by Abigail Dean
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Pub Date 28 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 18 Apr 2024
HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction, HarperCollins
*The breathtaking new novel from the bestselling author of Girl A*
Stonesmere will never be the same again…
When a lone gunman enters a primary school in a beautiful Lake District town, the effects of the tragedy radiate through idyllic Stonesmere with devastating consequences.
At the epicentre of the tragedy is Marty, daughter of the teacher who dies trying to protect her pupils. Her actions in the immediate aftermath change the trajectory of her life forever.
As news of the shooting spreads across the country, rumours of inconsistencies begin to surface, festering online. Conspiracy theorists start questioning what happened, and for outsider Trent Casey, this new community offers him a chance to step into the spotlight.
With events spiralling out of control, Marty and Trent’s lives become irreversibly entwined and the true story is gradually revealed. Eight years later, Marty must piece together her memories of that fateful day and face up to the part she played.
Day One is a tender, heartbreaking novel about community, tragedy, and the lasting power of love from the bestselling author of Girl A.*Praise for DAY ONE*
‘I couldn’t put this down… layered, frightening, moving.’ Stacey Halls
‘DAY ONE is a devastating, beautiful novel written with such skill, grace and compassion that I couldn't stop reading through the tears’ Jennifer Saint
‘Gripping and beautifully written, DAY ONE confronts the darkest parts of human nature with guts and grace. I loved it.’ Emilia Hart
‘A gripping examination of a community devastated … A chilling, thought-provoking read. Brilliant.’ Shari Lapena
‘Utterly gripping.’ Juno Dawson
‘Intriguing and brave, a beautiful writer.’ Adele Parks
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 211 members
Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for my copy of this book.
When a gunman enters a local primary school, Marty’s mum a teacher is shot dead along with 10 pupils.
Trent is a bit of a conspiracy theorist. He and other truthers don’t believe that he events of the shooting.
The story is told from the point of view of various characters in the past, present and current day settings.
While I liked this book, I found it really slow. However it was a good read.
Abigail Dean's writing is raw, honest, and thought-provoking. Her new novel, Day One opens with the horrific crime which takes place in a primary school in the Lake District.
A masked gunman opens fire on childrem and ther teacher whislt they are performing their school play.
The gripping tale unfolds from various perspectives, but primarily from the perspective of the teacher's daughter- Marty.
Trent Casey - aspiring journalist - used to live in the same town where the devastating event took place - but what is his link to the murderer?
Girl A was compelling - a page turner and Dean has fone it again - leaving you on tenterhooks until the very last page. A rivieting read.
I enjoyed reading this book, I love how the events of Day One unfolded bit by bit and that we also saw the aftermath. I thought it was really well written with Martha's (Marty's) story unfolding and finding out what really happened that day.
I loved reading everyone's different viewpoint as to how they were feeling and what they thought about the events that had occurred.
I thought that the storyline was very clever shown from the different angles, even the 'truthers'. I haven't read Abigail's previous book however love her writing style so will be off to find it!
This was such a great read! Stonesmere is a picturesque town in the Lake District that is shattered by a massacre at the local primary school’s end-of-term play, and is further shattered by claims from conspiracy theorists that the event didn’t actually happen. The reader is taken on a journey to discover the truth surrounding that day.
It’s a great page-turner of a book, but one that is also well written, which many ‘page turners’ are not. I would happily recommend this to fans of crime, crime thrillers and literary fiction.
In the picturesque town of Stonesmere, what should have been a memorable day for all good reasons, turns into the worst day imaginable. A primary school play… a lone gunman… and the devastating weeks and months that follow…
This story is a fascinating read. It focuses on the aftermath of the shooting and is written from the viewpoints of the main characters involved. Although it is slow moving, it still has the ability to pull you in and grip you there, not letting you go until the conclusion.
If you loved Abigail Deans, Girl A, you’ll love this!
With thanks to Netgallery and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this ARC in return for an honest review.
The second book I’ve read by this author and I’ve enjoyed both.
Martha lives in a small part of the Lake District with her teacher mum and popular dad. A seemingly peaceful existence until the Day One school performance one year which ends in unspeakable tragedy. And out of tragedy comes lies and stories and more horror.
I found this book a little hard to follow on my kindle as the storyline jumped around in time and using different narrators but would recommend it because it is a fantastic read.
Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read and review.
Thank you Harper Collins UK and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. IYKYK, my reviews are AWLAYS honest.
Trigger warning: school shooting involving children | 4.5 rounded UP. NICHE BANGER ALERT.
Writing: that's my type! | Plot: slow, character-driven, depressy | Ending: right in the feels
Marty and Trent navigate the aftermath of a tragic school shooting.
OOHHWEEE!!!!! J'ADORE!!!! This is a NICHE banger. If you liked Girl A, The Favor by Nicci French NOT Nora Murphy (dnfed that one) and S.E. Lynes (prose alone, not her plots), then you may enjoy this. If you expect thrills, chills, twists, and turns, as well as linear timelines and more straight-forward writing (Alice Feeney, CoHo, Freida, Megan Goldin, Riley Sager, etc) then SKIP. This is most certainly NOT a thriller. It is very bleak, very character driven, and rather 'slow'. Not one twist in sight my friends.
I see that Abigail Dean likes to fictionalize bleak af tragedies. Girl A is the Turpin case, and Day One is Sandy Hook. Tbh I didn't really read the synopsis, so when the school shooting occurred, I was a lil shook. There are a lot of similarities between this book and Sandy Hook, mostly around the conspiracy theory shitstorm egged on by the nefarious Alex Jones. I always enjoy books that really get into the mind of a conspiracy theorist and demonstrate how a 'normal' person has devolved into such a whackadoodle state. Dean does a fantastic job SHOWING not telling how Trent descended into madness.
The writing is *chefs kiss* FOR MEEEEE. The streets might call this writing style 'awkward', 'disjointed', 'choppy'. I'm always tickled pink when I see an author stretching the confines of syntax to carve out their own style and tone. Do I sound like a pretentious wanker? Yes. Anyways. Here's an example of what I mean:
...And however tired she was, it was the first thing she asked. However tired—even when the tiredness was right there on her face. When it had crept into her bones, and become a tiredness he should have recognized—
And what did he say? Fine. OK.
She would have listened though. She would have listened.
Unlike The Quiet Tenant ot All the Dangerous Things which leans heavily on melodramatic similes and flowery language to force emotion into mundane scenes, Dean stays fairly simile-free and chooses the right moments to hit you where it hurts. My fave quote of this book (for context: Marty is being interviewed right after the school shooting)
'What happened,' the woman said, 'in the hall?'
My memories trembled. I reassembled the room, just as it should have been. Gathered the children back to the stage. Put the chairs back in place. Dried the floor. Tucked phones back into pockets, handbags, palms. There I was, in the heart of the audience, with my mother's hand in mine.
Broseffff?????? What a beautiful way to SHOW that Marty wishes she could go back in time before the tragedy struck and that she regrets not being there with her mother. Basic writing would go with: I wish I could go back in time and make sure I had been in the audience with my mom like I promised I would be.
Anyways, if you're a pretentious wanker like me, you may enjoy this one. It's definitely more 'litfic' without being too dramatic. It's an uncomfortable read. It's a sad read. It's a read that'll make even the soulless feel something. It could spark some juicy book club debates. Dean can definitely handle sensitive topics with grace and I look forward to what she tackles next.
PROS AND CONS
Pros: beautiful and unique prose, thoughtful deep-dive into a fictionalized version of the Sandy Hook shooting, well-drawn characters, controversial in a good way that challenges you
Cons: definitely slow, some stilted dialogue, timeline was a tad confusing at first because I thought 'Year Eight' was referring to a grade, not the fact we were jumping 8 years forward from the Day One event
Day One is a very gripping novel, that will make you turn page after page to see what happens next! Highly enjoyed this and recommend!
Oh M G! I loved it I didn’t want it to end!
I love all the different perspectives and the twists. A great mystery, So many feelings so many worries.
So many other things to thing about that were carefully not gone into. Poor Marty! I can’t imagine what she has gone through.
I loved this book.....a really gripping read which kept me turning the page throughout the book.
A school shooting in Stonesmere shakes the small town to the core.
The main character Marty lost her mother that day along with some children from the school but what really happened on that fateful day. Are things as they seem? What was happening on the run up to this day?
I highly recommend this book.
Every July, in the picturesque Cumbrian village of Stonesmere, primary school pupils put on a special assembly for next year’s reception class called Day One. A ritual as idyllic as the village itself until one year, a gunman storms the assembly and Stonesmere is never the same again.
