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Publisher's Summary

"Tense, addictive and powered by an unforgettable narrative voice." (Paula Hawkins)

"Gripping.... The voices of Chrissie and Julia reside deep in your skull: visceral and wicked, sad and wonderful, all at the same time." (The New York Times)

"Fans of Lisa Jewell and smart psychological suspense will eagerly await Tucker’s next." (Publishers Weekly)

"So that was all it took," I thought. "That was all it took for me to feel like I had all the power in the world. One morning, one moment, one yellow-haired boy. It wasn't so much after all."

Meet Chrissie....

Chrissie is eight and she has a secret: she has just killed a boy. The feeling made her belly fizz like soda pop. Her playmates are tearful and their mothers are terrified, keeping them locked indoors. But Chrissie rules the roost - she's the best at wall-walking, she knows how to get free candy, and now she has a feeling of power that she never gets 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, all she wants is for her daughter to have the childhood she herself was denied. That’s why the threatening phone calls are so terrifying. People are looking for them, the past is catching up, and Chrissie fears losing the only thing in this world she cares about, her child. 

Nancy Tucker leaves the listener breathless as she inhabits her protagonist with a shocking authenticity that moves the reader from sympathy to humor to horror to heartbreak and back again.

©2021 Nancy Tucker (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Gripping, unsettling debut novel.... Chrissie’s observations are immaculate, loyal to her age and her desperation.... By the end of the novel, the voices of Chrissie and Julia reside deep in your skull: visceral and wicked, sad and wonderful, all at the same time.” (The New York Times Book Review

"A stunning debut.... Suspenseful? You bet. Heart-rending? From beginning to end." (The Washington Post

“Too original to be missed.” (PopSugar) 

What listeners say about The First Day of Spring

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Heart Wrenching

For my entire adult life I’ve believed that the saddest book I ever read was The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. As of today, the saddest book that I didn’t quite complete was this book, The First Day of Spring. I have generally been a fan of some very dark murder mysteries. In terms of film, I’ve always been drawn to very stark and real dramas. I had to stop reading this book with about three hours left because I could not take any more sadness, any more reality. While this book is incredibly well-crafted and honest, you need to be prepared for one of the most tragic stories ever written. If that’s what you’re into or if that something you challenge yourself with, then you will love this book. I for one had to return it because I could not hear one more memory of cruelty or one more painful event happening in the present. Buyer beware!

6 people found this helpful

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Excellent!

This book reinforces the adage that "hurt people hurt people," which should make it unbearable to read but it was so well done that it doesn't. The book gradually spools out more and more details of Chrissie's/Julia's life and we begin to see why Chrissie/Julia acts the way she does (all bolstered by the author's degree in psychology from Oxford). It is such a fascinating, engrossing book - even funny and hopeful - and amazing that it's the author's first fiction novel. I didn't want to put it down but I also really didn't want it to end.

If you're sensitive to child abuse and neglect content, this might not be the book for you, but I will say that none of it is gratuitous and it all fits into the overall novel.

Narration was excellent.

4 people found this helpful

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Immensely moving

This book brought out so many emotions. To realize children can and do live like this is unbearable. There were humorous tidbits but the story was so dark I felt bad snickering at them because of the dark and sad tale lying underneath. I had a little trouble at the beginning keeping up with the characters. I don’t know if I just wasn’t listening well enough or what, but it took me a little while to get into the story. Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about this book. That may sound crazy, but it’s a book that I will be thinking about for quite a while.

3 people found this helpful

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Neglect and hunger

I rarely write reviews this one deserves it. It is an unflinching look at severe neglect. Some people just shouldn’t have children. Neglect is child abuse, this book examines the psychological damage and it’s affects on so many. A pebble thrown into the lake, watch the ripples.
Beautifully written, characters that you will take with you. The narrator was spot on. Listened twice. Cannot wait for the next one by Tucker.

2 people found this helpful

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The Characters Will Stay With Me

Much of the time I listen to a novel, enjoy it, and then it's gone from my mind and memory. The characters we come to know in this novel are unforgettable.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent Narration, Phenomenal Story

The story is part mystery, part coming of age, part mea culpa. The narration elevates it further. Best book I’ve listened to in quite some time.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Story

I enjoyed this book despite the heaviness of the story. It was well written and the narrator was great. I will definitely be listening to this one again.

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Wow

So beautifully written and even though there were wretchedly difficult parts to listen to, it was done so well and the narration was exquisite! This is a must listen!

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One of the Best Books I've Gotten

This is a first for me. If you enjoy Audible as much as I do you know that feeling you get when you start a book and know it's going to be amazing but this is the first time I've ever held off from finishing a book because I don't want it to be over. I'm saving it as I don't want to do anything but sit and listen. Still have the last hour left but don't need to finish to write this review. The story could end any way at all and I would still list this as one of my favorite books. Though the story is gripping and kept me glued to what came next it was the writing that had me totally mesmerized. I wonder, when I see talent like this, if the words just pour out of the author or if, as I suspect in this case, every sentence, every phrase, every nuance took hours to craft to reach this level of perfection. It is all just so beautiful. As this is Ms Tucker's first fiction novel I'm forced to impatiently wait for her next. After enjoying this I need to have my next book be something great and I went so far as to search out the most glowing reviews of The First Day of Spring from other subscribers in hopes someone would liken her style to another's. I found none and have prepared myself to be disappointed in my next selection. As the reader, Kristen Atherton is an incredible actress. She gave the perfect voice to every character. Generally I find it a bit off putting to hear an adult voice a child but that is where she shown the brightest. The voice of Chrissie was without a doubt one of the best I've heard for any aged character. In my review of The Summer That Melted Everything I wrote that I hoped the author would see my review to know how much I loved her first book of fiction. Ms Tucker, if you are reading this, please get back to your writing.

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Heartbreaking, but deeply perceptive

I don’t think Jewel is quite up to Faulkner, but the childhood anguish of the protagonist made this the hardest book to get through since AS I Lay Dying. The stunningly insightful description of a child’s inner life makes the painfulness worthwhile. I so hope the insights arose from the author’s psychological discernment and not from personal experience. The experiences were too, too harrowing.