Review Blog

Mar 05 2012

Night School by C. J. Daugherty

cover image

Atom Books, 2012.ISBN 9781907411212.
(Age: teens) Highly recommended. Something sinister appears to be happening at Cimmeria Academy, and secrets need to be uncovered before someone is hurt. In her novel Night School, C. J. Daugherty builds great tension into this wildly intriguing plot. The brooding graphic and blurb on the cover, together amplify the undercurrents lurking in this novel. By invoking elements of vandalism, young love, murder and fires, there is plenty of action going around.
Night School opens with sixteen-year-old Allie caught red-handed in a brazen act of vandalism, her artistic graffiti boldly adorning the school principal's office door. After a night in the lock-up and an unceremonious handover by the police, Allie discovers there will be no meter of leniency from her parents. All too soon she finds herself bundled away to boarding school.
Once installed in the vast three-story gothic mansion, Allie begins to ask herself whether it is a school, or a prison? Automatic locking gates, curfews and 'night school' all fill her with apprehension. In spite of her reservations however, Allie begins to make friends, and quickly discovers a connection with the quietly withdrawn Carter West, but also confusingly, handsome Sylvain's admiration is difficult to resist. Tres difficile. Life at the academy settles into an orbit of classes, secrets and explorations and then, disaster strikes. What happens on the night of the summer ball, and why has it not been reported? When everyone is lying, who do you trust? Allie isn't sure, but is determined to find out.
Writing in the third person, C. J. Daugherty quickly establishes believable characters. Some of her strengths lie in description and dialogue, and, she has manifested interaction well between the characters in her broad cast. Although some tensions are left unresolved in this novel, these mysteries will surely be revealed once the sequels hit the bookstores. Publication of the first sequel to Night School is anticipated in 2013. I look forward to it. Night School is highly recommended for secondary school libraries.
Colleen Tuovinen

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