And yet, the internet rumours begin to suggest, isn’t there something not quite right about the supposed massacre?
Day One is an astonishingly good novel that examines the meaning of grief, of truth, of what tragedy does to people, with an incredible sympathy for its characters. The part-Alex Jones part-Nigel Farage character who leads the conspiracy theorists is rightly treated as awful and manipulative, but one of the lonely young men pulled into his orbit - Trent - is given real humanity even while his acts are repellent.
The Stonesmere survivors are likewise beautifully drawn, their various ways of dealing with grief and rage presented with empathy.
As a study of how conspiracies flourish and grow, it is superb. As an examination of loss, it is even better.
Such a good book to come out of such a tragic storyline. This is a tale about community, about love and about the different ways in which people try to reconcile the unreconcilable. Told by different characters at different points post-event, the truth is gradually and cleverly revealed.
Day One by Abigail Dean is a powerful and emotionally charged novel that explores the aftermath of a tragic event in the small community of Stonesmere. The story centres around Marty, the daughter of a teacher who dies protecting her students during a violent incident. As the community grapples with the consequences of the tragedy, conspiracy theories emerge, and outsider Trent Casey seizes the opportunity to exploit the situation.
Abigail Dean skilfully delves into the complexities of grief, guilt, and the impact of trauma on individuals and the community as a whole. The narrative slowly unravels the truth behind the events, revealing the interconnectedness of Marty and Trent's lives. The author's writing is both poignant and gripping, capturing the raw emotions and vulnerabilities of the characters.
Day One is a thought-provoking and suspenseful novel that tackles themes of loss, resilience, and the search for truth. Dean's exploration of the human psyche and the ripple effects of a tragic event make this a compelling and unforgettable read. With its richly developed characters and expertly crafted plot, Day One leaves a lasting impact and prompts reflection on the power of community and the complexities of human nature.
I wasn't entirely sure if I wanted to read Day One - the opening, where a gunman opens fire on young children in a school, had echoes of the Dunblane shootings. But although this subject can't not be distressing, the story is less about that and more about what happens after, and like Abigail Dean's previous novel, Girl A, it's a fascinating read.
Teacher Ava Ward is killed trying to protect her pupils; her teenage daughter Martha, interviewed by a reporter in the immediate aftermath, is distraught, but perhaps knows more than she's letting on. The Lake District village of Stonesmere and the country as a whole reels from the horror of what's occurred.
Aspiring journalist Trent, an intelligent and vulnerable young man who once knew and liked the alleged shooter, is only too ready to believe, along with others, that there's more to the story than the official version - that there's a conspiracy, a coverup at the highest level.
The depth of Trent's deludedness is starkly illustrated when he thinks at one point that "they were not cruel, had never been cruel". Because they are nothing but cruel - it's hard to imagine anything much crueller than attacking and mocking the families of murdered children, calling them liars and telling them their children never existed.
But Trent, caught up in a toxic ideology peddled by an amoral demagogue, egged on by others he meets online and in person, truly believes he is speaking truth to power, and it leads him down some dark paths.
There's never really a convincing reason why this false flag would have been perpetrated (to distract from other issues unfavourable to the government is hardly compelling) but that doesn't bother the "truthers". And that's sadly highly believable in a world where crackpot Q-Anon theories gained huge traction among lots of people, many only too willing to commit violence for their "cause", believing they're the only ones perceptive enough to see through the lies. It's a twisted way of looking at the world, rejecting anything you're officially told but ready to believe the most implausible alternatives.
We follow the perspectives of Martha, Trent, with short sections from the day of the shooting and the people caught up in it. A brilliant if at times heartbreaking read, raising various questions - what is the meaning of heroism? Where does the truth lie?
Thank you for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy.
Conspiracy theories float around after school shootings in the USA most notably after the mass killing of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 'Truthers' alleged that it never happened and that it was a conspiracy to enable more gun control. In Day One, Abigail Dean has imagined something similar happening in the UK, in a small school in the Lake District, an idyllic background for a horrific crime.
The story centres not so much around the actual shooting but its aftermath, It mainly follows two characters, Marty, whose mother Ava is killed in the tragedy and Trent, a loner who once knew the killer and is unable to believe that then person he knew committed such an atrocity and therefore starts to believe that it didn't actually happen. Meanwhile Marty struggles with the death of her mother and with the fact that she has not been entirely honest about what happened that day.
