The Night Olivia Fellby Christina McDonald Published 05 Feb 2019
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In the vein of Big Little Lies and Reconstructing Amelia comes an emotionally charged domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth behind how her daughter became brain dead. And pregnant.
A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.
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 heartwrenching 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?
"The Night Olivia Fell" Reviews
“What do you do when you know something and nobody will listen? When you need answers and nobody will provide them? When you can’t trust anybody to help you?”
A rage was surging through Abi’s body. Her daughter Olivia was brain dead - and pregnant.
Abi doesn’t believe it was an accident that Olivia fell from the bridge - but getting the detectives - Samson and McNally to listen to what she has to say - take her seriously- is like pulling teeth. Whether they help her or not - Abi is going to find out what happened to her daughter. Go Mom!
As the story unfolds - we learn about Olivia’s world. We not only learn about her friends - guys & girls - ( of course suspecting any one of them as to who might have pushed Olivia off that bridge), but we learn what’s driving Olivia into a recent frenzy.
She spends a ridiculous amount of time googling a girl named Kendall. There’s a reason.....one she hasn’t shared with her mother - in spite of the fact that they’ve had a pretty close relationship.
We also are privy to Olivia’s thoughts - feelings - observations - and assessments towards others - often projecting how her friends and/or mom would think, feel, react, in any given situation.
Olivia was a smart cookie - she knew where to draw the line with each of her friends and mom. Olivia anticipated her mother’s worries - and therefore was extra responsible in texting her mother - staying ahead of her mother’s concern’s....giving her comfort-security .....( weather true or false)....when she was away from home.
Even straight A students - like Olivia and not into drugs - can become agitated and down right angry. Olivia was tired of being lied to..... which she knew her mother and friends both were doing. But WHY?
Abigail Knight - Abi- is focused on the investigation, yet we get backstory on her life too. She’s the most complex character in this novel.
She was an overprotective mother. Insecure with who she was. Her own mother committed suicide when she was a teenager. Her childhood obviously affected the way she was with Olivia. We do witness Abi’s growth and strength over time.
Through the tragedy - from when Olivia fell - Abi discovers she didn’t know everything about her daughter. It was an ‘a-ha’ surprising revelation to her.
Personally - I’m puzzled when parents think they ‘do’ know everything about their teenager.
No matter how close a mother/daughter relationship might be - they are both independent of one another.
This was a plausible enjoyable domestic thriller. Good - not over-the-top mind blowing gripping - rather it was a tender-heart - mystery thriller through the soul of a mother who loves her daughter.....and vice versa.
Thank You Netgalley, Gallery Books, and Christina McDonald
5 BIG Beautiful Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
wOWZA! This book took me on quite the emotional journey! As a mother I couldn’t help but completely empathize with Abi(The mother in this story)... I cried with her... I raged with her... I hoped with her... my mama bear was out throughout this book, I needed answers and I needed them now! Imagining my own daughter in the hospital bed brain-dead and pregnant, quite honestly made me a little sick and stressed... this is a credit to the beautiful and engrossing writing in this book, I was completely immersed and committed.... The fact that this is Christina McDonald’s debut is simply.... impressive!
Abi gets that phone call in the middle of the night that all parents fear... her daughter is in the hospital, she has fallen off a bridge...Abi’s mothers intuition tells her this was not an accident and this is reinforced by the bruises around her daughter’s wrist.... The police don’t appear to be doing much of anything to find out who pushed Olivia off that bridge.... but Abi is determined and will stop at nothing to find out who hurt her little girl...
Told from both Abi and Olivia‘s perspectives... we get the events leading up to this tragedy from Olivia‘s eyes... as well as watching Abi’s heart wrenching journey... not only to accept that she has lost her daughter, but also to figure out how this could have happened.... this was such an impactful way to tell the story because the more I got to know Olivia the more my heart broke right along with Abi’s.... also Christina McDonnell did a fabulous job with getting into the mind of both a 17-year-old and her mother.... I saw a lot of myself in both of these characters...
This was an emotional domestic suspense... as the book progressed I was suspicious of almost everyone at some point... I also found myself questioning both Olivia and Abbi’s actions... I kept thinking if only.... then... but isn’t that what life is all about? every choice we make has an impact on our lives.... had Abby told Olivia who her father was, then maybe? Had Olivia told her mother who she had fallen in love with, then perhaps? So many questions and no good answers and as we all know hindsight is always 20/20...
This is a book that left me with tears in my eyes and hope in my heart! I absolutely recommend for anyone who enjoys A beautiful story about the love between mothers and daughters with a huge dose of suspense thrown in....
*** many thanks to Christina McDonald and Gallery for my copy of this book the book releases in February 2019 ***
I rolled over and peered at my alarm clock. The red lights blinked 4:48 a.m. Nobody called at this time of night with good news.
”Hello, is this Abagail Knight?” The voice —a man’s—was low and tight, coiled like a viper about to strike.
”This is Portage Point Hospital. It’s about your daughter, Olivia. I’m afraid there’s been an accident.”
And so the mystery and intrigue begins ... A mother’s worst nightmare becomes her reality and she sets out for the hard fought truth.
Questions, lies and secrets are paramount in this storyline. Questions, lies and secrets are responsible for the strained relationship between Abagail, a single mom, and her seventeen year old daughter, Olivia.
...I’d worried for so long that all the lies I kept hidden on the dark side of my heart would one day be washed into the open. These lies, my past, kept me always on guard.
I read this book in nearly one sitting. It was just so compelling, so unique, so irresistible. The dual POV narration between mother and daughter were icing on the cake.
What a phenomenal debut novel. I will definitely be on the lookout for Christina McDonald’s next release.
