Cicely Thomas, age 14, has read the Night School books by C.J. Daugherty. Here are her thoughts….
“As soon as I read the first chapter of Night School, the first book in this thrilling trilogy, I was entranced by Allie Sheridan’s story of Cimmeria Academy and the adventures that happened there. She seemed like a normal teenager, feeling ignored by her parents, getting into trouble, and after being arrested three times in a year, Allie is sent away to the remote boarding school, where no technology, not even a mobile phone or television, is allowed.
When Allie gets to Cimmeria, there seems to be hardly anyone there. She is later told by Jo, who will become her best friend, that this is because the summer term is for ‘special students’. She hears that most students who are there are ‘legacies’, meaning their parents or family members went to Cimmeria, whereas Allie has no connection to the school. She soon meets the gorgeous Sylvain, who takes her under his wing, acting like the perfect boyfriend choice – but then comes along mysterious and dark Carter West, who soon warns Allie that she is making the wrong choice with Sylvain. Both boys seem perfect for Allie, and they both belong to the secretive Night School – “Members of Night School must never discuss Night School, and no other students may ask about Night School”. The first book end with a murder at the Summer Ball, and the shocking discovery that Allie makes.
With the knowledge that she is a Legacy student, Allie makes her way back to Cimmeria in Night School Legacy, even after the events of the last term. Nathaniel chasing her and now knowing that one of the most powerful women in the UK is her grandmother, she is invited to join Night School for her own protection. As her relationship with Carter goes downhill, and he forbids her from even talking to Sylvain – understandable after the last terms events – it seems their relationship will have to stop. From the start, I thought they were perfect for each other, so was as heartbroken as Allie when they split up. Soon, though, I realised they weren’t perfect at all, and she was much better off without him. All the characters, especially Allie, were much less likeable at points throughout this book, and I felt it was the weakest of the trilogy. Saying that, it is integral to the last book that this is read – as it all ends in tragedy for Allie’s friends…
At the beginning of Fracture, Allie is hurt, desperate and heartbroken from the death of her friend. She feels that she can trust no one, not even her headmistress Isabelle, and her grieving heart can’t make peace with everything that happened at the end of Legacy. After a failed escape, Allie returns to Cimmeria with a renewed strength and a taste for revenge. While she still has trust issues, she knows Cimmeria is the only place where she’s even remotely safe, and she intends to stay alive at all costs. It begins with Allie running away, and meeting her old friend Mark. After the first few chapters, he disappears, and we never hear of him again. This disappointed me slightly as I thought he would be more integral to the third book. The story continued this time with many more dangerous events. Nathaniel had been plotting in order to get Allie and this time the stakes were as high as ever because we still don’t know who Nathaniel’s internal spy is! We finally got to see Night School being put to good use, which I was pleased about as in the first two books it seemed a bit silly. I was also surprised by Allie’s bravery in this book. She showed more of her true colours along with other new characters such as Zoe which I found to be a great addition to the Night School gang and halfway though I began to get extremely worried that she would be this books murder. Whit the Night School gang out to look for the spy, they find secrets out which they then take to Isabelle – but once again the teachers are always one step ahead, and everything the students do find out the teachers already know it. With Allie’s relationship with Lucinda growing, I felt Lucinda could maybe take Allie into special protection, but, even after 80% of the students have been taken home and Allie’s friend Rachel has been kidnapped by Nathaniel and the threat of murder, Lucinda only sends more guards to protect Cimmeria. The third book was the most exciting, with many secrets exposed and we see deeper into why Nathaniel wants to, basically, take over the world. The ending, I felt, was weaker than the others, and I would like to read the next book to see where it leads.
I would recommend this book to girls or boys aged 14 or older.”
CJ Daugherty will be discussing what’s hot in Young Adult Fiction as well as answering your questions at a special YA fiction event in London this week. The free event at Blackwell’s CharingCross starts at 6pm on Wednesday 4th September. For more information on the event and how to book your free ticket, check out the event website: http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/jsp/editorial/shops/instore_events_view.jsp;jsessionid=E21EDC81C17798275296C78A7CD58783.bobcatp1?route=events#London