01 The Write Elements: January 2017

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

READ IT - Night School by C.J. Daugherty

Good books don't let you know exactly what is going on till the end, especially if they're likely going to be made into a series.
That's what's been done here - till the wee few pages at the end will you get some sort of closure. And you know what? It's definitely NOT enough. I NEED MORE
It's the moment when you read and read and just wish you read faster because you want to know what's coming next. It's a truly special thing. 
Fair warning for those who love a paranormal YA story, just so you know, this isn't one. Though seriously, I wouldn't have guessed it! It surely seemed  to be headed in that direction and yet there's no mention. Heck, even the title is "Night School". So it's truly a gift C.J. has to be able to hold our attention as she has. The usual rustle in the brush, the creepy sinking feeling that there was someone or something there in the room while you slept, common in teen books but she writes it so well that you can't imagine it being cliched at all. I gots me the chills and I was devouring every bit of the book till like 2am, and I hardly read this fast, which is when I'm reviewing this because I got all excited about it. Loving every word of it. 
CJ writes really well. She's got wit, which is wonderful and highly necessary with writers (I had JUST read a story where the writing ruined what could have been an amazing idea - assuming what I had assumed about the title and synopsis, cause I couldn't read further than a certain point) 
If you're a total scaredy-cat like me, who doesn't like the dark and quiet when it's too quiet, don't read this at night. Also I don't think it helped that I was listening to "Fire". I swear the song replayed at the most opportune time - there, not spoiling anymore on that front.
You get full doses of suspense and intrigue as you try to decipher the hidden agendas of the Night School - it was so cool to have the 'cool' boys be from there - and the mysteriousness that's been plaguing the characters in the story. I was really trying to find out if any more surprises would pop up honestly, like the whole paranormal thing. Almost begging for it haha but the fact that there really is none surprised me, in a pleasant way. 
I didn't know that "boarding school" was a theme in stories, significantly in YA, so when I was reading reviews (as usual, after the book) it was an interesting tidbit to find out. I wasn't focused too much on it because it wasn't so outstanding. Basically you 'saw' the woods, Allie's room, and the typical school but hardly any "chase scenes" went on inside. Maybe just the roof. 
I was actually kinda shocked at the ending. It should have occured to me but it didn't, like what Carter said. Perhaps I was too into the book to think outside fangirl-squealing and mystery lover-shivering. 
There are quite a bit of characters here but the main ones I will obviously focus on are Allie, Sylvain (Yes, Sylvain) and Carter. 
However I do want to mention names: Jo, Rachel, Jules and Ruth. 
They're friends not enemies, hence my mentioning them. There's this tangled web linking them. Though the incident that happened to one of them was just jarring and saddening - I can still picture it in my mind, like the face of the Joker. *shudders* 
And for another...I suppose you can forgive the crazy somewhat when you finally realise what drove her. But I still didn't care for the Jekyll and Hyde thing. I can't remember when I said this exact same thing but it is a usual character trait in the books I read. 
Allie - I love her demeanour. She was already portrayed as someone who is 'troubled' but strong-willed, yet we saw her vulnerable sides, like when she was scared out of her mind (me too me too) and how good a person she is. She's probably what you'd consider the accidental heroine but of course she's not going to be dainty, how boring would that be. 
Sylvain ("Sil-VAN" as Allie put it)  - 
"Please do."
She followed the voice, with its French accent, to her left side, where a boy with tawny skin, thick dark hair, and exquisite blue eyes was watching her.

Carter - 
The room was empty save for one deep chair, where a boy sat watching them over the top of an ancient-looking book. He had straight black hair, a firm mouth, and huge dark eyes surrounded by thick lashes; his feet were propped casually on a tabletop painted like a chessboard. He studied her with a mixture of insolence and open curiosity that she found unnerving. She tried to keep her expression blank, but his lips curved up into a knowing smile.

Very happy to not read about another hot blonde. Dark hair is just as attractive
YA 101: guys gotta be AMAZING; and they ARE in this book. It's always fun for me to find new book eyecandy, so to speak. And their descriptions are far from boring - okay maybe Carter's is the typical badboy, cocky type but come on, you need those types. And Sylvain is the nice - oh so nice - FRENCH (kind of unusual for the mains) guy.
They both play the extremes - two sides of the same coin that fell for the main girl. Strong personalities that want to protect and don't hold back - you need this in your stories, ladies and gents.
For Carter he was more the free-r spirit than Sylvain, who wasn't stuffy by any means, but they both could walk on the wild side. I actually thought something bad was gonna sprout from Sylvain - cause he was TOOOOO nice - but I was sorely mistaken (yay haha)
They're both their own characters and I'm sorry to lump them together. I will reread and revise my statements! As for camps..I can't pick yet ;( huhu

Image result for night school cj cover

Allie Sheridan’s world is falling apart. Her brother’s run away from home. Her parents ignore her. And she’s just been arrested.

Again.

This time her parents have had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to boarding school, far from her London friends.

But at Cimmeria Academy, Allie is soon caught up in the strange activities of a secret group of elite students.

When she’s attacked late one night the incident sets off a chain of increasingly violent events. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, she finds out that nothing at Cimmeria is what it seems to be.

And that she is not who she thought she was.

The back cover says
Sent away from home,
Allie Sheridan will discover
a new LIFE
a world of MYSTERY
a world of SECRETS
a word of DANGER


To tempt you I'm adding in a scene that anyone could just gush over.Mind you I typed it all out cause, well, duh. 
Say hello to male leads Sylvain and Carter (had to omit some  things to keep the story a secret):

... "Now we shall enjoy the croquet."
"Yay," she replied weakly. "Croquet."
As they walked back around the corner, she could see that everyone had been waiting for them, including Carter, His eyes told her that he knew exactly what they'd been doing.
"Allie! Sylvain." His tone was mocking. "This is great. What have you been up to?"
Surprised by his aggression, Allie flushed with anger.
...
Sylvain pulled her closer. "Unfortunately, Carter, our teams are set already. We do not need  another player."
"I didn't come to play." Carter put emphasis on the last word. 
...
He turned from Sylvain to her.
Allie felt as if a cool breeze had chilled her skin. "I... I'm fine, Carter. Thanks."
She faltered under his gaze, which seemed to challenge her. As if she'd done something bad, disappointed him in some way. 
"That's great. You do seem much recovered." His words dripped sarcasm. "Did you hurt your lips, too? Or is it from something else?"
Allie's hand flew up to cover her mouth as Sylvain took several steps forward. 
"Why are you still here, Carter?" he asked icily.
Carter stared at him, unflinching. "I just wanted to see if what I suspected was true."
"Seen all you need to see?" Sylvain's voice was low and menacing. 
"Hey, everybody," Ruth stepped between them. "Come on. Stay calm. Let's not get into something here."
Carter ignored her. "Oh, I've seen enough, Sylvain."
With a sigh, Ruth stepped out of the way. They were now standing no more than a foot apart, glaring at each other.

Now who wouldn't want to get in between them to - ahem - break up the fight? And only a foot apart. Hmmm. 
Anyway, I read her Acknowledgements at the back. I found it fitting that this book sprouted from a dare. But it was gut-wrenching to know her mother couldn't see the finished product. I'm glad to add to C.J.'s fanbase though!