Review: That Night by Chevy Stevens

Book Title: That Night
Author: Chevy Stevens
Publish Date: June 17th, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

Disclaimer: I received this print ARC from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
I was unbelievably excited to receive an ARC of this book. I fell in love with Chevy Stevens’ books last summer so I was eagerly anticipating her newest book. I got a major surprise when I got a package from St. Martin’s Press with this book inside of it. I hadn’t emailed a request or anything, so it really was a shock to get it.

The first 80 pages were really slow and I was upset about that because it was a far cry from her previous books that had just jumped right into the twists and turns. This book spent more time setting the scene. Actually the readers were being told too different scenes. Toni’s jail time and what happened before she ended up in jail. Thankfully, it was written so that there was no confusion on the timelines. I knew exactly where she was in each of the flashbacks.

I felt it hard to drum up any sort of sympathy for Toni. Plus I really didn’t like Ryan either. I actually liked Nicole best, even though we didn’t get to see much of her. Shauna was an awful girl. Both in the flashbacks and in present day.I did get the feeling that Shauna was the ringleader of the “Mean Girls” and that the other girls were probably afraid of her.

I did feel a bit of sympathy when it came to Toni’s parents.I mean, holy crap, her mom was awful to her and I actually found myself defending Toni when it came to her mom. I mean, yes it’s got to be awful to have your youngest daughter murdered, but why turn your back on your oldest daughter? I mean favoritism was clearly shown in this book and that made me angry.

Ryan was so underdeveloped as a character. I wanted to know more about him, his time in prison and who he thought really murdered his girlfriend’s little sister. I think Ryan really got the short end of the stick when it comes to character development. We only heard about Toni’s time in jail, when I know that Ryan’s imprisonment must have been even harder.

Ashley’s appearance felt random. I mean, I know how she was supposed to be connected to the story, but it felt too convenient. I liked her, but I didn’t really understand why she was necessary to the story. At times, it kind of felt like she was an afterthought.

The twist at the end seemed cliched. It felt like it was a twist that I had seen in a dozen other thriller books. So I wasn’t shocked or surprised by it. Actually I was annoyed that the author chose to make this the twist, rather than think outside the box. So I’ll be giving this book 3 stars. It wasn’t terrible, but it definitely was not her best book.

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