This is a gripping read. I had wondered when i read the blurb whether the idea of 'truthers' who believe in such conspiracies, would travel across the ocean. However you just have to spend a few minutes on Twitter and other social media to see that batshit crazy theories like this are alive and well here in the UK too and Dean has done a convincing job of characterising one of these theorists without resorting to stereotyping and showing compassion for everyone involved. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC. Recommended.
Day One will change you as a person. It will stay with for weeks after you’ve read it. A cleverly nuanced and intricate plot with characters who are not who the seem nor do they make reliable narrators which adds to the suspense and intrigue of the book. An absolutely triumph from Abigail Dean, Day One is a book that makes you think and question everything we see, think and feel.
When reading this novel I was reminded of the Dunblane shooting with a terrible outcome- it too was a primary school. To say I enjoyed it just doesn’t feel right, but it is a very good novel. The story was slow to begin with, but eventually the pace improved. It is set around a school concert with parents attending. Abigail definitely made it very atmospheric and you could feel yourself trying to work out what actually happened and what part Marty had in it- if any!
Another amazing novel from Abigail Dean. As good as, if not bette than Girl A and that is a compliment!
Her writing style is fantastic and I can't wait to read whatever she writes
I adored Abigail Dean's debut and so this was on my radar as soon as it was announced. Both of her offerings have been fiction, based on real crimes, and I have to say she handles writing about such topics with the utmost respect and sensitivity.
On Day One, Stonesmere is torn apart by a school shooting. The book tells of the aftermath in the years that follow, for both the village as a whole, and some specific people: survivors, those who have lost loved ones, and the "truthers" - conspiracy theorists who believe the massacre was all a lie.
I really felt for Marty and even more so as she got more caught up in her lie as things progressed. Not only did she lose her mum, she had so much other trauma to deal with.
It was interesting to see things from Trent's point of view- seeing how someone "normal" can go down the wrong path, when vulnerable and influenced by the wrong people.
There was a theme throughout of wanting to believe something is true *so* hard that you convince yourself it actually is. As well as this,
there were so many interesting points raised that could be discussed endlessly; Abigail Dean's writing is incredibly clever - the book was both heartbreaking and absolutely gripping.
The focus of Abigail Deans latest novel is on Stonesmere primary school where Ava Ward has taught for over twenty years. This idyllic, beautiful Lake District town will never be the same again and nor will many peoples lives. It’s July and Day One where the eldest children of the school perform a play for the four-year-olds who will join in September and this will hopefully remove the fear of the September day one.
This year Ava’s class are breaking tradition and each will perform a brief monologue based on their individual research. The performance starts, and it’s just as its Kit Larkin’s turn and what initially Ava thinks is a photographer at the back of the room
with a tripod, proves to be a helmeted man, visor down, with a rifle in his hand. He begins firing at the audience then at the stage as Ava desperately tries to protect her charges. At the epicentre of the tragedy is Marty (Martha), Ava’s daughter. What exactly did Marty see for? What might she know? In the months that follow, conspiracy theorists led by Ray Cleave, cast doubt on the reported events. Ray encourages “truther“ journalist Trent Casey to endeavour to expose the “sham“ of the killings. Sit back, get comfortable and witness how things spin completely out of control and establish exactly what the truth is of that fateful, tragic day.
First of all, I think I’ve just got my breath back and put my jaw back into place. I thought Girl A was good (five stars from me) but if it’s at all possible, I think this is even better. This is such a powerful novel that it evokes the whole spectrum of emotions. The tension is as taut as piano wire, which, after such a terrifying start doesn’t seem possible but it sure builds and how. The author keeping you guessing right to the very end which seems to add further to the tension. At the beginning there is panic. confusion and horror and then after the event, is living with lives shattered into a thousand pieces. The reader views much of this via Marty and Trent and what a contrast we have with these two. Who is the most unreliable?? There is some input from Kits father and he is one of the standout characters, at times, he moves you to tears. However. all the characters are well portrayed and some are not as you might think. The friendship between Marty and Leah Perry becomes of huge importance, and I don’t think friends can get much better than Leah who sacrifices so much for Marty. The “Truthers“ make you angry, they are an insult to good people, but it sure adds another dimension to the gripping storytelling, and the community they target will never, ever be the same again.
