Eight years ago, Addie Webster was the victim of the most notorious kidnapping 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 administration who find her timely return suspicious.
When a national security advisor 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 the girl he’s missed for all these years be a threat to the United States? Still, at the risk of having his own secrets exposed, Darrow agrees to spy on Addie.
He soon realizes that his old friend is much more than the traumatized victim of a political fringe group. Addie has come with a mission…but will she choose to complete it?
Jan Gangsei grew up in small-town Vermont, reading Nancy Drew mysteries, putting on backyard shows with her best friend and dreaming about exploring the world. After college, she landed a job as a newspaper reporter covering politics and the police beat, and was astonished to discover she could actually get paid to write and tell stories. Since then, she's lived in Key West, New York City, DC and Barbados. She's now settled with her family back in Vermont, where she writes full time with a cup of hazelnut coffee in one hand and a rescue pup named Willie curled up next to her.
"It's a flaw in an operating system that isn't discovered until it's too late. And by the time it's found, you have ---"
"Zero days to fix it."
The Addie Webster kidnapping made headlines - Governor's eight-year-old daughter disappears without a trace! Now it's eight years later. Governor Webster has become President Webster, struggling during his second term, and dealing with a strange terrorist group. Then suddenly, Addie Webster is back, found shivering in a stall in highway truck stop.
Addie seems to be having trouble getting reacquainted with her family and her old lifestyle. Well, that's to be expected, isn't it? But why is she behaving so strangely? What exactly happened to her while she was gone? Is Addie an innocent victim or has she become a sinister undercover operative?
This was an odd choice for me; I'm not a big fan of young adult books, OR cyber thrillers. And yet, I found it to be an engrossing read that kept me turning the pages. In fact, the only thing that kept this from being a four-star read was the characters. Though the author went out of her way to give each of them a secret agenda, they come across as flat and lifeless. The teenagers, especially, seemed unrealistic. And, oh, that melodramatic dialogue!
There goes my crotchety old woman alarm! I'm probably being too harsh here. It's entirely possible that a younger reader will have no problems with this book whatsoever. Just know that whatever your age, you will need some suspension of disbelief. I've noticed other reviewers complaining about the plausibility of the storyline, particularly the aspects involving computer hacking. Normally, I would agree, although . . . after the events of 2016, I'm pretty much willing to believe just about anything.
Zero Day had a lot of layers that drew me in. I love watching crime and drama television shows and this book encompassed all that. Huge shows like Scandal have really sprung up a new found interest in political thrillers for me and after falling in love with The Fixer earlier this year, I just knew Zero Day would be another hit.
Addie is our focus of the story. In the beginning she is kidnapped at a young age just to escape many years later to return while her father is the president of the United States. Her timing is very suspicious so chapter after chapter we are faced with questions on just what happened to Addie during those years. What was the motivation? Whose side is she really on? All the things I look for in a thriller. I constantly was questioning every action and every person around her, right along with a few other characters who were equally concerned there was more to her return than she was letting on. Her old childhood friend, Darrow, was one of them. The point of view jumps around so we get to learn bits and pieces from all different directions, but Addie was definitely at the heart of the mystery. I found a very good balance with the story as it unraveled- some answers feeling easy enough to solve and others left me a bit surprised when all was revealed.
I must say I did have to suspend some disbelief on a few things. I feel like that can be quite common with thrillers of this nature. I won’t get too much into this because some of it may be a spoiler. I will say though that I felt the psychological aftermath from the kidnapping was there in some ways for Addie but I expected more. She was missing for YEARS and at times I felt like everyone was forgetting this fact.
On a whole, I found a quick and exciting read with an ending that satisfied yet left a lot unresolved, a perfect setup for a sequel that I hope is in the works! There is so much story left to unravel, so many characters I’d like to delve into further, relationships I’ve love to explore!
REVIEW: I read this in one sitting--so amazing! I requested this book for review when I read the blurb on NetGalley, but I was absolutely hooked from the very first chapter. This reminds me of John Grisham or Tom Clancy for teens. I love how the story allows readers to make realizations right along with Addie and Darrow. I also love how it was told with flashbacks so we could gain insight on what happened to Addie for eight years.
