Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Readings ... Zero Day by Jan Gangsei

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Just Finished Readings ... Zero Day by Jan Gangsei

Zero Day
by Jan Gangsei

Published on January 12, 2016
by Disney-Hyperion

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.

19 comments:

  1. I read a review yesterday that mentioned Scandal, but I'm still undecided. I mean, Scandal is one of my favorite shows, but it's hard for me to picture a YA sort of version. I may give this a go one day soon. Great review!

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    1. I've only watched the first couple seasons of Scandal, but beyond the setting and political themes, I don't see a huge parallel. But hope you try it!

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  2. Sounds really good. Great review. Adding it to my list. :)

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  3. This sounds like a great mystery/thriller! I'm always looking for more of these :D

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    1. It worked really well for me. Glad to find another thriller fan :)

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  4. I haven't heard much about this book, but this year I'm decided to read more thrillers, so I'm sure I'll be reading this one soon.
    Great review, Jen.

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    1. Yay - I'll have to do a post of some of my favorites!

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  5. I'm not much of a mystery reader, but this one sounds oh so intriguing. Still, I'm not sure if it's something I'd like, since you said it is more plot-driven than character-driven. Thanks for the great review!

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    1. To me, most thrillers are plot-driven. I sort of feel like mysteries have a little more breathing room to explore character because the crime has already been committed, while in a thriller, something terrible is about to happen and it must be stopped.

      I do think there are more character driven thrillers, where an everyman (or woman) is the main character, but because Addie is such an enigma, she doesn't really fall in that category to me...

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  6. I'm kiiind of curious because I like thrillers and that cover is awesome. XD But American politics are basically lost to me, heheh. And I haven't read/seen any of the comparative things there. Gah. So, probably not the best book for me but I LOVE unreliable narrators so that has got me intrigued!!

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    1. It doesn't really delve deeply into the arcane stuff about American politics at all.There's an international flair to the political stuff, too. Really, you'd be fine!

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  7. This sounds like exactly my kind of book. I'm dying to know the ending now!

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    1. Well, you know I'll tell you if you want. But just read it and then we can discuss!

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  8. oh this sounds good. I have to admit never seen scandal or homeland but hear lots of good things about them. I do think however, I will read this book. It sounds amazing. Sorry your theory was correct. Mine hardly ever are. :)

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  9. Oh wow, this sounds so utterly intriguing! And it's great that most of the loose-ends were tied up nicely.

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  10. I want this books so badly that I'm willing to go on a special trip to the bookstore just to pick it up. I requested it on NG many moons ago, but I never did get any response. Oh what is this life?!

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  11. this sounds like an intriguing read especially with a heroine whose place you're not exactly sure.. since I'm also not a fan of romance on books that should better focus on mysteries (or other things), it makes me really want to read this!

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  12. I watch Homeland - I think it's an extremely good series that deals with relevant issues without holding anything back. I'm not sure how much I would enjoy a book in the same vein though... But I am curious about this one.

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