Hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend. I’ve been visiting friends and family at home this weekend which has been lovely. The only downside being I have fallen behind on all of my reading and also not had a chance to write up this review for a book I finished at the tail end of last week (whoops). I don’t have anything planned for the rest of the day today, so hopefully I can spend some decent time catching up.
This is another one of those books that I got as an ARC 100 years ago and just never got around to reading. However it was a book that I did really want to read. So I purchased it for myself and read it now. So for the original ARC; thank you @penguinrandomhouse for The First Day of Spring by @nancycntucker in return for an honest review. The First Day of Spring was published on 17th February 2022 and you can get a copy here.
Chrissie is eight years old and she has a secret: she has just killed a boy. The feeling of it made her belly fizz like soda pop. Across her neighborhood, Chrissie’s playmates and their parents are tearful and terrified. But Chrissie rules the roost – she’s the best at wall-walking, she knows how to get free candy, and now she has a secret, thrilling power she doesn’t get to experience much 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 now, she cares deeply for her own young daughter, which is why she’s so terrified when it appears that people are looking for them. The past is coming to catch up with Chrissie and she fears losing her child, the only thing she cares about.
General Thoughts 🤔
Well it’s an understatement to say that this book took me by complete surprise. The cover and title of the book made me think that I was in for a reasonably easy going read but dramatic at the same time. What I ended up getting into was a very tense book that was emotionally draining and had me holding my breath through the majority of it.
One thing in particular that I enjoyed about this book was that despite the dark subject matter and the insanity of the situation, there was still humour. Young Chrissie was unknowingly, a comedy genius.
Young Chrissie was the character that broke my heart the most. She had so much personality and so much sass that if she had had caring and loving parents, she could have had an amazing childhood and I’m sure she would have been fantastic in school. Instead, Chrissie wasn’t supported at home, wasn’t loved and wasn’t cared for so her sassiness manifested in some negative behaviours. That said, she was hilarious and her snappy one liners did have me howling.
Older Chrissie carried all of the scars from her childhood and severely lacked self confidence. I spent a lot of time wishing I could tell her that she was a fantastic mother and that she was doing a good job. I suspect that it wouldn’t have made much difference though and that Chrissie would unfortunately spend her entire life doubting herself and looking over her shoulder.
Writing Style ✍️
This book was dark and there were moments that definitely had me shocked but it was clear to me that the author didn’t write this purely for shock value. I liked this as some books with dark content do feel that way and the message can get lost. In contrast, I think Nancy Tucker was brutally honest in her writing and I got that impression from the way she entwined standard everyday events with the horrendous ones in such a simple way. For me, this was reflective of real life. Not everything is 100% doom and gloom 100% of the time and this came through in the writing.
I loved that this book was split between young Chrissie and older Chrissie and I was able to see how what had happened in her childhood was impacting her adult life chapter by chapter. Ending the story from the perspective of Chrissie’s daughter was a lovely finishing touch.
Conclusion & Scoring 🎖
I loved this book. It was brutally honest and scarily dark but written beautifully. Every chapter had me more gripped and I was hooked on following these characters through their heartbreakingly devastating lives. A fantastic psychological drama that I am kicking myself for shelving for so long. I wholeheartedly recommend this one.