The plot is so intriguing, it’s totally immersive, trust me, you won’t want to put this down once you’ve started it. It’s an enigmatic puzzle, the pieces of which don’t seem to fit no matter how hard you try to make them do so. From the very start, there is a sense of foreboding which overhangs Stonemere until the truth is out. The ending is really good, taking the plot full circle, which makes it feel worse somehow as it seems to hit you harder.
Finally, the setting in the Lake District is an excellent choice as this stunning area is so peaceful and so popular with visitors and of course is such a stark contrast to the violence inflicted. This puts me in mind of the horror of Dunblane in Scotland, which we will never forget, nor should we. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this book either as it’s an outstanding piece of fiction.
With thanks to NetGalley and especially to HarperCollins, HarperFiction for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
Oh my word this is a book you race through, desperate to know what happens next, wondering what the truth is behind it all. The set up is one that has been used countless times, a school shooting - though I'm not sure I've read one with a UK setting before - but this is different because someone close to it all is involved and has to lie about what she did. The story therefore goes off on twists and turns, the chronology surprises you by jumping all over the place but it keeps you on your toes to puzzle it all out. It's like a whodunnit but you know the answer. Your judgement at the end of it would make an interesting book club discussion! What a brilliant writer though. Just when you think this is going to be quite ordinary, it turns into something different and rather good. I would read something else by Abigail Dean, without doubt.
Imagine something like the Dunblane school shooting in the age of the internet, social media, conspiracy theories, and ruthless politicians who will say anything to get attention, whether they believe it or not..
But you get a real insight into everyone from the perpetrator's mother to victim's families, and the people jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon. Everything feels very real, especially the oppressive atmosphere in such a small town where everyone knows each other, for good or bad.
The characters are multifaceted, with all their faults as well as believable reasons for doing what they do.
Complex relationships slowly emerge as things come to a head.
The kind of book where you go straight back to the beginning to re-read parts as soon as you have finished.
This was a real rollercoaster of a tale. A terrible event and the aftermath for the community and those involved. Well written story that kept me involved the whole well through the book.
As compelling as her debut, somehow even more immediate and character driven. Excellent, thrilling, morally complex read
Girl A was one of the outstanding books of 2021 and the very promising debut novel by Abigail Dean. It's been a long wait for her next book but Day One has certainly been worth waiting for.
The story revolves around a mass shooting in a primary school in the Lake District village of Stonesmere. In the aftermath it becomes apparent that some of those involved in the tragedy have differing memories of events that have serious repercussions for them and the traumatised community. This is picked up by conspiracy theorists who use their online channels to cast doubt on whether the whole thing actually happened at all causing further distress for the village,
A thought-provoking and intelligent book this is a story,like Girl A,of flawed and often deeply unlikable people living with the consequences of their actions. Very topical is the way that characters find themselves sucked down a rabbit hole and are affected by conspiracy theories, whether from fomenting them or being affected by them.
This is every bit as good as Girl A, told form the viewpoints of several characters and moving backwards and forwards through timelines it can initially be a bit confusing but as the story unfolds it's quite devastating.
Thank you @netgalley for this greart ARC in exchange for my honest review.
This was quite an emotional book. It's powerful and very thought-provoking. I wouldn't say this falls under a thriller, but certainly an action-packed, heart shattering read. It's a slow burner of a story but builds extreme tension and suspense. I almost felt guilty for reading such harrowing events and enjoying the story.
This book may be very triggering for some and is by no means light-hearted. It's based around a tragic primary school shooting, focusing on the aftermath and devastation that shook a small village in Cumbria. Although fictional, it was relateable, and Dean captured the small town vibes well (I live in cumbria).
This is a very character driven story. Each chapter follows a different chracter and jumps between timelines. It's superbly narrated and easy to follow despite these variations. However, I recognise that this could be frustrating to some readers and appear slightly disjointed. I merely interpreted this as the core of what a local tragedy can provoke in people's mindsets and community spirit. The chracters were developed to the point I felt try emotions towards them, whether it be sadness, empathy or anger.
I found this a gripping read, with mystery and some twisted truths. Some parts focus on the conspiracy theorists who derail the judgements of a small town, and this effectively highlights how damaging false accusations can be.
