adult Chrissie who lives under a new identity (Julia).  I loved everything about this book. Nancy Tucker is a brilliantly talented writer and I enjoyed her use of description of places and the thoughts of feelings of characters.  The plot is gripping and I was hooked from the first line.  The story content is controversial and difficult - children killing children.  But in Chrissie I found a character who evoked sympathy for her own damaged childhood, yet the writer does not ask for the reader's forgiveness.  Chrissie in many ways could be an extremely unlikeable character, but I cared about this character a great deal despite her horrific crimes and spiteful and awful behaviour.  The theme of motherhood features strongly in this book, and the parallels and differences between Chrissie's mother and the relationship she has with Molly are a strong theme throughout.   What Chrissie lacks in her childhood is all the more stark with the comparisons to the 'mammies' who feature in the book.

I highly recommend this book.  It's difficult reading in places, but it's so well written and Chrissie owns the narrative in such a way that I was compelled to read and with a deep sense of empathy.  It also evokes important questions about the way that society is or is not able to forgive children for committing awful crimes, and the extent this will continue to impact their lives forever more.
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A quite dark read
Sad in places
It is very well written
But can be quite difficult to read at times.
Good Book
Thanks NetGalley
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I read quickly. I have done all my life, until now. This book.
The writing is brilliant, the story is intriguing but I cannot read more than a chapter at a time. I read ten pages and the darkness of the story just cloaks me and I have to put it down.

I do want to finish this. I want to find out how it ends however at the rate I’m reading this it will take me a while to get there.

I’ll edit my review with my thoughts when I do but I would say approach with caution. Very few books have made me feel like this when reading, maybe it’s testament to the writing that it has but then again, I can’t read it in one go, so maybe not?
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"So that was all it took," I thought. "That was all it took for me to feel like I had all the power in the world. One morning, one moment, one yellow-haired boy. It wasn't so much after all."

Meet Chrissie...

Chrissie is eight and she has a secret: she has just killed a boy. The feeling made her belly fizz like soda pop. Her playmates are tearful and their mothers are terrified, keeping them locked indoors. But Chrissie rules the roost -- she's the best at wall-walking, she knows how to get free candy, and now she has a feeling of power that she never gets at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer.

Twenty years later, adult Chrissie is living in hiding under a changed name. A single mother, all she wants is for her daughter to have the childhood she herself was denied. That's why the threatening phone calls are so terrifying. People are looking for them, the past is catching up, and Chrissie fears losing the only thing in this world she cares about, her child.

This was not at all what I was expecting. The cover is very pretty, but what lurks beneath the cover is dark, VERY dark.
The opening sentence hooked me in and I initially disliked Chrissie, a lot. But as I read on, I began to understand her more and try to unpick her troubled past and how it affected her.
An amazing debut that I highly recommend.
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Loved this book, I couldn't put it down. It was too similar to the Mary Bell case but was told so well. The author really made you get into the head of the little girl, even more so when she was grown.
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This was a very different read for me, it flips between telling the story of Chrissie then back to Julia, mother of Molly. 
Very well written and plotted, a fascinating and quite disturbing read which raises some interesting questions. 
I thoroughly enjoyed it, many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book.
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This book will grab you from the first line! The way the author has written the characters and their understanding of certain acts that occur, ties you in knots and makes you feel a whole load of different emotions. 100% recommending this book to everyone! 

I received an arc of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Woah! 
Not sure where to start with this review. 

Firstly, read the note at the front. There is a foreword from the author. Reading this really helped me connect more with the character and really made her unforgettable. 

This book was written with such compassion and had tragedy written throughout it. 

My thoughts as I read the first chapter were not only was it disturbing but why was this child like she is. It was harrowing to think of those actions an 8 year old girl had taken, why she did it and her euphoric feelings around it. It was baffling but as you read on you understand and the empathy you feel is just overwhelming. 

It was certainly a gripping, chilling opening chapter. It covers the parallels of an abusive childhood and motherhood with a dark contrast between the two. The damaging effects of neglect and abuse, the feeling of having no one to care for her and the ramifications as a result which she draws to for attention. 

It is truly a disturbing, harrowing book which is shocking reading but it is a book that will stay with me for a very long time due to the characters being so expertly written.  

If I’m honest, it reminded me a little of the Jamie Bulger case. Should childhood actions have redemption? In this story … you will find out.
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Despite really preserving with this book it just wasn’t for me.  I really wanted to love this as so many others have but I’m not sure what it was I just couldn’t engage with the characters.
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The first line of this book will grab anyone's attention. I re-read the first couple of chapters just to clarify what o was reading. Although the situation that Chrissie is in is abhorrent and shouldn't have been allowed to happen, the resulting behaviour from her is as extreme as it can be. I did feel sorry for her situation but did not empathise with the feelings that led to the incidents. 

One thing that this book does well is to show that if you have a bad start and even if terrible mistakes have been made, there is still a way to get your life back on track and make up for the way you had been treated as a child. 

I found this a good read but uncomfortable at points, maybe because I have a young daughter myself and can't imagine the pain the two families would have go through. I probably wouldn't recommend this to my friends as it is not something that I feel they would feel comfortable reading. However it is well written and grabs the attention of the reader throughout the book.
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A powerful book with an important perspective. This book is centred on a very difficult topic, not many authors would be brave enough to look at the world through the eyes of a child killer! 

The book is a dual timeline - Chrissie killed a child when she was 8 years old. Julia is a mother who wants to protect her child but worries that she will not be able to, or be allowed to.

This book takes a sensitive look at how a child can turn into a killer, why they would kill and whether there can be any redemption. 

Powerful and truly heart-breaking, this book looks at what it means to love and be loved and questions what it means to be good/bad. 

Brilliantly written.
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Where to start with this book that has blown me away. Unable to categorise in any genre , as unique in writing about a difficult subject matter that would generally be considered abhorrent , yet handled with sensitivity, objectivity and the ability to relate a story without any judgmental bias. The chief protagonist goes back over her life in two guises. Chrissie the  young neglected eight year old struggling to deal with rejection, hunger and abuse. She carries her, Never Ever Cry, as her badge of honour, no matter how hungry, how unloved or how hurt. Years in witness protection may have changed both name, now Julia and persona but inwardly she is still the frightened child struggling to live  in a frightening world that she feels unable and ill equipped to survive. So, slowly we share in painstaking agony, her back story, in a child’s language and perception she views the cruelty and small kindnesses of the world she grew up in. The characters all three dimensional, are drawn in such exquisite detail that we really know them through the eyes of this child. Her tragedy is our tragedy. This book should be compulsory reading matter for social workers, probation officers and anyone charged with child welfare. Nothing in this book is black or white, just page after page of shades of grey. The author should be proud, very proud. Any misconceptions I may have harboured have been destroyed upon reading this five star read on every level. Many thanks to Author, Publishers and NetGalley for opening my mind with this ARC.
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This is an excellent read. A chilling underlying theme runs throughout but this is not the only good aspect to this novel. There are many twists and turns that are shocking and heart wrenching.
The book is well written and the main character and her story is built upon gradually throughout the novel. You feel all the emotions with her and you are led through all her emotions. You begin to empathise with heer development.
Read it through to the end!
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