Expected Publication: May 21st, 2013
Night School (Night School # 1)
By: C.J. Daugherty
Katherine Tegen Books
Allie's world is falling apart...
She hates her school. Her brother has run away. And she's just been arrested.
Now her parents are sending her away to a boarding school where she doesn't know a soul.
But instead of hating her new school, Allie finds she's happy there. She's making friends. And then there's Sylvain, a suave French student who openly flirts with her. And Carter, the brooding loner who seems to have her back.
Soon, though, Allie discovers Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. Nothing there is as it seems. And her new friends are hiding dangerous secrets.
Review (BEWARE OF SPOILERS)
Mysterious boarding school, dangerously hot boys, good girl gone bad - what's not to love? Unfortunately, a lot of things in this particular book. First issue being the inconsistencies in Allie's character. She goes from acting out and being arrested repeatedly, to doing what everyone tells her to and believing anything they say, even when things aren't adding up. The synopsis pegs this as a book with a major mystery. That mystery being what exactly Night School is, who is in it, why and what they are trying to gain in life from it. Instead of being answered slowly bit-by-bit, this is jumbled and shoved together in answer format in the last 10 percent or so of the book. Most of this book is spent on Allie's decision between mysterious, charming, hot French boy Sylvain and not-so-bad boy, 'womanizer' Carter. A lot of time is also spent on Allie's friendship with unstable, but fun and sweet Jo who I found myself more interested in than Allie herself. That is, until Jo was turned into a complete moron by her treatment of others (namely Allie and Carter) and becomes a complete cliché in the last third of the book. The whole book spends its time having mysterious animal attacks, students not being allowed outside after dark and the separation of the Night School kids being waved in the reader's face like a big, fat paranormal clue. It is a tease and a liar peoples! In the big revelation at the end, we find out that the secret is a Skulls type of secret society (like the movie from 2000 with Joshua Jackson) that is made up of rich douchebags who indoctrinate their children and basically rule the powerful positions of the world! WTF???
Also, at the Summer Ball that Allie and friends become obsessed over at the halfway mark of the book, she is practically date-raped by Sylvain (who is supposed to be a nice guy) and we're made to think he's trying to mind control her through supernatural means. This is never explained to my satisfaction (or probably anyone else's, really). Also, there is a horrific fire and another student in murdered - which everyone then pretends was a suicide and no one calls the police. At this point Jo goes completely off the rails, does stupid shit and then blames everything on Allie! Things only devolve from there till the ending. The romance between Allie and Carter is set up from the beginning of the book, but when it actually happens it felt very staged to me. He's a sweet guy, but she spent most of the book hating him and going for Sylvain (which doesn't say much for her taste). And Allie's long-lost brother Christopher who disappeared and is the reason for her bad behavior/sadness, is suddenly spotted in bad-guy Nathaniel's army and thrown into the ending like loose change no one knows what to do with, cause there's not quite enough for a candy bar. Again, WTF??? All in all, not what I was expecting and very deceptive in the way it was marketed and tried to court me as a reader. But for all that, I still managed to finish it and really liked/enjoyed the slow burn and funny dialogue of the first 2/3 of this book. Which made it all the more heartbreaking when it crashed and burned. It was a world of no at the end and that made me very sad.
Some memorable quotes:
(From when Jo teaches Allie to play chess)
'Allie held it up and made a neighing sound. Jo gave her a withering look.
"Pony," said Allie weakly.
"Get serious Allie," Jo said. "This isn't a game. Not really. Because chess is really war.".........
Trying to look serious, Allie placed her knight where she was told, but shooting Jo a rebellious glance, she murmured, "Good horsie" under her breath.
(About going back to school and leaving the chapel open behind her and Carter)
"We'll get in trouble if it's left open," she reasoned. "And I really don't think it would be great for Jo to be quizzed by Zelazny right now. Besides, what if a fox gets in and eats Jesus?"
(Worst passage in the book, during the fire at the dance, starts with Jo speaking about her boyfriend Gabe just leaving her when the fire starts)
"Eloise says everyone's fine, so he's fine. It's just...he just left me there. In a fire."
"Oh, babe." Allie reached out to squeeze her arm..."He made sure you were safe first, right?...And you know what? He has faith that you're tough, and can take care of yourself. And that's kind of cool."
VERDICT: 2.5/5 Stars
*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is May 21st, 2013.*