Rating: 3.5 / 5
THE NIGHT OLIVIA FELL by Christina McDonald is a book I have had on my TBR since it came out! When I joined the #spookathon readathon last week, I picked this as my book with red on the cover. Mostly the red is the spine, but the readathon didn’t require a LOT of red, so this one worked for me!
Abi Knight is woken up by the phone and while she wants to deny what she’s hearing, she must face the reality that her teenage daughter is in the hospital after a fall of a bridge. She arrives at the hospital to even worse news, her daughter Olivia has no brain activity. On top of that, Abi learns that Olivia is pregnant and must be kept alive by artificial means to try to allow the baby to grow and thrive.
Abi is convinced that her daughter’s deadly accident wasn’t an accident after all. She sees bruises on her daughter’s wrist and other things that don’t quite seem to add up. She begins to advocate for the police to investigate, but they appear to be shutting her down at every turn. With her daughter on life support, Abi has time on her hands to do some investigating on her own, digging into the life of the daughter she thought she really knew.
This book is told in two voices and time periods. Abi’s story is narrated from the moment she gets the phone call and through her investigation of her daughter’s life. Intermixed with this narrative are the chapters narrated by Olivia, telling us the events that lead up to her fall from the bridge. It was a very interesting way to tell the story. From the very beginning we know that there is no happy ending ahead, Olivia is brain dead and the emotions that generates color the entire book.
Abi is a very nervous mother, calling her daughter multiple times a day to make sure things are okay and restricting her daughter’s activities to keep her safe. From Abi’s point of view, we begin to see some of the reasons this was the case. From Olivia’s perspective we see the close relationship they have, but also how Olivia has worked around her mother’s restrictions. It was interesting to see where the narratives agreed and where they didn’t.
I think this book fell more into the mystery category for me than suspense or thriller. I read the majority of this one via audiobook which was well done and it was a great one to listen to while doing some mindless tasks around the house and at work. There were a few twists that I didn’t expect, but I felt that I had a pretty good idea of the answer to the big mystery of what happened to Olivia by midway through the story. Still, it was interesting to see how all of the final pieces fell into place in the conclusion.
Overall this is one that I enjoyed as a very light, quick read.