Dean has a very provocative writing style, similar to her previous book, "Girl A." it's sometimes fragmented in narration to give that overall broken emotional effect.
I would recommend this book, I believe Dean has quite a unique and unusual writing style that I thoroughly enjoy.
The absolute horror of a mass shooting in a British school sends shockwaves across the world. The disbelief, outrage and immense sadness spreads. Condolences and sympathy pour in to the small lakeland town where the locals have no idea how to deal with this unimaginable tragedy. Ava is a dedicated teacher, her daughter Marty a teenager who is trying to find her way in life and Larkin, the local policeman who has already known tragedy are just some of the characters caught up in this truly awful event. Sympathy would of course be universal. Or would it? Rumours begin to circulate that someone may be lying and as the conspiracy theories gain momentum the grieving families have even more unwanted stress to contend with. The story is told from different perspectives and is cleverly told in that the truth could be seen in varying ways. As time goes by the complex truth emerges but above all this is a very sad story where there are no winners. It is definitely a page turner and most chapters leave the reader wanting to know more but usually switches to another character’s version of events. Well written and thought provoking, I thoroughly recommend this book.
Girl A by Abigail Dean was a book that I just could not get out of my head for months after reading it so when I saw the author had wrote another book, Day One I just knew I had to request it.
This follows the lives of individuals after the Stonesmere Massacre (a school shooting). While Day One’s storyline completely differs from Girl A, it still gives you that real feel story but fiction similar to Girl A.
The characters include Marty who’s mother was was a primary school teacher killed in the Stonesmere Massacre and Trent a conspiracy theorist who believes it was all just a hoax. Abigail Deans writing of the emotions and thoughts of her characters are so captivating they jump from the page making you feel like you are living the story not just reading it.
One criticism (and a very small one at that) is there are a lot of minor characters which initially can be hard to keep up with, however as the story progresses each character is easily distinguishable and the importance of each person story is evident.
A 5 star read. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher Harper Collins U.K. for this advance readers copy in exchange for an honest review.
I adored Girl A and Day One is even better, if that's possible. It's gorgeous, terrifying, moving and gripping from the very first page. Abigail Dean really sets the bar for literary thrillers
An absolutely brilliant book. The characters were really well written and the story was really interesting. Highly recommended.
Abigail Dean’s second novel, Day One, has the lovely backdrop of a small town in the Lake District as its setting for the most horrific of crimes – a lone gunman who carries out a shooting at Stonesmere Primary School.
Multiple timelines are seamlessly woven together and the story is told from multiple viewpoints – notably those of Marty, the daughter of the primary school teacher, and Trent, a ‘truther’ (conspiracy theorist). The structure and characterisation were, for me, absolutely spot on.
A haunting, suspenseful, beautifully written novel with characters that felt so real they tugged at my heart strings.
Thanks Harper Collins UK and NetGalley for ARC.
I did not read Ms Dean's debut, Girl A, which was a huge success, so I had no idea what to expect from this.
The premise is intriguing, compelling, and may be triggering for some. It unfolds from the central point of a school shooting in a small tourist town, and the aftermath for those directly and tangentially involved, including some who were not involved but had reasons to want to insert themselves in the narrative. Over a long timescale and multiple points of view, the reader gets a chance to explore the impact, without ever losing empathy for the main players and without the thriller pace flagging.
Wow. This tough, absorbing thriller/family saga/anthropological study/exploration of ethics and the unreliable narrator that is memory is well worth anyone's time. It's harrowing, occasionally funny, uplifting and frustrating in turns. It's technically so impressive, but most importantly it's vital and human, and I will think about it for a long time.
Wow with its relentless pace and spine-tingling atmosphere, this story left me with a sense of unease that stayed with me long after I closed the book. A seriously good thriller
A fabulously written gripping story that was a pleasure to read. Another amazing book by Abigail Dean, Girl A is an favourite of mine, but now I have a new one. I would absolutely recommend this book, it was brilliant
In the beautiful Lake District community of Stonesmere an atrocity is committed. The Primary School is attacked by an armed man and the inhabitants lives will change forever. Inevitably, the eyes of the media hones in on the people from this tiny place but not all of the observers believe the evidence in front of them. A group of people calling themselves ‘truthers’ think that the shooting was a hoax, the victims didn’t exist and the survivors are actors. Further anguish ensues.
