The Golden Day
By Ursula Dubosarsky
(Candlewick, Hardcover, 9780763663995, 160pp.)
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
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When their teacher goes missing during an outing, eleven girls grapple with the aftermath in this haunting, exquisitely told psychological mystery.
The Vietnam War rages overseas, but back at home, in a year that begins with the hanging of one man and ends with the drowning of another, eleven schoolgirls embrace their own chilling history when their teacher abruptly goes missing on a field trip. Who was the mysterious poet they had met in the Garden? What actually happened in the seaside cave that day? And most important — who can they tell about it? In beautifully shimmering prose, Ursula Dubosarsky reveals how a single shared experience can alter the course of young lives forever. Part gripping thriller, part ethereal tale of innocence lost, The Golden Day is a poignant study of fear and friendship, and of what it takes to come of age with courage.
Ursula Dubosarsky is an award-winning author of numerous books for children and young adults. About The Golden Day, her first book with Candlewick Press, she says, "The little girls watch, wonder, respond, change, and grow — and then their childhood is gone, forever. This element of the story, I suppose, is at least partly autobiographical. But, as I say — all of our teachers come home safe and sound in the end." Ursula Dubosarsky lives in Australia.
In a stunning feat of perspective, Dubosarsky inhabits all 11 girls at once, snaking through a thousand small joys and triumphs and fears and petty grudges as they absorb life’s bleakest truths as well their own complicity in them... [T]his is a masterful look at children’s numb surprise to the most unsavory of adult developments.
—Booklist (starred review)
Laced with humor amid a steady feeling of dread, the atmospheric narrative chillingly evokes lurking forces capable of tarnishing even the most golden and innocent of days.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Chilling, elegant, atmospheric... Ms. Dubosarsky deftly conveys the confusion of childhood, the strangeness of things half-glimpsed and only partly understood. With quiet brilliance she evokes the distinct personalities of the classmates... "The Golden Day" is the sort of book that churns something up deep inside the reader; it will be as hard for an adult to forget as the young people ages 12 and older for whom it is intended.
—The Wall Street Journal
Dubosarsky’s spare prose explores the space between innocence and adulthood. Shaped by the girls’ growing awareness of the world, her scenes are uneasy dreamscapes. Questions about responsibility, violence, sex, fear and death bloom beneath their placed surface. Unanswerable, they linger past the end of this slender but powerful volume.
—The New York Times