THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens
*This post was originally written on 7/9/14. I’m reposting it because it is now out in paperback AND…..I have a copy to give away! The first person that comments below saying they would like it, gets it!)
(Summary taken from shereads.org)
“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.”
July’s SheReads selection is “That Night” by Chevy Stevens. This is the first time SheReads has selected a suspense, murder mystery, and I was excited to read it. Chapter One intrigued me. There is this woman who is getting out of prison after what sounds like a very long sentence. I wondered what she had done to be imprisoned for so long. I wondered why she didn’t have any family to pick her up or get her new clothes to wear. I wanted to know more of the story. And then I got to Chapter Two. Chapter Two flashes back to this same woman when she was in high school. Her name is Toni, as you later figure out. And that is where I lost interest. Seriously. I’ve read a bunch of the SheReads reviews of this book, and so far I’m the only one who didn’t enjoy it. I think this is why: I am 100% opposite of Toni. I’m opposite in every way. I could not relate to her at all. Yep, I’m the one who was called “good-goody” and “teacher’s pet” in school. I’m the one who would study rather than go to a party. I’ve never done drugs, smoked, or tasted alcohol. Those things never interested me in school, and they don’t now. I know I’m in the minority in this so others may feel differently, but I just couldn’t relate to her. I found her extremely unlikable and disagreeable. I cringed at all the things she did and started praying that my kids won’t do those things. I didn’t relate to Ryan either. Or Nicole. Or the friends. Or her parents. Ok, Toni’s dad is probably the one person I kind of liked. But he wasn’t that great either. It’s not that I judge her, or anyone, for choosing those things, I don’t, I just do not do them myself, and therefore can’t relate to those experiences. The writing style was ok; there were some twists and turns that I hadn’t anticipated. The character development was good. Even though it flashed back and forth between the present and the past it was fairly easy to follow, so that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I didn’t like Toni or Ryan or really anyone. I couldn’t find a way to like them or care about them. I also felt like Toni being bullied in high school, prison, the half-way house, and after was unrealistic. I didn’t like her victim mentality. It just kept going and going. I did feel bad that they had been in prison if they were innocent, like they claimed, but that’s as far as it went. And if she were that worried about being bullied, why would she go back there? Why not move somewhere completely different and get a fresh start? The other problem for me was the language. There is so much profanity in this book that I found it distracting. And it’s not that easy to skip words, it’s them plus dozens of the “f’ word. And the teen-age intimacy, drug use, smoking. All of it put together just made this book completely unappealing to me.
There is a gruesome murder, lots of teen-age intimacy, smoking, drug use, stealing, lying, fighting, and way too much profanity. There are dozens of “f” words and lots of the other words. I guess it did do a few things for me: if I had ever thought of wanting to go to prison (which I haven’t)–I FOR SURE don’t want to now! Also, Toni does realize that her drug use was a problem and she ends up quitting. So that was a positive.
Rating: R (Murder, teen-age intimacy, smoking, drug use, stealing, lying, fighting, lots of profanity, including many “f” words)
Recommendation: Adult (This book is NOT appropriate for YA or anyone younger than an adult.)
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.