The whole boarding school drama has been done to death - or so we thought.
In the beginning there was a bad girl. Allie. Acting out since her brother ran away from home, she’s been arrested three times and isn’t showing any signs of stopping her destructive ways. So her parents decide enough is enough – off you go to some boarding school. The only thing is, Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary boarding school. By unordinary, we mean: the headmistress is both ridiculously good-looking and incredibly nice (but firm); pupils are either ‘legacy’, impossibly wealthy, irritatingly good-looking, eye-rollingly clever or all of the above. And then there’s the Night School. A widely known, but never spoken of, secret between select pupils and teachers – it’s reminiscent of Fight Club… the first rule of Night School is there is no Night School…
Allie’s confusion at being thrust into a life of enhanced education, being waited on, ball gowns and rubbing shoulders with rich kids takes up most of the plotline, but fortunately, there is time for a making and breaking friendships and rambunctious love triangles. As the new girl, Allie finds herself the source of attention from the dashingly sophisticated Sylvain (and the French accent doesn’t hurt either), but not surprisingly, Allie ends up plumping for the aloof, mysterious Carter West, despite his poor communication skills. The new best friend, Jo, is an interesting character, rarely found in teen novels. Jo’s behaviour is at times, scary, confusing and possibly a little over exaggerated, but we’re impressed by the author attempting to tackle this taboo subject and making it such an inclusive element of the overall story.
Night School is somewhat of an anomaly in modern YA fiction. Daugherty has clearly tried not to follow the prescribed rules and to a certain extent, she succeeds. War games at a boarding school? It’s been done before and as a concept it works scarily well, however, Night School doesn’t really give much away, so we’re holding off final judgement until we see what the next instalment has in store. We’ll be watching (and reading!) this series with interest.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012