Author: Christina McDonald
Platform: Once Upon a Book Club
On a night like any other, when single mother Abi falls asleep hard and fast, her teenage daughter, Olivia, has sneaked out of the home. As any mother knows, a call in the middle of the night can never be good news; so when Abi answers the phone, her stomach is a pit. Her daughter is in the hospital, brain-dead, after a fall from the bridge. As if that information wasn’t hard enough for her to digest, Olivia is pregnant. Who is the father? Was Olivia’s ‘fall’ really an accident? Why is it so hard to convince the police to look into it? How do you move on when the core of your life lies motionless and empty in the hospital?
The Night Olivia Fell follows her mother’s frazzled journey to finding answers about the events surrounding Olivia’s fall. While battling through personal demons, her own mistakes, and the effects of being an overly controlling (but loving) parent, Abi sleuths her way through her own assumptions to find justice for her daughter and learn to love the budding life in her belly.
This book is written by switching POV’s from Abi (current) and Olivia (past). We slowly find out what happened to Olivia through her own words while we watch Abi try to come to the same result.
At first, I had a hard time with this book. Olivia’s passages are written the way a real teenager would talk and words like “thot” are used. I think we can all agree that it’s cringe-worthy to read the word “thot” in a piece of literary art…
As I continued reading, however, Olivia’s point of view became softer – more adult. I think that this was either smartly representative of Olivia growing and maturing or McDonald just gave up writing in “teen”.
My advice: push through.
I enjoyed reading this book. It was full of raw emotion. The love and pain that the characters experienced was tangible
and I even found myself tearing up at times.
I’ll admit that there were parts of the book that seemed disjointed. Some revelations felt forced or watered down. I felt a lot of hints at Abi’s failing sanity that were never really addressed. And considering mental illness runs in her family, I felt like that should have been a bigger block of the story.
TLDR; Did I enjoy my time with this book? Yes. Would I recommend this book to someone else? Probably not before a long list of others.