This is a great book - a real page-turner and Abigail Dean cranks up the tension as the plot unfolds over an eight-year period. The narrative perspectives include Marty Ward (the daughter of one of the victims) and Trent Casey (a young truther). The novel urges the reader to ask lots of questions: who is telling the truth? What does truth even mean anyway? How healthy is the internet in an age where everyone can create their own versions of events?
This is a must read for fans of ‘Girl A’ and ‘Three Hours’ by Rosamund Lipton. Indeed, fans of plot and character driven trillers will find a great deal of enjoyment in this book.
When a gunman massacres a group of children and their teacher at a small primary school, the life of one of the survivors will never be the same again.
Day One by Abigail Dean is a harrowing tale, set in a small town in the Lake District. The children of Stonesmere Primary School are performing when a gunman kills ten of them and their teacher. The vast majority of the story is told through the eyes of two young adults, Marty and Trent.
Marty is the daughter of the teacher who was killed. Her sporting prowess has made her a minor celebrity in the small community, however, her talent is beginning to fade. Poor exam results mean that she is unable to go to university and has ended up working at the primary school as a part-time sports coach. On the day of the shooting, she runs from the school, a survivor, having witnessed events. However, this isn't true and she makes no effort to correct people.
Trent has a grudge against the town. He lived there as a young boy for a while and never really fit in. When he hears about the shooting, and the identity of the shooter, he starts a website trying to convince the world that the whole event was fake.
While the novel brings to mind the events of Dunblane, almost thirty years ago, it's more recent school shootings in America that bring in the conspiracy theory story arc. In the UK we only see these events from afar, but Day One gives you an idea of the fervour and conviction of the individuals who peddle misinformation and it is frightening. You are filled with dismay at the thought of what families have to go through as they are hounded and harassed by "truthers", all while grieving.
As the story progresses from the day of the massacre, eight years ago, through to the current day you get a glimpse of the emotions the people involved have to deal with. Interspersed with these are snippets from others caught up in the tragedy. Alongside this, the true story of exactly what Marty was doing on the fateful day is slowly revealed.
Neither Marty nor Trent are likeable, but by the end, you do have some sympathy for them. It's the families that your compassion is saved for, as you read of the gut-wrenching moments they wait for news about their child. The harrowing moments when they learn that their child isn't going to run into their arms. The numbness of the aftermath. This is a story that is going to stay with me for quite a while.
Day One opens with the shock of a school shooting in the Lake District and unfolds through the eyes of a variety of characters, primarily Marty, the daughter of the teacher involved, and Trent, a loner who becomes obsessed with an internet conspiracy that the shooting never happened.
I loved this book despite it's very upsetting subject matter. The setting is almost a character in itself, the small town in a beautiful but claustrophobic place, full of people who have long standing and complicated relationships. The event and its aftermath feel very real, with clear echoes of Dunblane and Sandy Hook, but it never feels exploitative and the periodic retelling of the shooting from the viewpoint of those involved is sympathetic and genuinely upsetting. The storyline of the internet conspiracy is very well done and feels all too close to what we see online today, led by an absolute charlatan who seems far too familiar. Both the main characters have very believable back stories and actions and both manage to be flawed and sympathetic. A real twisty story with so much more depth than we usually see - I'm already looking forward to Abigail Dean's next book.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the copy in return for an honest review.
#Day One #NetGalley
"These days, in Stonesmere, there was always somebody a little sadder than you"
In picture postcard Stonesmere, Lake District its tradition for the older children leaving primary education to welcome those about to start their first year with a Day One presentation. For years much loved Teacher Ava Ward has guided her nervous pupils through their moment on stage and calmed their last minute nerves. But this year their moment in the spotlight turns to tragedy as a lone gunman enters the hall.
A heartbreaking read that starts with a bang but quickly becomes a multi-faceted, compelling look at the community, the people and their lives, the events that led up to that fateful day and the aftermath, when fingers were being pointed, questions were being asked and the media and conspiracy theorists besieged the local population.
Moving backward and forward in time and told from different perspectives I didn't find this the easiest book to get into and several chapters in totally confused I went back to the beginning and started again paying careful attention to the chapter headings this time which certainly helped.
