Monday, April 16, 2012

REVIEW: Night School by C.J. Daugherty

Night School Night School by C.J. Daugherty
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Night School is the name of 110,400-ish worded novel and of a class at Cimmeria Academy exclusively for legacy student. Night School is a special class for special legacy students — basically it's 'how can we be more elitist' in action.

The kicker is that we never know why Night School is special, just that it is. Students are expelled if they "attempt to interfere with or observe Night School." Students are punished if they attempt to find out the identities of those involved in Night School. The most we ever learn about this special class is that Allie's two love interests are in it and her grandmother Lucinda, who is only mentioned in the story, has something to do with it.

I thought the special class was for legacy students who are supernatural because I saw readers shelving this book as paranormal on GoodReads. But no, there was nothing paranormal about this book whatsoever. There was a mystery, there were a few abnormal events, but nothing paranormal. This book is not YA Paranormal. I think the book is supposed to be YA Suspense.

But the genre misinformation wasn't what irked me greatly about this book, it was the lack of conflict resolution. Excluding the first two chapters, the entire story took place at Cimmeria Academy. I expected to learn what Night School is about halfway through the story, but no. Not even at the end of the story. We never know what Night School is, we never know why the villain targeted Allie, and we never know why Allie is special.

The Main Character

The novel was written in 1st PoV from Allie's side and introduced Allie as this delinquent with a taste for vandalism. The novel failed miserably at portraying Allie as a delinquent. The bad things Allie did at Cimmeria Academy were being a few minutes late to lunch and a few minutes late to class, both because Allie was new to place and didn't know how to get around yet. The other bad things were disobeying curfew time and trespassing because Allie was meeting friends, helping them, and staying alive. For a rebellious girl who got arrested three times in one year and kicked out of two schools, Allie was rather dull.

It was like the moment Allie stepped in the mysterious boarding school, Allie had a personality change. Hey, maybe that was what makes the boarding school so mysterious. Allie quickly acclimatized which was inconsistent with the novel introduction of her character as a brazen, excessive mascara-wearing, henna-dyed hair girl who loves her iPod and laptop. Cimmeria Academy has a weird ban on technology. I do not believe in its excuse of teaching the students on "how to amuse [themselves] in more traditional ways." The school didn't make much sense to me.

The Love Triangle

What also didn't make sense was Sylvain. Sylvain and Carter were Allie's love interests. Carter was the bad boy and Sylvain was the popular peer. Allie went from being disgusted at Carter's prickly attitude and dating Sylvain the sweet talker to being disgusted at Sylvain's girl-playing nature and dating Carter the misunderstood sweetheart. I didn't mind this actually; it was cliche but it wasn't irritating. The boys' reason why they took an interest in Allie were reasonable to me.

What I did mind was when at the end Sylvain decided he too was in love with Allie. The novel pushed the love triangle a few steps past my patience. The love triangle should have ended 2/3 of the book the way it was supposed to be. I do not care to seeing it be picked up again in book 2.


The writing was competent, but the plot needed a bit more work. The pacing was slow, but it was fine. I didn't feel the need to skim. I would have easily rated Night School the novel 3-stars if I knew what Night School the special class was about.

There were some twists that I didn't expect, and a few I didn't care for because they made the story more mysterious at the end when things should have been resolved. The ending was anticlimactic.

I rate Night School 2-stars for it was okay.

Amazon GoodReads

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