Unless you fall within the targeted demographic of young-adult fiction readers, you’ve likely not heard of Night School, C.J. Daugherty’s series of heroine-led boarding school novels. It’s a suspenseful collection, filled with love-triangles and mischief and held together by the ominous threat of the school’s secret society—the name of which gives the series its title. Daugherty cites for inspiration the Bullingdon Club—Oxford’s dining society long associated with wealth, privilege, trashing restaurants, and burning money in the faces of the homeless—but the best point of reference might be all those other things your aging self didn’t know existed until they started to appear on billboards.
Night School hasn’t yet hit the silver screen, but it has launched a webseries, written by Daugherty and hoping to tap into the same market that embraced The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Rachel Caine’s Morganville.
Initially the series will consist of six original short films set within the Night School universe—both present and past—that follow the book’s lead character, Allie Sheridan, as she navigates the strange happenings of Cimmeria Academy. The stories are not taken directly from the books, but they’re a good chance for Daugherty to contextualize existing narratives. For example the first episode, “Flashback,” delves into Allie’s backstory and the reasons why she has moved to a new school.
It’s unashamedly not for everyone, but it’s a nice-looking production—and the first young adult webseries, Daugherty claims, of this scale to be produced in the United Kingdom. And while her reasoning for its creation—because she wants “kids to turn off the Internet for a few minutes and read a book”—seems contrary to her methods, at the very least treat this as a heads-up as to what your younger sister or daughter will be talking about in a few weeks.
Screengrab via Night School/YouTube