Updated: Mar 29, 2020
"Hello everyone. My name is Melanie and I am a book cover judger and new release bandwagon jumper. I fully admit that I have a problem when it comes to a gorgeous book cover or a highly anticipated new release."
Phew! Now that I have that out of the way, admitting it is the first step to recovery, right?
I recently fell under the intensely hyped spell of The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald. I feel as though sometimes the over-hyped books make me set my expectations too high, which almost always results in me being disappointed. This happened in the case with The Night Olivia Fell. Overall, I felt it was a good book, but I had unrealistic expectations going into it and I know I would have enjoyed it more if that were not the case. This book was marketed as a thriller, with the "whodunnit" feel of Big Little Lies and similar "mother trying to uncover the secrets of her daughter's death" storyline of Reconstructing Amelia.
The Night Olivia Fell is written from the point of views of Abi and her daughter Olivia. Each chapters switches between each POV and from past to present. The reader follows the story of Olivia, an 18 year old girl with a bright future who becomes brain dead following her fall off a bridge. The plot twist is that Olivia happens to be pregnant and State of Washington laws require she remain on life support to allow the baby a chance at life. Abi is heartbroken over her daughter's fall and refuses to believe it was an accident or suicide attempt. She is determined to figure out what happened the night Olivia fell.
I enjoyed the multiple perspectives and alternating timeframes. It made the book read fairly fast. The reader does not find out what happened to Olivia until the last few chapters. I felt as though some of the "plot twists" were obvious. The book was marketed as a thriller, but I felt as though the tone of the writing was much lighter than a typical thriller. I enjoy more depth when I'm reading a suspense story, but that also contributed to it being a quick and easy read.
Overall, I rated the book ★★★.5 stars. Not my favorite read of 2019, but not my least favorite.
****SPOILER! Do not continue reading if you plan to read this book, otherwise continue to read my honest thoughts.****
I read this book as a buddy read with a handful of amazing bookstagrammers I have met the past few months. We opted to discuss the book midway and at the end, which made it more enjoyable. We also discussed theories half way though. We all felt as though the book was predictable and lacked serious depth that you typically find in a thriller. Regardless, it was still fun to read and discuss each other's theories. My theory was that Anthony, the man who was helping Abi figure out what happened to Olivia, had something to do with her death. I was very off. I think that is the skeptic in me, always thinking that the person who is "too nice," is probably also guilty. The fact that Olivia's high school ex-boyfriend was the one who pushed her in a fit of rage fell flat. I was not impressed with the ending and it did not have much shock value. I did feel as though the book gave me closure at the end with the birth of Olivia's daughter, Olivia being taken off life support, and the characters moving on with their lives. I admit, I shed some tears when Olivia's daughter was born and placed on her chest when she took her last breaths. I am not sure how any mother can read that and not have emotion evoked!Another slight annoyance I had with The Night Olivia Fell is how unrealistic the storyline was. Abi starts conducting her own investigation on how Olivia died, which is fine, but at one point she meets up with a Detective and is allowed to tag along on an interview of a potential suspect. Being that I work in a law enforcement capacity, this is so unbelievable that I had a hard time getting past it. There were also a lot of politics that interfered with the investigation that the author did not expand on, but quickly wrapped them up at the end. They seem like they were meant to throw the reader off, but I felt as though they were unnecessary and the conclusions were rushed at the end. Again, these are my own opinions and perspective, you might not feel the same.