There is some romance, but the main focus of this story is what happened to Addie while she lived with her captors and how she adjusts (and does not adjust) to life back with her family.
As of this writing in October 2015, there is no sequel to Zero Day listed on Goodreads. But there are several loose plot threads and a cliffhanger ending, so it would be very disappointing if a sequel isn't planned.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Action-packed, suspenseful, and incredibly difficult to put down! An early 2016 favorite!
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I plan to get this--will be really easy to booktalk.
READALIKES:Alex Rider series (Horowitz); CHERUB series (Muchamore); Split Second (McKenzie)
Appeal to teens: 5/5
Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
Language: mild-moderate; 12 sh**, 2 f-bombs
Sexuality: mild; kissing
Violence: moderate; terrorism, murder, guns and shooting
Drugs/Alcohol: very mild; underage drinking in past; teen in drug rehab
Other: one of Darrow's friends is gay; photo of two girls kissing; teen suicide attempt
This is a fast-paced YA thriller which I read in no time. There are many thought-provoking layers in the plot : Stockholm syndrome,cyber espionage and security, civil rights , family bonds, living with guilt and coping with loss .The characters are appealing and well developed; Jan Gangsei makes it easy to understand them and their feelings .
I found the book too short , though. I wanted to know much more about the characters and their background . I wanted such a good plot to be developed further.
Last night I finished this book, and gave it 4 stars. Then I slept on it. Now I'm thinking it deserves no more than 3 stars. The plot of this book was interesting, and had me intrigued. However, a girl is missing for 8 years and everyone kinda treats her like she was away for a month. This story was supposed to be adventurous and exciting...yet there was a whole bunch of stupid drama and the romance was so stupid. The characters are flat and boring too.
It's a quick, fun read. Just not realistic in any way shape and/or form.
Ugh. I rarely give one star ratings. I can usually find something I like, but it didn't happen with this one. I tried. I actually liked the way this one started. It made me feel how much I've missed reading this genre. That feeling didn't last long though. It was replaced by excessive eye rolling. So much of this didn't work for me. The dialogue. The plot. The kidnapping. The hacking. The world building. The characters. The clueless-ness. This all created a giant plausibility problem. I didn't believe any of this.
ZERO DAY was an exciting, political mystery/thriller that had me guessing from beginning to end. Though there were times you have to suspend disbelief, the overall fast-pace and mystery make up for lack of plausibility. If you're looking for a fast, fun, and twisty read, I think you'll really enjoy this one.
I love the cover! I think it may have a more serious tone than the book actually does, but I love that it gives off the political vibe.
There's quite a bit of action! Kidnapping, terrorist plots, Secret Service evasions, cyber-hacking and murder abound.
The romance isn't front and center, but it is there. It's full of tension and distrust.
Is Addie a heroine? Or is she a villain? Just one of the many questions.
How can there be a hero when you can't trust anyone?
Favorite Supporting Character:
I really liked Addie's Secret Service guard, though her name is escaping me. She was pretty funny, though she probably should keep a better eye on her charge...
Something I loved:
I loved how nothing was black-and-white, and how I never quite knew what was going to happen. I also REALLY enjoyed the way Jan took us around D.C. and NOVA. I live in the area and it was so fun to read about characters going to a lot of my favorite spots! (SHAKE SHACK!)
Something(s) I hated:
I really didn't understand why some choices were made at the end, after revelations were made, but I can't really say anything without spoiling.
The story could be wrapped up, or it could continue. There's definitely some loose ends that aren't all tied in a bow at the end.
Would I recommend it?
Yes! I'd say this is a good in-between book, for those who need a break between "emotionally exhausting" reads, or for those who just like fun mysteries.
Will I buy/keep it/read the sequel:
I'm definitely keeping this one on my shelf, after my daughter finished reading it.
PRETENDING TO BE ERICA by Michelle Penchaud, DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE by Carrie Ryan, HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter
Language: Moderate (10+ S, 2 F) Sexuality: Mild kissing Violence: Moderate (murder, terrorist plots, suicide attempt - nothing graphic) Other notables: Some underage drinking and drug use mentioned.
