Wednesday, July 30, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Night School by CJ Daugherty

Night School by CJ Daugherty is the first book in a YA series and was published on January 1st 2012 by Atom Books. The ISBN is 1907411216 and I purchased the paperback edition. This review does not contain any spoilers.

PLOT

Allie Sheridan’s world is falling apart. Her brother’s run away from home. Her parents ignore her. And she’s just been arrested.

Again.

This time her parents have had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to boarding school, far from her London friends.

But at Cimmeria Academy, Allie is soon caught up in the strange activities of a secret group of elite students.

When she’s attacked late one night the incident sets off a chain of increasingly violent events. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, she finds out that nothing at Cimmeria is what it seems to be.

And that she is not who she thought she was.

WHY I BOUGHT IT

I saw Night School featured on a blog a while back one of those special ones where they interview the author and I liked the sound of it. Boarding school mystery stories are usually quite interesting and I have particularly been let down by any I have read.


WHAT I THOUGHT

Even if you aren’t particularly interested in reading this book I would ask you to check out the blurb at the back as one of the best examples of keeping spoilers out of a plot summaries I have ever read. It succeeds it giving nothing away while leaving enough there for you to think that maybe this book is worth a read.

As the summary suggests this story is all about secrets and lies, Allie is in this strange new world that she wants to like but it is made clear early on that everyone around her is not telling her the whole truth and that leaves her at a disadvantage to say the least whilst also alienating her. The common threads from most boarding school stories are here devilishly handsome boys falling over themselves to date the protagonist an envious social Queen who does her best to bully and belittle her but is done in a way that is tolerable and often entertaining.

Night School manages to do this by making the cast of characters around Allie the other students interesting and real. Too often in boarding school books the rest of the cast can be described simply as the quiet one, the spoiled one, the hot one, the nerdy one but Night School does its best to make sure that if you wanted to list the characters featured in this book and describe them you’d need a lot more than one word to describe them.

I read through Night School in four days and that was after forcing myself to stop after reading a chunk just to let the whole thing sink in a bit before continuing on, there is quite a number of characters to keep track of and their relationships are important to note.

There is a real feeling of paranoia that pervades this book when you look at things from Allie to describe most of the people as two-faced is probably being too nice. They have their reasons only SOME of which are revealed by the end of this the first book in a series but reasons don’t help when everyone is lying to you.


Night School is a great example of the boarding school YA premise often done but rarely executed as well as this book. The characters, the suspense and the sense of intrigue keep you from putting this book down, trust me.

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