Night School by C.J. Daugherty – review and giveaway

There’s nothing better than discovering a new author whose first book hooks you in.  You know that you’ve got more to look forward to and you can’t wait to see how their writing develops.  When I got asked if I wanted to be a part of C. J. Daugherty’s blog tour for her first Young Adult book, Night School, I jumped at the chance.  Night School is the first in an exciting new Young Adult series full of mystery and suspense.

When Allie Sheridan gets arrested for the third time, her parents have had enough.  They decide they can’t handle her anymore so they send her to Cimmeria Academy, a boarding school for problem teenagers.  But Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school.  Computers and cell phones aren’t allowed so she’s cut off from her old friends and the students are an odd mixture of the gifted, the tough and the privileged.  Then there are the top students who are part of the secretive Night School, whose activities other students are forbidden to watch.  Allie soon makes both friends and enemies, and catches the attention of the most popular guy at Cimmeria, Sylvain and the loner Carter.  When Allie is attacked one night the school begins to seem like a dangerous place.  Allie knows that the adults who run the school, and maybe even some of her classmates, are hiding a secret.  She must learn who she can trust.  And what’s really going on at Cimmeria Academy.

Night School took me a few chapters to get into, but the more I found out about the characters and Cimmeria Academy, I found it really difficult to put it down.  Cimmeria Academy at first seems like a new beginning for Allie.  She feels like she could get used to it and she’s actually happy for the first time in ages, but the more she finds out about the school and the secrets it hides, the more dangerous it becomes for her.

Some of the early events in the book threw me and had me thinking there might have been a supernatural element to the story, but the real twist is very clever.  I loved the truth behind Cimmeria Academy and it will be interesting to see where C.J. takes the story from here.  I’m not a huge fan of romance and love triangles in YA fiction, but I felt the relationships in Night School didn’t weigh down the story too much and the conflict between the love interests was needed to direct the story.  Night School is a great super-natural-free YA story, full of mystery and suspense and characters that will stick with you.

4 out of 5 stars

Giveaway:

If you would like to win a copy of Night School, leave a comment on this post telling me what you think is more important in a good Young Adult book, a gripping plot or strong characters?  Please leave your name and email address so I can contact you if you win.  Competition closes Wednesday 18 January 2012.  Open to New Zealand and Australia.

Join me tomorrow when I host a Q & A with C.J. Daugherty and a giveaway of Night School.

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2 Comments

Filed under authors, books, young adult, young adult fiction

2 responses to “Night School by C.J. Daugherty – review and giveaway

  1. Shirley

    Awesome review! I’ve been interested in this for a while:) everyone seems to really enjoy this! Hmm….thats a tough question; if a book isn’t character-driven, I wont enjoy it, but if there isn’t a gripping plot, I’ll feel like the book’s going nowhere. But if I have to choose, I’ll say strong characters, since at least I’ll feel a connection with them, and that helps me decided whether a book is worth continuing or not.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Shirley

    • zackids

      Thanks for your comment Shirley. For me it depends on what mood I’m in. Sometimes I just want a really action-packed story and I’m not really even thinking about the characters. Other times I want to get inside a characters head and know what they’re thinking and feeling. Night School is one of those books that gives you both. I’m the same with movies – sometimes I just want to watch something like Independence Day and other times I want to watch Princess Bride.

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