Book Notes

Book Notes: Review of “The Night Olivia Fell” by Christina McDonald

Book lovers, it’s been a wild few weeks.  Crazy weather, lots of activities… and thankfully, a lot of reading!  I’ve read a few books for which I didn’t do blog posts… if you want to catch up on what I’ve read, you can visit my Goodreads profile!  (Are we connected on Goodreads?  If not, follow my reviews or send me a request!)

So, I read another book today (yes, all of it today) and I just had to post about this one.  Whenever a book gets a TON of buzz, I’m curious about it but sometimes hesitant to read it.  Because, what if I’m the only one on earth who didn’t love it?!?  (It happens occasionally.)

But when I read about this book, it sounded so fantastic that I knew it had to go on my list…. and readers, I was NOT disappointed!!

 

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The Night Olivia Fell is the debut novel from Christina McDonald.  This multi-layered story has it all:  intrigue, a strong but complex mother-daughter relationship, teenage romance (and friendship drama), and a roller coaster of emotion that as a parent, left me sort of dazed.

 

Here’s the description:

In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.

When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?

Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heart-wrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?

 

Wow, right?  But wait, there’s more!!

(Fair warning:  there may be a few minor spoilers past this point… my lips are sealed on what happened to Olivia and how things end, but if you don’t want to know ANYTHING else about the story, you may want to stop here for now and go pick up the book!)

 

Here are some other things going on in this novel:

  • Olivia has never known her father; Abi told her that he died before she was even born.  So why is Abi so close-lipped about him, and why does Olivia think there’s more to the story?
  • Abi has trust issues, and her whole world revolved around her daughter.  Who does she turn to, and who can she have faith in when that world crumbles?
  • Abi’s own mother had mental health issues, and Abi herself has dealt with anxiety.
  • Olivia has a boyfriend who’s going through troubles of his own, a hot and cold best friend, and a new friend who turns Olivia’s world upside down.

 

There’s a LOT to unpack in this book.  And as we go through the story, there is suspicion everywhere… it turns out Olivia’s life was not all as it seemed on the surface, and several things were going on that may have given people a reason to be angry with her… and therefore, maybe a motive to harm her.

As we meet the characters and learn more about the relationships each of them had with Olivia, I found myself considering the motives of each.  I had strong hunches at several different points throughout the book… almost all of which turned out wrong! (Oops.)

One of the things that I think added to this novel was the dual point-of view, alternating between Olivia (starting about six months before her death and bringing us up to that fateful night) and Abi (both in the present and the past).  I don’t always love multiple POV in books; sometimes it just adds unnecessary confusion.  But here it really works, because it reveals additional layers of the story and lets events unfold at a good pace.

At the close of the book, as all is revealed, it was heartbreaking to learn what transpired on the night that Olivia fell.  There was no shocking plot twist (as in, say, Gone Girl), but enough pieces kept being added that I was still guessing until shortly before the end.  And the scene in which Abi finally says goodbye to her daughter is so emotional and heartfelt.

This was a well written book and I look forward to reading more from this author.  I give The Night Olivia Fell four solid stars… it is out now and highly recommended!

 

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Purchase The Night Olivia Fell:      Amazon      Barnes & Noble

 

If you’ve read this one, let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Next up, I’m diving back into cozy mysteries!  I’m starting a series by a new-to-me author, James Cudney.  I’ve interacted with him online (he’s also a prolific book reviewer) and can’t wait to dive into his new series, the Braxton Campus Mysteries.

I have the first two ready to read, and the third installment is coming this spring… and, I’m excited to announce that I get to participate in the cover reveal for the upcoming title!  Check back on the blog this Friday!  And in the meantime, of course… happy reading!

 

This post contains affiliate links, which allow me the opportunity to earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.  Please see my policies for further information.

My thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for a complimentary digital review copy of this title.  All opinions are my own.

 

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2 thoughts on “Book Notes: Review of “The Night Olivia Fell” by Christina McDonald”

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