Monday, December 15, 2014

Review: Night School (Genesis)

"'Hurry up!'

'Will you chill out? I'm almost finished.' Her jaw set, Allie crouched in the dark, painting the last k as Mark knelt beside her holding a flashlight. Their voices echoed in the empty corridor. The light beam illuminating her work quivered when he laughed..."

(Night School by C.J. Daugherty, opening page)

So, yeah. We're dropped in the middle of the action as "Night School: Genesis" opens and our plucky, damaged heroine Allie Sheridan is actually spray painting "Ross is a dick" in honor of her school's aptly named Headmaster Ross.

Allie's in a bad way. Her brother's disappeared. Her parents have about had it with her third arrest in less than a year and before we get a chance to really wonder what the bee in Allie's bonnet really is, she's shipped off to an exclusive boarding school, the Cimmeria Academy.

I'll stop here for a moment. When I selected this title on an absolute whim, with no knowledge of the writer or the content, I was soooo certain this was a paranormal of some sort. See, that's my comfort zone and on a Sunday night, I was settling in for a comfortable lap around the YA paranormal track before bed.

Well, dear reader, I was wrong. What I read was neither paranormal (hello, thriller!) nor a lazy lap around a well-worn trope (no vampires here....though I was convinced for nearly 2/3 of the book that fangs were imminent).

What we have here is a fascinating case of an Illuminati-esque organization grooming the wealthiest and most privileged offspring of the globe to be tomorrow's puppet masters.

Nobody's sure why Allie's there. Her grades aren't the greatest and she's certainly not wealthy or in possession of a fancy pedigree. Nope, she's a trouble maker hell bent on burning her life down to the ground just to feel something other than hurt and confusion at her brother's abrupt disappearance.

What I loved about the Night School world was its inhabitants. We certainly had our nasty girl (that would be Katie), our pretty boy with a suwheeet, outraaageous Frah-nch accent (Sylvain) and the brooding, angry boy with gorgeous eyes (yes, Carter...that's you.)

Isn't it funny how the sexy, brooding angry boys never have average eyes? Thank god!

So we've got this underground training program that's highly secretive (everyone's keeping Allie out of the circle of trust and truth for the majority of the book) and an outsider looking to bring everyone down.

I'll stop here because this book deserves so much more than cheap spoilers.  Just trust me, I'm a mom of 4 who gets cranky if I'm not in my PJs by 9 p.m....and I was up until 2:30 a.m. reading this book until the wheels came off.  I stayed in this book until those wheels. came. off. (I'm still dragging butt the next day.)

My favorite part of the reading experience here was, without a doubt, Allie. I really felt like she was incredibly authentic as far as YA heroines go. Not too salty, a dash of insecurity, a healthy dose of fear when she needs one and lots of spark. I like spark in my heroines.

I'm not too much of a stickler when it comes to triangles and when they're well written, it gets me in the gut just as much as the next girl. This one was well nuanced and, well, difficult. Like tricky teenage relationships are.

I also thought the author did a great job setting us down in a tiny microcosm of a world inside Cimmeria and letting events play out inside the school before letting external forces manhandle the story along. We really got to spend plenty of time with this cast of characters so that when the stuff really did hit the fan, we were all in with these kids. Invested, even.

Needless to say, I've got the next book, Night School: Fractured, loaded up on the ol' ereader and ready to go.

Not saying that I'm going to stay up until 2:30 in the morning a second night in a row...oh, hell...who am I kidding? Of course I'll be up all night reading again.

It can't be helped.

The world of Night School is addicting and dangerous...and one of those stories that stays in your head long after your finish the book.


Title: Night School: Genesis

Series: Night School, Book One

Author: C.J. Daugherty

Publisher:  Bookouture 

Price: $0.99

Author Website:

Author Twitter@cj_daugherty

Goodreads review available here.

(Review copy provided by NetGalley. Opinions are my own!)

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