*Thank you Net Galley for a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.*
Heart-wrenching, emotional, beautiful, suspenseful, thought-provoking, and uplifting—this is a book that is filled with love in many forms, and that I won’t soon forget! When I read a book and I start to fall for the characters, I know that it will quickly become a favorite of mine. This book made me think about the impact of a single moment in time, and the ripple effect on the lives of those surrounding a young woman. It made me think about the chain of events that lead up to and away from a tragedy, and how we go about getting answers and finding a way to move forward when the worst happens. It is a story about the love of a mother, and the unrelenting pursuit of justice for her daughter.
About the Book
Early one morning, Abi Knight is awoken with the worst news a mother can hear—there’s been an accident and her daughter Olivia is in the hospital in critical condition. By the time Abi arrives, she receives the news that Olivia has fallen off of a bridge and won’t ever wake up again. There has been irreversible damage to her brain.
Devastated, Abi wonders how to say goodbye to her only daughter and best friend. But there’s a catch—the doctors can’t pull life support from Olivia by law, because Olivia is pregnant. Shocked, Abi wonders how Olivia’s life got to this point with her being unaware. What happened that night? And how long has Olivia been pregnant? Did she know? Why didn’t she tell Abi, who was herself a teenage mother?
As Abi becomes determined to find the answers she seeks, the carefully constructed life she has created for herself and her daughter begins to unravel. A lie she told comes back to haunt her, and the secrets of Olivia’s life begin to surface. But despite all of the lies, Abi is certain Olivia’s death was not an accident. Her bracelet is missing, and there are bruises around her wrist. A string of text messages and digital clues may hold the answer to Olivia’s final hours.
What really happened the night Olivia fell?
What an incredible debut novel by Christina McDonald this is! I want to first speak on her writing—it is incredibly filled with detail that makes the scenes and emotions leap right off the page. For instance, as Abi rushes to the hospital early one rainy morning, reeling from the call from the doctor about Olivia, McDonald describes the sensory details of that trip. The wet leaf caught on the windshield, being moved around by the wiper blades before finally tearing. The squeal of tires and grip of the steering wheel as she tries to balance her panic with arriving safely. The sharp contrast between the bright lights and the dark hours of the morning, glistening on the damp pavement. The shakiness in her legs. Her writing is like this throughout the book, contrasting the inner monologue of the characters with the detail of their surroundings. You can easily picture this book as a film, watching it play out before your eyes.
And the story itself is one that will leave you thinking about these characters long after you finish. It is charged with emotion, taut with tension, softened by the love of a mother and her grief. The horror I felt for Abi, hearing updates on the health of her grandchild while knowing that the birth of the baby would mean the death of her daughter—it almost overwhelmed me imagining what that would feel like. How can she be happy about her grandchild when she knows it will mean she has to let Olivia go? Abi was a character that I completely fell for. She is aware of her own shortcomings, tries to do what is best, and stumbles along the way. Abi felt like someone I could know in real life. Someone I may have passed on the street one time, wondering what demons haunted her eyes.
We also hear some of the story from Olivia’s perspective, in the months leading up to the accident. I loved the way these chapters were written—almost like a young adult novel. They had the voice of a teenage girl. McDonald captured the worry and impulsivity of a seventeen year old perfectly. These chapters were so important, because without them Olivia would only exist for us through the eyes and heart of her mother Abi. But Olivia herself is full of life and hope and teenage heart ache. It would be easy to have Olivia sainted through the eyes of Abi, but instead we see her—as imperfect and full of love as she is. With a life filled with potential, taken from her before her time.
I read this book with the 5 of my book besties!!! We absolutely loved it. See my full review here!
Huh?! Did I read the same book as everyone else?
I am not going to go into great detail critiquing what didn’t work for me, but I will say I couldn’t look past the following: predictable plot, stilted dialogue, cliched characters, juvenile writing, and plot holes abound. I grew sick of constantly being told what happened vs. being able to see what happened.
I bumped up my rating for the ending--the emotion shined through and felt more natural than the rest of the book.
I think I am the only person who didn’t love this book, so feel to ignore my review and enjoy for yourself.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review.
I normally take a couple of days when I finish a book to digest it and think about what I want to say but here I am just minutes after finishing The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald writing my review as fast as I can realizing that there is no need dwelling on this book because it was so riveting, raw and real. My gut feeling and the emotional reaction to this book are telling everyone out there that this is good, really good. It feeds ask of your emotions and curiosity, leaving you fulfilled and yet sad that like all good books, it ended.
The story starts out with a mothers worst nightmare as Abi Knight gets a call from the hospital that her 17 year old daughter, Olivia, has fallen off a bridge. Single mom, Abi, races to the hospital and rushes to see her daughter, knowing that Olivia will be fine, she just needs to see her and Abi will make it alright. But she can't. After the doctor gives her the most gut-wrenching and tragic news possible, Olivia is brain dead, the doctor then drops the bombshell that Olivia is pregnant and will be kept alive due to state law until the baby can be born. What? How can my beautiful virgin daughter be pregnant is what goes through Abi's "thousand thoughts a minute" mind? How did she fall off the bridge and not survive since Olivia was a champion high school swimmer? What was Olivia doing out so late when she always came home on time? As Abi deals with the grief of losing her daughter when the baby comes, she seeks answers to all of her immediate questions and as the story unfolds, there are more and more questions that will be asked and ultimately answered about that night and the months before Olivia's fateful fall. The characters in this story are realistic and believable although not all are likable. While no one is perfect, a mother's love is. Read this book and you will feel the gamut of emotions. So curl up in your favorite chair with the beverage of your choosing for a great read. Just make sure to have tissues handy. Christina McDonald's book was one of the first books I've read this year and other books will have a tough act to follow. Thank you to Netgalley and Galley Books for an advance copy of this book. #NetGalley #TheNightOliviaFell