by Jan Gangsei
Published on January 12, 2016
Source: Thanks to the author for sending me a copy for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: Eight years ago, Addie Webster was the victim of the most notorious kidnapping case of the decade. Addie vanished—and her high-profile parents were forced to move on. Mark Webster is now president of the United States, fighting to keep the oval office after a tumultuous first term. Then, the unthinkable happens: the president’s daughter resurfaces. Addie is brought back into her family’s fold, but who is this sixteen-year-old girl with a quiet, burning intelligence now living in the White House? There are those in the president’s political circle who find her timely return suspicious. When the NSA approaches Darrow Fergusson, Addie’s childhood best friend and the son of the president’s chief of staff, he doesn't know what to think. How could this slip of a girl be a threat to national security? But at the risk of having his own secrets exposed by the powerful government agency, Darrow agrees to spy on Addie. It soon becomes apparent that Addie is much more than the traumatized victim of a sick political fringe group. Addie has come with a mission.My take: I really enjoyed Zero Day. I've seen it compared by other reviewers to Scandal, which I understand, because both the show and the book have a Washington D.C. setting and characters that include a President and his family. But I'd say that Zero Day is more similar to the first couple seasons of Homeland -- but a gender-swapped Homeland, so returned kidnapping victim Addie Webster is the Nicholas Brody character, with Addie's former best friend Darrow filling the Claire Danes role.
Zero Day's premise is simple yet intriguing. A prominent politician's daughter is kidnapped but never found. Eight years later, Addie is retuned to her parents, now the President and First Lady. So the first question I had was: is this really Addie? (As a veteran thriller reader, I I've learned to question everything and everyone.) If the girl isn't Addie, what is she up to? And if the girl is Addie, what is she up to? Darrow knew the old Addie better than anyone, so even if I wasn't sure what Addie's deal was, I was counting on him to figure it out.
Zero Day is told from several close-third person POV's: mainly Addie's and Darrow's, but a few others as well. While I'm a multi-person POV isn't always my favorite, this works well in thrillers because is creates and intensifies suspense. Because Addie is a possibly unreliable narrator, this narrative style preserves the mystery as to whether Addie is a victim, a villain, or something in-between. But another result of this narrative choice is that Zero Day reads more like a plot-driven book than a character-driven one. This also isn't a book with much romance, but the pace of a thriller doesn't often allow time for that.
I had a (completely outlandish) theory of Addie and her return that did not turn out to be accurate. But I thought that the resolution of the story was fittingly dramatic and that nearly every loose end was nicely tied up. (To me, it seemed like Zero Day might be one of those "possible series" books, as one loose end remains enticingly dangly...)
I had a lot of fun reading Zero Day and recommend this book to YA readers who are fans of Scandal, Homeland, and The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter.