Night School by C.J. Daugherty (ARC) - Sometimes school can be murder. . . Allie Sheridan's world is falling apart. She hates her school. Her brother has run away from home. And she's just been arrested. Again. This time her parents have finally had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to a boarding school for problem teenagers. But Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. It allows no computers or phones. Its students are an odd mixture of the gifted, the tough and the privileged. And then there's the secretive Night School, whose activities other students are forbidden even to watch. When Allie is attacked one night the incident sets off a chain of events leading to the violent death of a girl at the summer ball. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, Allie must learn who she can trust. And what's really going on at Cimmeria Academy. From Amazon UK
When I first heard about Night School, there was such a buzz about it and I thought it sounded amazing, and I was so excited to read it! Having finished it now, I really enjoyed it, but it wasn't as brilliant as I was expecting.
Night School is very much a first novel in a series. The characters - fantastic characters I have to say, I especially loved Jo - are all set up, the scenario is in place, and then things start to happen. Once someone dies at the Summer Ball, things start to get moving, and the questions start being asked.
However, very few questions are answered, and the ones that are aren't answered fully. So you finish the book very little the wiser to what's really going on. There are some shady chatacters, some links to Night School, and people who we hear about but never see, but nothing concrete. This would normally be really frustrating, but Daugherty keeps things going with the big events of the story - depsite not really knowing anything, enough happens to keep me interested to want to know more.
As I said, there are a few big events - the shock discoveries, the action scenes, and so forth - which make things exciting and build the tension. However, these events have a bit of a lull between them. Although they scare and worry the characters and cause more questions for them to think about, there can be days or weeks in the timeline of the story between the next big event, where things seem to go back to normal and everyday life seems to go on, so the excitement and tension kind of calm down. That's the other reason I didn't love Night School as much as I expected to, the tension didn't keep building enough for me.
The characters are what kept me reading the most. The tagline on the book is "When everyone is lying, who do you trust?", and it's spot on. It seems everyone has something their hiding, and you're never completely sure who is actually on Allie's side, or if they have another agenda. Even those who seem to be against her can be surprising. Not only that, but secrets are being kept from Allie about her. She's more important than she realises, and no-one will tell her who she is. It keeps you guessing, and it's brilliant! However, there is something that happens between two of the characters that absolutely disgusted me, and I cannot believe how the relationship between those two is how it is at the end of the book. Sorry for sounding cryptic, but I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't read the book - hopefully those who have will know what I'm talking about. I was astonished with how that situation resolved itself, and I don't think I'll ever think well of the character in the wrong again.
Overall, Night School is a pretty awesome book I really enjoyed reading, I just think it could have been a little more exciting. I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel and finding out what's going on, and just who Allie is! I really recommend it!
Thank you to Atom for the review copy.
Published: 5th January 2012
Buy as an eBook on Amazon US
C.J. Daugherty's Website