Night School by C. J. Daugherty
Genre: Contemporary, Boarding School
Published by: Atom
First of all I should mention, that I really wanted to LOVE this book. I met C.J.Daugherty a few weeks ago and what she was saying about the progression of her characters got me so PUMPED to read it. Even though I already knew that the biggest complaint about Night School was the amount of times that Allie gets saved by one of the male protagonists – which is a lot – I was still surprised by it. C. J. said that Allie realising that she could be the one to save herself became one of the biggest internal arcs of the story and I thought that sounded exactly like something I would enjoy. That, and it’s a boarding school setting. I love those! Unfortunately, every time I cringed or eye-rolled I had to knock off a point from each star, so my overall rating is lowlowlow.
P L O T
Rebel girl Allie gets kicked out of previous school so has to attend new boarding school. Allie is emotionally wrung out because her brother Christopher went missing (though this is hardly mentioned throughout the story.) In the school there’s a secret society called Night School and NO ONE is allowed to talk about it. Because of this rule no one does tell Allie about it until around 90% through and she gets frustrated because everyone’s ‘lying’ to her.
I hate to say that Night School is completely full of clichéd scenes and tropes, such as: getting ready for the school dance, midnight skinny dipping, running through the woods at night, murder on the dance floor, secretive headmistress. Not to say that these things are bad, but they certainly weren’t well done in this book. The culmination of all these elements made it seem completely formulaic. There could’ve been so much more tension from the missing/dead people that were popping up over the school, but because the reveal was left to late I got bored pretty quickly of being left in suspense.
C H A R A C T E R S
Allie is pretty weak as a main character. She’s constantly being rescued by boys and all the girls are either jealous of her or want to be her best friend, and I’m not entirely sure what’s so special about her. She loses all hints of her original rebel personality when she arrives at the school, and does nothing particularly mischievous that I was expecting she would.
Jo, the best friend, was completely changeable. Sometimes I liked her character and other times I didn’t. I know she was sworn to secrecy to never say anything about the Night School, but surely when your best friend is desperate to know, you’d be tempted to spill the beans. But no, Jo – and practically everyone else at the school – lies to her instead, even though it’s pretty obvious that because Allie is going to school over the summer that she herself is probably being recruited for the Night School.
I wanted Allie to have more conviction in trying to find out what Night School was. I wanted Jo and Allie to team up to chase around the school grounds and mysterious pupils to get the low down on what was really happening, because Jo didn’t really know either.
Carter and Sylvain were both ridiculous. Carter plays the old ‘I’ll act like I hate her even though it’s insta-love’ game which is NEVER a good option. He better have some complex history with Allie’s family or something to explain why at the beginning he just seemed to hate her for no reason. As for Sylvain, I thought he was scum. He pushes himself on Allie and she completely falls for it. She doesn’t listen to any of the other girls who tell her he’s bad news. And the worst part was, by the end there still seemed to be hints of a possible romantic relationship between the two! NO.
There are a bunch of other minor character, with names and personalities so generic that I couldn’t distinguish between them. There was your classic bitchy girl who’s out to get the main character because she feels threatened by her popularity and looks, blah blah blah. And the completely forgettable filler friends who are only there to fill out the school or be potential murder victims.
P A C I N G
This book could’ve been incredible. But I am so over secret societies, emotionally manipulative/unhealthy/uncommunicative romances and co-dependent female leads. Also, even by the end of the book, I STILL wasn’t sure what Night School was? I was expecting magic or supernatural creatures, but no. It’s not a ‘big reveal’ and was completely underwhelming.I don’t understand how it feeds into the boarding school or why the other characters in the Night School are special. Overall, I just needed more explanation. It should’ve been a lot faster paced. Like 100x faster to make up for the slow reveal. There were so many peaks and troughs in the action it felt like I was reading the concept of a TV drama with all the fade to blacks and ‘…’
V E R D I C T
I have faith that the series will get better, and the truth is that if I see the next book in my local library then I will probably pick it up. I want to know what this Night School really does and I do want to see the character development for Allie that CJ promised. To conclude, I gave Night School 2 stars. It was a very disappointing read.