Reynje's Reviews > Night School

Night School by C.J. Daugherty
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's review
Jun 23, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: more-questions-than-answers, no-just-no, read-2012, scoundrels-rakes-and-creeps, unexpectedly-liked, young-adult
Read in June, 2012

I liked Night School. But I say that with a massive caveat. (More on that later.) So, Night School and upcoming Night School sequel: you and your ratings are on probation.

The synopsis is fairly ambiguous as to the genre of the novel. It drops hints about a strange boarding school and a mysterious loner guy, but is evasive on the specifics. Even the cover looks like it would be home among a shelf of paranormal romances. So while I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say this, I’ll put in spoiler tags all the same: (view spoiler)

If you didn’t click on that spoiler, it’s going to be somewhat difficult to discuss the plot of the novel without giving it away, so bear with me as I attempt to dance around it.

Night School relies heavily on intrigue and suspense. By creating an atmosphere of vague threat and unease, and by alluding to mysterious goings-on all around the central character, Daugherty sets up a fairly compelling premise. It’s hard not to wonder what, exactly, this school is hiding and how Allie has landed in the middle of it. The unsettling vibe of Cimmeria Academy is well done, and the “all is not what it seems” undercurrent is sufficient to keep the initial pages turning.

That said, I’m not entirely sure the tension and mystery is enough to sustain the 451 pages of the book. To be fair, a lot of this time is used to set up character relationships so that they can effectively be broken down and convincingly illustrate Allie’s confusion as to who to trust. Daughtery does a good job of making everyone a suspect. However, that doesn’t change that fact that, well.. not a lot happens. There’s a fair amount of repetition to Allie’s routine (it is boarding school, after all) and the lack of and space between the action scenes compounds the issue of plot drag. I found enough tension to hold my interest, but reader mileage will vary on that front.

At the end, Night School gives some partial answers, but leaves the majority of questions unresolved, while raising even more question marks. The premise is somewhat far-fetched, but it’s one I like, so I’m willing to suspend some belief pending the follow up book.

There’s a slightly detached, cool quality to Daughtery’s writing. Night School is written in third person and I think this works for the story, although the reader is somewhat distanced from Allie. We’re still given insight into her character, while never completely getting inside her head. It’s a plot driven novel, and while Allie undergoes considerable development throughout, the focus is primarily on the secrets she finds herself caught up in. Nevertheless, there’s a toughness to Allie that I liked. She’s a character with assertiveness and drive, and she has agency beyond being buffeted between the brooding gazes of the love interests. (Although, of course, that happens).

Now, on to that caveat: (view spoiler)

Having not realised that Night School was not a standalone, I was pretty irritated to reach the final page only to find out I still had a plethora of questions to answered. However, I do want them answered, so I will pick up the sequel. Additionally, the Doc Martens scene at the end of the book was a nice touch, and the promise of some Allie kick-assery yet to come is a welcome note to conclude on. Fingers crossed she delivers.
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Reading Progress

06/20 page 59
13.0% "I keep looking at the cover and wishing my hair was this colour, then remember that once my hair was this colour and I hated it. Then looking at the cover and wishing my hair was this colour, then... argh. It's a vicious circle of hair envy." 9 comments
06/21 page 134
30.0% 2 comments
06/22 page 242
54.0% "If a mysterious, hot guy broods in the forest, but no one is around to see it, is he still hot and broody? - These are the philosophical questions I'm pondering tonight, goodreaders.. In other news, I don't know what to make of this book yet."
03/14 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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message 1: by Jo (new) - added it

Jo Hmmm intriguing. I've had this on my Kindle for a while now.

ps. I also had hair that colour.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)


Reynje It is a rad colour.. :)

Yes. Caveat. Boo.

message 4: by Catie (new)

Catie I will never read this, so I totally peeked at the caveat. And now I will not only avoid it, I will narrow my eyes at it in derision on the rare times we cross paths. Boo on you book.

message 5: by Reynje (last edited Jun 23, 2012 06:04PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Reynje Yep.. the more I think about it, the more it irks me, so I bumped my rating. (view spoiler)

message 6: by Catie (new)

Catie It seems like this is such a trend in paranormal YA's. It's a trend that I am so weary of. I'm so glad that I have all of you to be my advanced warning system with these books. If the character is going to take on that role, I am curious as to how it will be justified (or not).

Did I mention that I love this review? NO? Well I do. Guess I was so focused on my snarky comment before that I forgot to say. :)

Reynje Haha.. it wasn't snarky at all! And I feel the same way. (view spoiler)

But thank you.. I'm slowly getting back into the habit of reviewing after I finish a book. Slowly. :)

message 8: by Catie (new)

Catie (view spoiler)


Oh good, I'm glad you're getting back into it! I always love reading your reviews.

Reynje *insert loud laughter here* Yes, so true!

message 10: by Jenna (new) - added it

Jenna I HATE it when you think a book is a standalone and then get to the end with oh, so many questions and find out there's a sequel. Lame!

Also, what the caveat?!

I've got this in my TBR pile but hmmm... not sure.

Reynje Yep, so frustrating. Especially because this book just scratches the surface of what's really going on.

I'd be interested to hear what you think, Belle. I still liked it, I just got frustrated that it seems like this character will be redeemed in the next book,(possibly) so it depends how that gets handled.

Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews) No swoons for you!

Lovely review, Rey. I'll definitely borrow this instead of buy :)

Reynje Thanks Jessie ;)

message 14: by Becky (new)

Becky I'm super disappointed to hear that about the love interest. I started this book because I kept hearing how good it was, but lost interest because everything kept. moving. so. slowly. Now I doubt I'll be returning to it. God knows there are enough books out there already that romanticize rape culture without me actively seeking them out.

Reynje Becky wrote: "I'm super disappointed to hear that about the love interest. I started this book because I kept hearing how good it was, but lost interest because everything kept. moving. so. slowly. Now I doubt I..."

I agree, it does move quite slowly. I should clarify that (view spoiler)

message 16: by This (new)

This Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the warning. I will not subject the teenage girls in the high school library to such junk, "would-be date-rapists are NOT LOVE INTERESTS. No, okay. Just no." Absolutely! Here, here, and sorry for pasting the spoiler, but it is soooo important for people to know about this!

message 17: by Carolina (new)

Carolina Alvarenga I agree with you. I don´t like Sylvain is impossible after what he did

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