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The Golden Day

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,013 ratings  ·  250 reviews
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
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Candlewick Press (first published March 23rd 2011)
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Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,013 ratings  ·  250 reviews

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Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ambiguity can be incredibly creepy.

And it’s this absence of firm answers, the subtle power of suggestion, that makes The Golden Day such an unsettling, evocative read.

This slim novel succeeds as a sort of urban rendering of Picnic At Hanging Rock (let’s all just forget about Chapter 18, okay? It’s better this way, trust me), if mostly due to Dubosarksy’s elegant and assured writing.

Opening in Sydney in 1967, The Golden Day is about eleven schoolgirls and their teacher who go to the Gardens to

Just... incredible.

There is so much that will stick with the readers, and this should be read with the coming-of-age Greats like "to kill a mockingbird", "the catcher in the rye", "a separate peace", S.E. Hinton's "the outsiders", "the virgin suicides", "never let me go" by ishiguro, and "a tree grows in Brooklyn." each of these books bring something unique to all our experiences with youth, and they all deserve to be read in one's lifetime.

"The Golden Day" could be placed on any shelf and be
Diane S ☔
Jan 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-exploration
This novel takes place in 1967, in Australia where eleven girls and their teacher and a man named Morgan take an impromptu field trip to a cave to see paintings supposedly done by the aborigines. Their girls come back, their teacher disappears. This book and its haunting tone drew me in, the eleven young girls would lose their young innocence that day. The tragedy of these events would color there lives in different ways.

Cubby is an inquisitive young girl, very impressionable and able to see
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Where there are far more questions than answers, including my curiosity about why this is YA and not middle grade?

Eleven girls went to the park with their teacher, but eleven girls came back from the park, without their teacher. So what happened to Miss Renshaw? Did Morgan, who was avoiding the war and lived in the park and with whom Miss Renshaw was wildly smitten, kill her? Or did they run off together into the vast lands of Australia? Why do the girls share collective silence over what they
Penni Russon
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Read this at 3am in a fever with a sick baby in my arms, which may be the perfect conditions for steeping in this strange haunting tale. I love Dubosarsky's Sydney, the way that looking at the city from the water gives you a different perspective, as though you are momentarily stepping outside of time and space. I found Cubby extremely identifiable. To me this novel is about the things that happen to you as a child that you never quite believe in, and how you take the child that you were (and ...more
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Vietnam War rages overseas, but within the confines of a girl’s school in Sydney, a classroom of eleven girls are listening as their teacher, Miss Renshaw talks to them of death and hanging, injustice and the need to be open-minded.

The eleven little girls, in their matching ginghams and straw hats, take Miss Renshaw’s words very seriously. And when Miss Renshaw asks them not to tell their parents or other teachers about Morgan, the little girls are determined to keep their teacher’s secret;
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked it but didn’t love it. I liked the story of the girls and was wondering the whole time what may have happened. I liked that it was set in Australia. Quick read.
Sean Kennedy
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book clearly rides on the coat-tails of Joan Lindsay's Picnic at Hanging Rock. It would be hard not to notice the similarities - a group of schoolgirls go out with their teacher one day... and not every one will return.

However, it is really only similar in theme - the loss of innocence, the nature of mystery and the mystery of nature. When the resolution comes it is almost a dream - the reader can accept it or reject it.

A dark little fairytale.
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What make me picked this book is the blurb. It sold me right away! I know I have to read it! And I am glad I read it!!
First, I didn’t know that it is set in Australia. It was a nice surprise because I lived in NSW for a little over 2 years, and this book make me miss Australia even more :)

Anyway, The Golden Day is a story about school girls and their teacher, who went into excursion, only to find out that the teacher is missing. It’s a pretty short read, but packed with goodness.
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful evocative book. Very poetic. and one with so much potential for analysis as a coming of age novel.
The audiobook was only disappointing in that the narrator didn't sound at all Australian, not even upper class Australian.
Michael Fitzgerald
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book creates an evocative mood of isolation, both in its setting and through what we glean of its characters and partially-revealed story, that contributes to its sense of mystery.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
I find this book boring from start to finish. Can’t say it was badly written or anything, but just an intriguing premise that didn’t deliver anything...
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a lot to love about this book. Eleven girls and their teacher begin regularly meeting the enigmatic poet Morgan in the gardens. They talk about life, death, poetry, and the world around them. When their teacher fails to come back from one of their walks with Morgan the girls find themselves sinking deeper into a mystery while trying to understand the times they live in.

Dubosarsky creates a dark mood that can only be compared to something like Picnic at Hanging Rock. The tone throughout
A strange story. The premise was interesting but I often found the book unsatisfying.

Characters were vague and undeveloped. The first few weeks after the teacher's disappearance made up most of the book, though nothing, neither plot nor characters, nor mentioned subplots, nor even the investigation into what happened to the teacher, seemed well-developed.

