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Review: Night School by C.J. Daugherty

Night School by C.J. Daugherty (Night School #1)


Synopsis from Goodreads
Sometimes school is 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.


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. Its rules are strangely archaic. 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.

 Amazon  UK | Amazon kindle UK(£3.99!) | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
 Let me be absolutely clear on this, Night School is pure awesome sauce, just not what you would have expected from the title.

First of all, it's not some silly paranormal YA. More of a murder mystery with few good old conspiracy theories and secret societies thrown in.

Secondly, can I just gush about Allie and Carter? *insert gushing now* I haven't read about such two gorgeous level-headed and mature teenagers since  Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T.Michelle.

Allie is one troubled young girl, and she's been like that since the disappearance of her older brother over a year ago. She is acting out, getting drunk, drawing graffiti on school grounds, and consequently hopping from one London school to another until her parents have enough and send her into the countryside to a posh boarding school.

However, Cimmeria is just as taken aback by the red-headed rebel wearing Doc Martens as Allie by the school. The students are rich, privileged, and their families have been to the same school for generations. Allie doesn't fit the pattern.

Nevertheless, she tries her hardest to evolve into someone better, gets befriended by Jo, hyperactive unstable vulnerable girl who knows it all, courted by a French hottie, Sylvain, and despised by a residential mean girl.

You would think the rest will slide into a cliche? But it won't. There is a Summer Ball, a vicious murder, strange noises in the forest, abandoned church and a mysterious top secret Night School. Friends become enemies, and enemies turn into allies, when the biggest villain of all is threatening Cimmeria's whole existence.

There is no love triangle, although Allie does go from Sylvain to Carter. What I love is that Allie/Carter relationship is gradual - allies, friends, more than friends, but the whole thing never goes overboard with all the drama and "I die for you" sort of thing which so annoys the hell out of me in YA. Girlfriend/boyfriend is not the most important thing in their life. Revealing of the secrets, murder investigation, multiple conspiracies is. 

Allie doesn't allow herself to be bullied when things get rough and doesn't bend under pressure. The teachers also never turn a blind eye on what is happening and actively help her. The book never feels surreal or silly, it's grounded and realistic.

People change, they make mistakes, err in their judgement by they also try to make amends, and I loved that.  Sylvain is a particular good example of that. 

All in all, it might seem like British YA authors suffer from a preferential treatment on my blog, but there is just something about them that I find closer to my heart than US YA authors. They are just grittier and more realistic and leave deeper impact on me.

Absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it to everyone!

* * *
Вот что-то заставляет меня раз за разом выбирать британских авторов YA. Они мне импонируют, пробираются ближе к моему сердцу и вообще гораздо реалистичнее с их проблемами, чем американцы.

То же самое произошло с Ночной Школой. Прекраснейший триллер без тени паранормала, с горой секретов, заговоров, планов мирового господства и тайных сообществ.

Героям удаётся избежать надоевших клише типа любовных треугольников, стервы подруги, чрезвычайной драматизации, главной злодейки школы и прочей характерной для подобной литературы травы. Они все там в какой-то мере присутствуют в самом начале, но потом всё становится с ног на голову.

Главный красавчик школы превращается в гадёныша, а мальчиш-плохиш становится тихим героем, друзья оказываются врагами, а враги становятся союзниками, люди постоянно меняются, совершают ошибки и признаются в них. Отношения, и какие замечательные отношения!, между Алли и Картером развиваются медленно и не доходят до чего-то конкретного, так как для них обоих важнее расследование убийств и тайны происхождения Алли, чем "любит-не любит".

А в итоге получаем напряжённую, интересную и очень реалистичную интригу. Такую траву я бы не отказалась курить каждый день, что и вам советую. Читать НАДО!


Eva E. said...

I agree with you with the British YA thing. Even contemporary ones, the British YA novels are so much better. They're just "in your face" honest, which I like, more realistic, and less dramatic. And oh my, this novel sounds so good. It's like the Vampire Academy series. Lame title, awesome story. I'm going to read this real soon. :)

Ellie Warren said...

I would never have given this a second look based on the title and cover...sounds just like another YA fantasy high school series. But I agree with you on preferring British YA writing and your endorsement may make me go hunt this out!

Blodeuedd said...

Dunno about this one, you do make it sound good, but boarding schools in YA..I know the story from before

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Eva, you are exactly right! They are more in you face, and I love it! Have you read Numbers trilogy by Rachel Ward? It's excellent.

Ellie, honestly the whole title-cover thing is really misleading. This book is far more complex and interesting than you would think. I hope you give it ago.

The same goes for you, Blodeuedd. :) I know how bored we all are with same old same old boarding schools of doom, but this one was a really nice puzzle and I'm still not sure what is going on. It's definitely very intriguing and very well written.

Eva E. said...

No but I looked it up on Goodreads! It sounds AWESOME! :) Adding that to my list. :)

Petra said...

Sounds great, so I ordered it today! :)

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

YAY! I hope you like it, Petra! ;)

Mari said...

I LOVED Night School, so B, you should just capitulate and listen to us ;) I feel this was a bit different than the average paranormal YA :)

Lovely review!

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

I'm glad you loved it, Mari! I though Night School was really refreshing and not as shallow as a lot of other YAs.

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