Thursday, July 4, 2013

Book Review: Night School by C.J. Daugherty

Title: Night School
Author: C.J. Daugherty
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: Original: January 1st, 2012 Re-Release: May 21st, 2013
Rating: 3/5

Cover Impressions: 
I like the colors and the illumination on the path but there isn't anything about this cover that will make it stand out from the other YA mysteries on the shelf.

The Gist:
Having been arrested for the third time in a year, Allie's parents decide to send her to Cimmeria Academy.  There are, however, a couple of problems.  First, Allie has never heard of this school and her parents won't tell her so much as where it is.  Second, Cimmeria doesn't actually specialize in troubled youth, they are a school for rich kids, of which Allie is NOT.  When the mysteries at the school start to pile up along with the list of the injured, Allie finds herself in a world far more dangerous than the life of alcohol, drugs and crime that she left behind.


In Night School, Daugherty plays a long game of "I can't tell you" and "Now is not the time" and, even by the end, doesn't really reveal anything about what is going on.  This appears to be yet another book in which everything must be kept from the super-special main character in order to keep her safe, except not knowing any of the secrets is the reason that she is constantly putting herself in dangerous situations.  I sincerely hope that the series does not continue in the same track.  I despise books that dangle the Ihaveasecret carrot and never reveal a thing.  If the second book had not already been released, I would be PISSED.  As it is, I will be starting the next book, but if they continue to play the withholding game, I will just end up skimming to the end.

 In beginning, the main character gives in far too easily.  Allie is set up as this bad girl with serious attitude.  She rebels against any authority figure and has been arrested several times.  But the minute she is taken out of her comfort zone she does everything she can to fit in.  When she reaches Cimmeria, she immediately changes the way that she dresses (couldn't she make the uniform her own?) and stops wearing makeup, at several points she actually revels in how much happier she is now that she has assimilated.  

Naturally, Night School features they oh-so-overdone typical teenage love triangle.  However, I can actually see the appeal of both characters (if you pretend that one particular, almost rape scene didn't exist - Allie appears to, so we might as well *scoff*).  There are some swoonworthy make-out scenes but nothing that is too racy for the target audience. The female sidekicks are decently fleshed out and have their own issues to deal with.  I liked both Jo and Rachel and enjoyed that there was some addition drama and conflict with them.  I am hoping that they get further attention as the series continues. 

Oddly, I kept expecting for something supernatural to jump up, but instead there was some strange story about a secret corporation that runs the world.  Perhaps this says more about my own reading habits than about the book itself but I found myself putting together small tidbits and theorizing my own supernatural elements (chased by something that growls - Must be a werewolf!  Murals depict fight between good and evil - Maybe the Night School kids are actually angels and/or demons!  MC keeps spilling secrets to one character - She must have secret powers!).  Did anyone else notice this?  Or has anyone does this with other books?  Basically, I am looking for confirmation that I am not alone in this strange behavior.

Even though Night School had enough of a mystery to keep me reading, I found myself  a little disappointed at the end.  I was really expecting more of a twist, some kind of revelation that would make me clamor to read the next book.  Instead, I am approaching Legacy with trepidation and if the author somehow fenagles her way out of having the mother reveal some of the truth in the beginning of the next novel, I am out!

This novel does include some swearing/mature scenes but not all that frequent and nothing that would prevent me from recommending it to most teenagers. 

Teaching/Parental Notes:
13 and up
Gender: Female
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Murder by Knife, Fires, *Almost* Rape scene
Inappropriate Language:  Dick, Bastard, Bitch, Asshole
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking


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