Then, suddenly it is 8 years later, the girls are finishing school (coincidentally writing an exam on Remembrance Day). I was dissatisfied
Ms Tlaskal
Having taught at SCEGGS for 5 years and even using the classroom 'at the top of the tower' where the 11 little girls do their lessons, and having loved 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' this novel was a treat. Very dark despite the seaside school setting it is about this class of girls who lose their teacher on an impromptu excursion. Their teacher took them to the Botanic Gardens to 'write poems'; which makes me think how many forms are required for us to take students out anywhere these days. yet ...more
Beth The Vampire
I had to read this book for my Masters course. An interesting little tale with childlike innocence and wonder that was really well captured. The story was interesting....although the ending was a tad confusing. Was there a paranormal element in there, because if so this didn't seem to flow like the rest of the book. Some really nice imagery and similes. Wondering who this book would be targeted towards. It is classified as 'young adult' but while the language is simple some of the themes are ...more
Kate Forsyth
A slight yet exquisitely rendered book about the mysterious disappearance of a girls’ school teacher, and the ripples of unease that spread out across the lives of her young students. Beautifully written, with some striking metaphors and images, the book is haunting in its strangeness.
Rhonda Gilmour
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
My book club picked this short novel for our December read. What a delightfully weird tale! I'm not sure how to classify it. Set in an Australian girls' boarding school during the Vietnam War era, we see through the eyes of our ten-or-so-year-old protagonist. Their beloved teacher, a hippie-esque free spirit, takes them on a trip to a local park where the teacher's beau, a groundskeeper and poet, promises to show them ancient petroglyphs from the dream time. They all follow him to a mysterious ...more
This was such a strange book, I'm not even sure how to rate it. I didn't dislike it, but I finished it a month ago and already couldn't remember the name of the book or the author. I had to google different combinations of key elements.

However, I didn't dislike this. The writing was vivid and dreamy, something I love, but even I found it a bit purple at times. Still, it was atmospheric and lovely.

But something was just amiss for me. Maybe the slow pace, or the inertia of the characters. I was
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy "the book-bat"
2.5 stars

This one just didn't appeal to me very much. The mystery didn't seem to go anywhere, the characters didn't develop, not a fan of the ambiguous ending.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that make people question what YA really is. This isn't a story about teenagers. The protagonists are younger than that for most of the slim novel. But does it appeal to teenagers? I think so. THE GOLDEN DAY is a tale about the loss of the innocence, naivete, and ignorance of childhood.

Eleven schoolgirls go on an outing with their teacher one day, their strange teacher who is dissatisfied with the Vietnam War and passionate about poetry (and poets). They return to
Jan 22, 2015 rated it liked it
A very slender little volume about little girls keeping a big grown up secret after their teacher disappears on an outing said teacher has expressly instructed them to keep as their little secret. Eventually the beans get spilled, the teacher is never found, the girls grow older and are, not unexpectedly, changed by this experience. Told strictly from one girl's point of view, with a few conversation bits fleshing things out occasionally, I found this well enough written but somehow, despite ...more
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
The Golden Day by Ursula Dubosarsky is an easy to read YA novella set in a Sydney girls's school in 1960s.

Eleven girls and their teacher Miss Renshaw take an unplanned excursion outside the school grounds one sunny day, and their teacher strangely disappears.

With an eerie feeling like that in Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay, The Golden Day is eerie in a subtle way, although Australian author Dubosarsky doesn't attain the giddy heights of Joan Lindsay in her execution.

This novella is
After you read this book you should read 'Picnic from Hanging Rock' or view the movie of the same name. Both books and the movie are about a group of girls going off on an excursion with their teacher - however, not everyone makes it home.

This book in set in the sixties seventies in Sydney. Schools (and teachers) were very different then - students were not very different, however. They wanted to know about their teachers, they gossiped and talked a lot and they tried to get away with as much as
Leslie Zampetti
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s-books
Dubosarsky has written an odd little book about the disappearance of a teacher while on an outing with her students. Cubby and her friend, Icara, want to believe that Miss Renshaw will return, but they cannot. Icara, because her mother's death has made her a realist, and Cubby, because she has seen words appear on their classroom blackboard, words in Miss Renshaw's handwriting that indicate she will never return. (Words no one else sees. Has she imagined them?)

A twist at the end when the girls
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The first I've read by the author Ursula Dubosarsky, I found this book eloquent, tense and containing a wealth of speculation between the lines. The feeling of unresolved mystery definitely lives with you beyond closing the covers. Excellent for the younger end of the YA audience. The book deals with loss, expression of emotion and the separation of age groups.
The Australian setting is not overly laboured and the time frame although stated, is not quaint, and although it is used to describe the
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
What a fabulous story, which put me in mind of both Picnic at Hanging Rock (which is mentioned) and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. The back blurb is right – Dubosarsky does take the reader on a strange journey, but it’s one you’re willing to take. The writing is lyrical and poetic without being frilly, and it’s concisely expressed, with not a word wasted. It’s so hard to define because it contains so many different strands of thought, but they are all gathered up and laid down perfectly on the ...more
Evanston Public  Library
I thought this was an adult book, another review suggested that it is was for middle school. Told in the rich language of fairy tales, this brief story of a class of Australian schoolgirls who, in 1967, go on a little outing with their teacher and return without her, is full of dreamlike images and foreboding. The girls' reluctance to tell what they know increases the effect the disappearance has on them. The resolution just intensifies the mystery of what happened to Miss Renshaw.

(Nancy E.,
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When Miss Renshaw disappears from her class during a secret outing, her class is caught up in the mystery of the disappearance and the repercussions of their involvement. The era of the sixties is well evoked in the tone of the novel with the tensions between the conservatism of the earlier time in conflict with the liberalism of the new. The book has a similar dreamlike quality to it as in Picnic at Hanging Rock but I did not find myself as emotionally invested in this story or as satisfied at ...more
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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 ...more
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“Today, girls,' said Miss Renshaw, 'we shall go out into the beautiful Gardens and think about death.” 3 likes
“And we shall all be changed in the twinkling of an eye.” 1 likes
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