I love a good scandal book where there is secrets, lies, and everything inbetween. Man I feel so privileged to have read this ARC. Once I started reading I could not stop reading it. It reminded me of so many TV shows I watch that I could not quite put my finger on which show it is.
In this story we meet Addie Webster who has been kidnapped as a child and held in some compound. Her parents who are high profile grieve for their daughter and continue to look for her for a while. As time goes on Addie's father becomes the President of The United States. Mark Webster has not had a good first term as the Republican's have one way and The Democrat's have another way. He is fighting like hell to keep the oval office position.
Then one day Addie shows up and everyone's world is turned upside down. Her return is very weird and at a bad time for her father as he is trying to get things in order and keep his Presidency. Not only does her family feel weary but her childhood best friend Darrow Fergusson is also weary of his best friends return. He is the son of the President's Chief and can't fathom what happened or what Addie went through.
Darrow has some skeleton's in his closet so when he is approached to spy on Addie he does. He knows he can't be exposed so he will do anything to keep his secrets a secret. Addie is considered a victim of a fringe political group but people around her are wondering is she is back as a mole with a mission to hurt them or is she back and ready to put her life behind her?
If she is back with a mission will she fulfill it or will she go rouge and run from the political group..........
Holy crow! I mainlined this fast-paced political thrill ride in a matter of hours! The storyline--lips are sealed because HOLY SPOILER, BATMAN--is beautifully executed and messed with my mind all the way to the end. Loved this.
I listened to this audio book, and it was actually quite enjoyable.
The reason for the 3 star rating is that at times the plot was ludicrous, silly even--in places, and the writing could be quite cliche'.
That said, the overall plot was original, and I enjoyed the characters. This is actually listed on Amazon as a YA book, which I didn't realize when I downloaded it from my local library. That said, about 1/3 of the book is told from an adult's pov. (There are quite a few points of view.)
Overall, if you're looking for an escape read, this could be it! Note: Very minor language
I loved this. I thought it was very suspenseful. I couldn't decide if I trusted Addie or not for much of the story. It is a book I would definitely recommend to my middle school students, boys and girls.
I enjoyed Zero Day - I think it was definitely a good thing that the politics were so minor, since I'm feeling very political these days!
What worked: characters - loved Adie and felt like the portrayal of her brainwashing was fairly well done. I liked the difficulty she had trusting her parents or believing in them. - I like the narration a lot
What could have worked better: - I think it required a lot of belief in situations I just can't see going through. President's daughter returned mysteriously and without any harm and there's only one person who doesn't trust that? - The school situation was weird. Quaker school? For political kids? Really? (maybe that's been real in the past, but wow it felt weird!) - Her mom spent years creating this program and Adie can change it in one night? If she's so good - why do they need her to steal it? Why can't she just write it too? And since when are so many people skilled hackers? Geez! - It's left open for a book 2 but for me this should have been a stand alone... I don't see wanting to keep going, even if I did enjoy it.
Thrilling, well-written, and suspenseful, Zero Game pulled me right into the drama and kept me guessing at every turn.
Ms. Gangsei gave me just enough tidbits of information that I could make some educated guesses, but not enough for the story to become in any way predictable.
Addie is likable and interesting -- I felt for her and sympathized with her and the ordeal she went through. I really liked Darrow, caring, brave, sensitive, loyal -- he is almost too good to be true, as far as teenage boys are concerned. Harper is a fun, loyal, and likable friend -- I'd like to see more of her. Christina, the secret service agent assigned to protect Addie, adds spunk, intelligence, ambition, and bravery to the mix.
I was hoping that Addie, Darrow, Harper, Christina, and maybe even Elinor and Mikey could team up to take down Cyberus (maybe in the sequel?).
It is interesting to have the story told from so many viewpoints -- almost like an action film that jumps from scene to scene: cut to the next day, cut across town, cut to the same scene, but focus in on a different character. Short scenes told from different perspectives add effectively to the dramatic effect and suspense.
I have many unanswered questions. I would have liked to know more about Elinor and what makes her tick. Why did Karl kidnap Addie if she is not his daughter? (Or didn't he know?) You'd think with all Karl's technical smarts, he could have done a DNA or even a blood test sometime during the 8 years he had her. What are Karl's real motives and plans? Why?
