The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald is a 2019 Gallery Books publication.
Engrossing and emotional mystery-
When Abigail Knight learns that her seventeen- year- old daughter, Olivia, is lying in a coma after a fall, her life turns on a dime. Noticing some marks on Olivia's body which suggests the possibility of foul play, Abi works tirelessly to discover what really happened to her daughter. Yet, she is met with one brick wall after another and resistance from law enforcement when she pushes them to pursue the case fully.
Meanwhile, we hear directly from Olivia, who fills in the blanks about her home life, introducing us to her friends, and romantic interests, while explaining the events leading up to her fall.
Her haunting voice reflects on her relationship with Abigail and the usual teenage dramas, which eventually leads to some hard and serious questions about her absentee father.
This is a very impressive debut novel by Christina McDonald. I was immediately invested in the story and remained riveted all the way through to the heart-rending conclusion. The mother/daughter dynamic is explored as long buried secrets float to the surface, highlighting the similarities and differences between Adi and Olivia. The taut atmosphere kept me on edge, despite sensing the direction the story was going to take me.
The questions Adi has about what led to Olivia’s fall, the lies and secrets that plague Adi and the teenage angst, makes the mystery compelling, with several surprising revelations, that kept me guessing until the big reveal, which did, but didn’t surprise me, if that makes any sense.
Teetering on the literary line, the story delves deeply into the various insecurities and vulnerabilities of the characters touching the need for belonging, the ways we detach to protect ourselves, and how we deal with life’s curveballs and the lessons one takes away from adversity and tragedy.
It’s not often that a mystery novel is as thought provoking and stirring as it is suspenseful, but McDonald manages it masterfully!