Monday, March 5, 2018

That Night Review

That Night
By: Chevy Stevens

They said she was a murderer. 

They said she killed her sister.

But they lied.

As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn’t relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren’t easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni’s innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni’s life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.

Oh my goodness, I was not at all ready for this book. I received this in a box of books from my Aunt (thanks Aunt Deanna!!) and picked it up randomly yesterday in an attempt to cure my book hangover from A Court of Thorns and Roses- seriously, everyone should read those books!- I had not anticipated the serious emotional roller coaster that this book would take me on. I am embarrassed to admit that before picking up this book I had not heard of Chevy Stevens or any of her books, now I plan to seek them out in the hopes of reading something similar to what That Night was. I love books that give you all the feels! 

The first half of the book flips back and forth between past and present, which at times was a little frustrating because both were interesting enough that I just wanted to know what happened and then move on. Towards the middle of the book the tense changes were starting to get on my nerves, and at one point I completely lost interest in them. The past specifically got boring because it didn't matter what happened to Toni after she was arrested, we get the point, she went to jail. Hence her getting into a halfway house in the present tense chapters. It was overkill with how long it dragged on for. 

I was also thrown off by the amount of time that the author spent flipping back and forth before settling on present tense and continuing with Toni's story. So much more time was spent characterizing the time Toni spent leaving prison and acclimating herself back into the real world than on redeeming herself and proving her innocence. It made the back half of the book feel rushed. 

Despite my dissatisfaction of the way the book progressed the story made up for it. There was so much emotion felt for both Toni and Ryan and their situation. It was heartbreaking and I found myself in tears more than once. You get to see Toni's character persevere through so much catastrophe and still try so hard to live a productive and free life. She tries to reestablish herself, get a job, get a dog, reconnect with her family (don't even get me started on her twat of a mother!), only to hit setback after setback. The hardest part of reading this is that people go though this everyday; trying to re-acclimate themselves back into society after prison. I spent quite a lot of the time wondering how often innocent people go through things like this. How often they have to earn back the trust of society and their family and friends after being wrongly convicted. How awful that must be for them.

This book also acknowledges bullying in a very real way, demonstrating how the constant bullying done to a young person can affect every aspect of their lives. The author wrote some very real scenes of how Toni couldn't escape the bullying she received, even in her own home and how it affected her to the point that she just wanted to run away from it. She felt there was no escape other than to graduate school and move away, escape the situation where she felt it affected her the most. The entire situation was horrifying, and as a parent of young kids, I'm not ashamed to admit that the idea of it happening to my children scared the hell out of me.

Throw into all of that the mystery of who actually killed Toni's sister and why and this book was hard to put down. Sometimes I get so lost in the YA fantasy book world that I forget how complex and suspenseful other genres can be, how they too can satiate my need for great books. This book was a great reminder of that.

Final Rating:
Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

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