Zero Day is a gripping and exciting story that kept me on my toes and kept me guessing until the very last scene.
I received a copy of this book from Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Obviously, there’s been a bit of an absence on the blog. Blame the Louisiana bar exam for that. They don’t call it the fourth worse one in the country for nothing, ya’ll.
The good thing is the test is done, so my free time has improved for the time being. I’m sure that could change though. This review will probably be a quickie though for various reasons.
I read or should I say partially read Zero Day about six or seven weeks ago. I probably shouldn’t even be writing a review at this point since I forgot a lot of details about the book, but I do remember why I DNF’d it, and that for me justifies a little blurb of my thoughts of this book.
I’ll be honest, plot wise it kept me intrigued. But the characterization has been so horrible, that I could not stomach continue reading it.
It was really sad, because the plot was pretty interesting if a bit cliche and a little too over the top.
Full disclosure, I do like political thrillers and stories about kidnappings, so this really should have been up my ally. But there was really nothing unique about the set up and everyone felt so wooden that it failed.
I think had the book just been a political thriller, it would have been fine. While I do like my characterization, with politics you can’t expect a lot of emotion. Can’t say the same about kidnapping stories though.
With kidnapping stories, the emotions should be raw. You should be able to connect to the characters on a certain level. But here I could not feel for Addie or any of her friends and family, they just felt wooden.
So, so, wooden.
Who knows, maybe they improved as the book progressed. But this is one of those cases where I just didn’t bother finding out.
I'm a big fan of Homeland, especially the first couple seasons. I also love some good political thrillers (as hard as they are to find), and Zero Day may be the closest thing to a Homeland-style political thriller for the YA set I've seen in some time.
Addie was kidnapped from the home of her politician father eight years earlier, and it became one of the most well-known kidnappings in history. She then reappeared eight years later, just as her father was elected President of the United States. This raises a lot of suspicion within the intelligence community, and begins a tale of espionage and suspense that really kept me guessing.
This was an intense read. For someone familiar with the genre overall, I could complain about some of the things that were telegraphed, but it didn't hurt my enjoyment of the story at all. Addie is a believable character, as is her brother that was so caught up in the initial kidnapping. The balance between the operation of government and the family issues are also really well-represented as well as a positive for the age group.
I honestly just loved everything about this. Really one of the better recent YA books I've read, and I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing more like this in the future. Highly recommended.
This was just...okay. It's a quick read--or it SHOULD have been, but it didn't hold my attention so I found myself putting it down an awful lot. There's a lot of mystery and intrigue, but a lot of political stuff needs a lot more explanation to make sense. So many questions without answers. None of the characters are particularly developed, and some are downright unnecessary. I don't enjoy political thrillers all that much in the first place, and this one fell way short.
This book was full of interesting ideas that were never really fully developed. It left a lot of loose ends open - so much so I thought it was series, but according to the author it's a standalone "with potential for more." Which honestly just makes the lame cliffhanger even more frustrating. I think the book would have been better if it focused on less perspectives and cut out a couple of the extraneous storylines and just really focused in on Addie and Cerberus.
It was refreshing to read a genre that I don’t normally read! This was a political thriller about cyber terrorism and family secrets. I really enjoyed it! It was totally creepy at times, and really suspenseful! There were a few unnecessary cuss words but other than that, a clean and entertaining read!
Zero Day is a realistic fiction/thriller novel by Jan Gangsei. Overall I enjoyed the novel form its detailed sentences and character development, yet this book really lacked the thrill part with not much action. I still like it and would recommend to young adult readers.
It started out really good and I was very intrigued but then after some unbelievable twists, (even though I know it's YA) i kept thinking "really?!?" But I still liked the premise ...characters were not very strong
I am not a big thriller fan, but the premise alone drew me in. I was curious about Addie, what had happened to her, and who she was now. I also am a sucker for stories about the president’s kid and happen to adore a Secret Service romance every now and again. The problem is I have a hard time finding them [note: there is no Secret Service romance in this book] [note note: but that’s okay!] and finding one I enjoy.
