Reader Reviewed The Golden Day by Ursula Dubosarsky

The Golden Day

Written by Ursula Dubosarsky

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

One of our Books of the Year 2014 Award-winning Ursula Dubosarsky’s enigmatic story is elegantly and briefly told. Gripping as the story unfolds it will also leave readers wondering, What really happened? Eleven impressionable girls in a small class at a select school are led by their teacher into the local park. They know little of the world beyond their own lives but the day is significant, so their teacher tells them, because, a man is to be hanged. With their sensibilities heightened by this information, the girls follow their teacher first into the local park where she meets a mysterious young man and then into the caves on the shore. The girls return but the teacher and the young man are never seen again. Sworn to keep the day a secret by their teacher, no one breathes a word of what has happened. And who knows what did? Reflecting on the nature of information and what is true will engage all readers after they have finished this story.

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert review, some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Poppy, age 17 - 'This book lived up to, and exceeded my expectations. Such a poignant read that takes both the characters ad the readers alike on a journey that is startling and heart wrenching.' Read full review >
  • Jake Fletcher, age 13 - ‘The Golden Day throws away the rules of writing a mystery novel, and produces something utterly brilliant in its place.  An interesting book for interesting people.' Read full review >
  • Amy Laws, age 13 - 'This book was extremely hard to put down, and was brimming with mystery and adventure.' Read full review >
  • Jessaymn Doore, age 16 - 'The Golden Day is a somewhat sinister short story with a ghostly theme.  It is about the loss of innocence and the ignorance of childhood.  It is best read at night!' Read full review >
  • Jade Brown, age 13 - 'This creepy book is very similar in traits to Joan Lindsay's ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’. A haunting tale that will leave the reader thinking of this story long after they have read this.' Read full review >
  • Khadijah - 'I liked this story for how it was written, and the creepy ambience Ursula Dubosarsky kept up throughout the entire story.' Read full review >
  • Janet Gilliard - 'I enjoyed this short novel and would recommend it to young adults.' Read full review >


The Golden Day by Ursula Dubosarsky

When their teacher goes missing during an outing, eleven girls grapple with the aftermath in this haunting, exquisitely told psychological thriller. The Vietnam War rages overseas but back 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 missing during a school outing. Who was the mysterious poet they had met in the garden? What actually happened in the seaside cave that day? And most important - who can they tell about it? In beautifully crafted prose that shimmers and fades, Ursula Dubosarsky reveals how a single shared experience can alter the course of young lives for ever.

Part gripping thriller, part ethereal tale of innocence lost, The Golden Day is a poignant study of fear and friendship, and of what it take to come of age with courage. It is an atmospheric and haunting feast by one of Australia's most celebrated authors. It is a surprising coming-of-age whodunnit that will have readers, along with the characters themselves, wondering what happened. An eerie and unsettling ending ensures that the reader will think about this novel long after the final page is turned.


In a stunning feat of perspective, Dubosarsky inhabits all 11 girls at once, snaking through a thousand small joys and triumphs and fears and petty grudges as they absorb life's bleakest truths as well as their own complicity in them... This is a masterful look at children's numb surprise to the most unsavoury of adult developments. Booklist (starred review) Laced with humor amid a steady feeling of dread, the atmospheric narrative chillingly evokes lurking forces capable of tarnishing even the most golden and innocent of days. Publishers Weekly (starred review) Chilling, elegant, atmospheric... Ms Dubosarsky deftly conveys the confusion of childhood, the strangeness of things half-glimpsed and only partly understood. With quiet brilliance she evokes the distinct personalities of the classmates... The Golden Day is the sort of book that churns comething up deep inside the reader; it will be as hard for an adult to forget as the young people ages 12 and older for whom it is intended. The Wall Street Journal Through precise, vivid descriptions, the third-person narrative evokes the contrast between the girls

... Read this slender mystery for the meticulous prose and characterization... Kirkus Reviews Part atmospheric thriller, part poignant coming-of-age novel, this was one that kept me up late. -- Fiona Noble Bookseller Children's Guide Rich in imagery, ... bridging the gap between children's and YA fiction ... would be enjoyed by anyone who likes to read quirky books with more than a hint of psychological thriller about them. Books for Keeps This succinct novel combines a love of poetry, an intriguing mystery, an exquisite study of group mentality and the dynamics of friendship. The Scotsman Atmospheric, chilling and haunting. The Irish Times An atmospheric tale about eleven school girls and their teacher Miss Renshaw. With echoes of the classic Picnic t Hanging Rock, the group's excursion to the botanical gardens throws up shock and scandal... Beautifully written by one of Australia's most talented authors, this is a story to be savoured and one to discuss. WRD magazine A gripping, beautifully written psychological tale The School Librarian This succinct novel combines a love of poetry, an intriguing mystery and an exquisite study of group mentality and the dynamics of friendship The Scotsman A beautifully crafted book with enigmatic imagery, deft characterisation and a writing style evocative of another era, the mystery at its heart making for compelling reading. The ambiguous ending does not disappoint in this quaint story. Children's Books Ireland Recommended Read

About the Author

Ursula Dubosarsky is an award-winning author of numerous books for children and young adults. About The Golden Day, her first book for Walker, she says, The little girls watch, wonder, respond, change and grow -and then they're gone, for ever. This element of the story, I suppose, is at least partly autobiographical. But, as I say - all of our teachers come home safe and sound in the end. Ursula lives in Australia.

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Book Info


160 pages
Interest Age: From 12


Ursula Dubosarsky
More books by Ursula Dubosarsky


Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

6th March 2014




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