Deadly First Day: Book Review

Who knew that the first day at a new school could be deadly?


Title: Deadly First Day
Series: Embassy Academy : Book 1
Author: Emily Kazmierski
ISBN: 9781760401085          Language: English

Classification: Fiction
Type: YA academy
Themes: future, cause and effect, human impact

What's it about?
Embassy Academy, the elite private boarding school I’m being shipped off to wasn’t made for girls like me. Girls who are timid wallflowers.
It was made for bold, outspoken, cultured kids of the political elite. Rich. Privileged. Condescending.
Except for Ricardo, who looks at me like I'm a new flavor of ice cream he'd like to try, despite my cute bodyguard's disapproving stare. If only bratty girls and cute boys were my biggest problem.
When the academy's resident mean girl is killed on my very first day, their shimmering oasis becomes a pool of blood. The whispering gets louder. Quick glances become hard stares.
They’re looking for someone to blame. They’re looking at me.
Embrace
  • A contemporary setting that touches on familiar political opinions and events 
  • A diverse cast of characters
Beware
  • American-centric in terms of politics
  • Switches in POV are irregular

My Thoughts
This is a 2019 release from Emily Kazmierski who is a new author for me. Academy books are hugely popular at the moment and this one definitely grabbed my attention because unlike a large majority that features magical beings, this was about a girl who liked to cook.

Adrienne is the primary storyteller and she is likable. She gets thrown into a new type of world when she goes to live with her father and stepmother. I liked that for the most part the step-siblings weren't at each other and being totally horrible - it's nice to see that going in a different direction.

But, while I am on about storytellers, I'm not convinced that the switches in POV were needed. For instance, the first chapter is told from the POV of Na, who is promptly murdered. Then we get trust back into the past (but told in present tense) to see what led up to it. I get that the author wanted to provide the scene and perhaps have the reader sympathise with the victim, but honestly, I didn't care. I feel the story would have been stronger if Adrienne had led the book with chapter 2 and then have Na killed. This is because the author managed to show Na's two sides really well as the story progressed. Perhaps it's just a technique I don't like though as you might recall I had similar issues with The Raven's Wing where the character is kidnapped in chapter 1 and I promptly forgot about it until it happened much later in the book. Additionally, there is a chapter from Charlotte's POV and again, the story could have carried itself without it.

"Ah diplomacy. The art of kissing the butts
of other people so they don't start
a nuclear war." Ricardo, Deadly First Day

Ricardo was a standout character - I admit it, I liked him from the beginning and he got all the good lines. He also provided a much-needed balance while the murder mystery/investigation we on.

As mentioned above this is very American-centric in terms that it included the processes and roles in politics that would be more familiar with those living in the United States of America than say Canada, Australia, etc. A few may get lost in this but the author does a good job of painting the picture.

The murder mystery itself was interesting but I did find some of the side storylines a little more engaging, but overall I would say it's a smart book in terms that it doesn't treat teens like they're clueless.

Stay tuned for book 2 in the series to be released soon.

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Special thanks to Emily for the ARC


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