I loved this book, the scene setting, the characterisation and the way the author slowly brought it all together. I wanted to knock a star off for my initial confusion but I can't, this novel moved me to tears and broke my heart. It was gut wrenching, bleak and extraordinarily powerful - my standout book of the year so far.
My thanks to HarperCollins UK and NetGalley for the advance review copy, I was under no obligation and all opinions expressed are my own.
Amazing book. Very well written. I was hooked and stayed up late so I could finish it. Really reccomend.
It's taken a while for me to recover from reading this book. Having read Girl A, I knew I would also want to read this , so I didn't read the synopsis first. This probably increased the impact as the plot unfolded.
I can still remember where I was,sitting in a car pregnant, and with my two children strapped in as reports of the Dunblane shooting. There are obvious echoes in this book.
It makes for grim reading and couldn't be described as enjoyable but it was compelling. There was a real sense of place and I felt that I had walked into the setting.
Thanks to Netgalley.
Switching between various timepoints from before to Day one and beyond and told from multiple viewpoints this is a heart-wrenching tale of loss mired by the insistence of a group of deniers that the tragedy every took place and that the information reported in the news is all falsified.
Stuffed full of well rounded characters this is a real page turner.
Day One is a chilling, compelling very well written page turner of a book. Had I not known of the conspiracy theorists following the Sandy Hook outrage then I would have considered the 'Truthers' to be very far fetched indeed, but of course, as we know there's nothing quite like the human psyche, but even so...sickening!
My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my early copy, I will now make it my business to look for Dean's previous works.
A heartbreakingly great story that keeps you shrouded in mystery just trying to understand one main question.... Why?
Thoroughly enjoyed this and could not put it down!
A primary school in a beautiful Lake District town. A gunman walks into the middle of a school play and guns down staff and pupils.
Marty's mother is one of the teacher's murdered. Was arty there, what did she see, what does she know?
Conspiracy theorists involve themselves. Who is speaking the truth?
A fabulous book that has you gripped from the very first page (not said lightly!). A compelling plot that shocks in the first instance, and then each chapter unfurls a new perspective; a new interpretation of the events that occurred, narrated by the different key witnesses and characters involved. I particularly enjoyed the way that Abigail Dean relays the story from the build up to the actual event, to the day itself, the immediate days after and finishes with an update eight years later. Abigail Dean has the brilliance of an author who can ensure that each voice is individual, and does not merge or get lost with others.
One review mentions that the story is quite slow, but I personally consider that the pace is perfect as it draws you in, and engages and although you want to know exactly who did what, who saw what, who impacted the events and why....; you also take a personal interest in every single person involved.
Highly recommend and "Day One" would be a great Book Club suggestion.
This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I will definitely be looking out for more of her work.
It handled a sensitive topic well and I enjoyed how the true events of the day were slowly revealed. I thought I might get confused with the timeline jumping back and forth but it was easy to follow and I found it an interesting and different way of story telling.
I really enjoyed Girl A by Abigail Dean and was looking forward to this new book of hers.
This was a page turning thriller that literally kept me up late at night reading.
The book starts the day of a shooting at a school. The book flicks between Marty - who's Mum is a teacher in the school and Trent who is a reporter and used to live in Stonesmere where the incident happens.
We begin to build up a picture of why Marty is lying about being in the hall at the school when the shooting takes place.
The book is full of lies, secret and conspiracy which I found addictive.
4.5 starts. - Rounded up for net galley scoring
I will definitely be looking for more from this author in the future and recommending this book to other's,
The follow up to a debut that was so lauded must be daunting. However, this writer not only equalled the debut but surpassed it with this. It’s absolutely enthralling and I have enjoyed every page. A real talent.
I liked Girl A, but to be honest I felt it was overhyped. I LOVE Day One! An alternative take on a school shooting and the aftermath in a world of social media and conspiracy theorists, it’s well written and if you can handle POV and timeline changes, so well paced. Perfect for fans of Nineteen Minutes and Three Hours.
This was an excellent read. It's gritty and upsetting but it's the personalities of the characters and the intertwining roles that will keep you reading. I enjoyed the back and forth between timelines to get different perspectives and I think one of the main strengths is the characterisation. Everyone is fully rounded and believable - even when you don't agree with their actions, you can see how they came to be who they are. The relationships are fascinating and I looked forward to reading it every evening, despite its difficult subject. Definitely a must-read.