So let’s talk about this book. I was hooked right away. The first 150 pages worked SO well for me. I loved all the multiple POVs and the plot threads. It was fast-paced and written in a very accessible way. I have a hard time with thrillers because a lot of times they feel very distant and have way too much set-up and angsty characters. Do not worry about any of that in Zero Day.
What didn’t work for me was the believability aspect of some moments–namely Addie’s hacking skills. The ease of it kind of made certain moments convenient instead of having the characters earn them. The book builds towards Darrow being approached by the NSA, something the blurb isn’t clear about, and then very quickly thisthisthisandthis happens to make it happen which robbed some of the emotional impact for me.
Addie is the heart of this story: what side she is on, what happened to her, who is she now. She was super active the first half of the book, something I loved. I need active characters who drive a story. So when Addie became relatively passive after learning something life-altering it bothered me. But I loved seeing her development, how she reconnected with her family slowly and saw how they had changed and also stayed the same. I loved seeing how everyone coped with her kidnapping differently and Addie realizing everyone was affected by what had happened.
Darrow is the second main character and I was happy to see a person of color represented. I felt like there was a lot of Darrow still to explore, but I don’t want to say too much.
Addie’s kidnapping, though. I need to talk about all the amazing ways *spoiler* psychologically messed with her mind. But I can’t because *spoilers.* So trust me, this was done so well.
On the whole I think Zero Day is a fun read and would definitely pick up book two. Give it a try if you’re not a huge fan of thrillers. The multiple POVs and relatively short chapters make it enjoyable. It’s always moving, always changing. Even seemingly throwaway characters (and moments) reappear and have meaning, which gives it depth.
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Zero Day is a unique YA political thriller with a hint of romance. It's certainly unlike anything I've read in the YA literature lately (I read a lot), and for that, I give it high praise. Jan Gangsei has managed to break some YA molds here, combining politics and romance, family drama and thriller, and twisting characters around to leave the reader honestly intrigued and a bit confused (more on that later).
Abbie Webster was kidnapped as a young girl. She vanished without a trace despite the efforts of the best law-enforcement had to offer. Now, nearly ten years later, Abbie has been found and happily returned to her very famous family: President Mark Webster and the First Lady of the United States. Almost immediately, Abbie's intentions come into question. Why is moving into the White House so easy for her? Shouldn't she be a victim? Shouldn't she be scared of her environment? Where are the scars, both physical and mental, from those years she spent in seclusion?
Zero Day is an interesting book. It is full of questions, surprises, and "whoa" moments. I was surprised by the twist toward the middle that explained Abbie's past and where she had been (don't want to get too spoilery here). Very clever. I also enjoyed Darrow. He was smart and likable. He also managed to stay away from that "one-dimensional" label that so many YA characters carry. He cared for Abbie, but wasn't blinded by her. He kept thinking, kept questioning.
One thing I might have liked to see would be a change in the POV writing style. I think the book would have been even more interesting from Abbie's POV. My one frustration was that I just couldn't get to know her. I'm sure this was intentional. Maybe part of the plot devise to keep us guessing what she was thinking, but it made me feel almost lost at times. I think the story would have benefited from Abbie's perspective and could have been just as thrilling knowing what her plans were throughout the novel.
Zero Day would appeal to many readers. It has a bit of everything. If you like mystery, politics, thrillers, romance, male/female main characters, family drama, go for it. At the very least, it's a unique book that isn't a carbon copy of every other book on the market right now.
Addie was kidnapped when she was eight years old. Eight years later, she shows up in a police department and insists that she is indeed Addie Webster, daughter of the current president of the United States. She is vetted via blood test and sent home to recover in the White House. But is Addie really back? And what happened to her during those eight years away?
This is a standard thriller except that it's targeted at teens. I read it in mostly one sitting, and even though I had figured out a lot of the twists beforehand, I still enjoyed the story. This would be an easy book to book talk and I could place it in the hands of even the most unwilling reader and convince them to just try it out. The fast pace of the story will keep many people turning pages, but stronger readers may be bothered by the cardboard-cutout characters, since the focus is on the action. Nonetheless, a good story that is already gracing the shelves of my library.
Recommended for: teens Red Flags: violence, minor language, teens spike their milkshakes with alcohol Overall Rating: 4/5 stars