The Night Olivia Fell

The Night Olivia Fell

by Christina McDonald


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501184000
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 02/05/2019
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 12,368
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Christina McDonald is an author, journalist, and copywriter, and has worked for companies such as The Sunday Times, Dublin, The Connacht Tribune, Galway, Expedia, USA TODAY, Travelex, and Pearson Publishing. Originally from Seattle, WA, she holds an MA in Journalism from the National University of Ireland Galway, and now lives in London, England.

Read an Excerpt

The Night Olivia Fell

  • “You want the truth? I’m—” My admission was cut off by a streak of blazing hot pain as something exploded against the side of my head. My brain barely registered the blow, my vision a dusky blur of red, pain searing into my skull and down my jaw. I felt my body spin with the force of it.

    I reeled backward until my legs whacked against the low cement wall and I tumbled over, my body hurtling sideways across the ledge. A dark fog pressed against my outer vision, and before I knew it I was falling, plunging into empty space.

    I hit the river on my back, my eyes fastened on the bridge’s soaring spires illuminated by a flickering streetlamp.

    Then the shadowy water tipped me under.

  • Reading Group Guide

    This readers group guide for The Night Olivia Fell includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Christina McDonald. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

    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?

    Topics and Questions for Discussion

    1. Consider the novel’s structure of Abi’s and Olivia’s alternating viewpoints and time periods. How do you think the reading experience might have been different if the story had been told chronologically? What about if it had been told by either one narrator or from a third-person point of view?

    2. Compare and contrast Abi’s and Olivia’s perceptions of each other from what we learn about each woman through their own words in their designated chapters. Discuss the discrepancies between who they are and who the other person thinks they are.

    3. It’s clear that Abi and Olivia love each other deeply, but as with any mother-daughter relationship, they sometimes misunderstand each other. Are there any moments in the novel in which you feel they could have communicated better? Do any of these scenes remind you of moments in your own life with your mother or daughter? If you feel comfortable doing so, consider sharing them with your book club.

    4. “Mom told me I should stand up to her. Tyler said I always saw the best in people. The truth was, neither of them was right. I was just scared of not being liked” (p. 12). Discuss this statement of Olivia’s and compare it to Abi’s statement of “I was really more of an observer than a participator. I was better at standing on the sidelines” (p. 43). While Olivia may seem more social on the outside, how do both women isolate themselves from others?

    5. When Anthony tells Abi that he’s “just grateful I have [my mother] at all,” Abi thinks, “It was a funny answer, so different from how I would look at it. But he was right” (p. 113). What else does Abi learn from Anthony about coping with grief?

    6. Sarah tells Olivia about an experiment from her college psychology class where the teacher asked the class if they would prefer happiness or truth. Sarah’s class chose happiness, but Olivia says she would choose truth, and claims that it brings happiness in itself. Consider these two statements. Do you think truth and happiness are mutually exclusive? Which would you choose?

    7. “I was scared. Of rejection. Of loss. Of hurt. Of being anything other than Olivia’s mom” (p. 143). Why do you think Abi uses being a mother—the most vulnerable occupation of all—as a crutch to protect herself from the world?

    8. When Kendall pretends she doesn’t know Olivia, Olivia is deeply hurt, and says that “the rejection was like acid in my stomach. I didn’t know what I’d done wrong” (p. 153). Compare Olivia’s feelings of rejection from Kendall, her half-sister, to Abi’s feelings of rejection from Gavin, Olivia’s father, years ago.

    9. “Being a mother wasn’t something you just ‘handled’ . . . her death didn’t have anything to do with me at all” (p. 189). How do you think reading her mother’s suicide note and learning more about her mother’s death helped Abi cope with losing Olivia?

    10. Mother-daughter relationships form the core of The Night Olivia Fell. Compare and contrast the relationships between Abi and Olivia, Abi and her mother, Olivia and her baby, as well as the relationship between Abi and Sarah, who plays a maternal role in Abi’s life, the relationship between Madison and Jen, and any others you can think of!

    11. When Kendall and Olivia spend time together, Olivia eventually realizes she’s fond of her. “It was cool that she might be my sister. I’d always wanted siblings” (p. 171). Compare Kendall and Olivia’s relationship as half-sisters to Abi’s relationship with Sarah.

    12. “If my mom had gotten an abortion, I wouldn’t even be alive, so I couldn’t do that to this baby”(p. 276). Compare Olivia’s reaction to her pregnancy to Abi’s reaction to her pregnancy with Olivia years before.

    13. Olivia says, “My mom taught me that: Look to the future and you won’t stumble on the present . . . I knew now why she was like that, and maybe it wasn’t something you could unlearn, but I didn’t want to be like that” (p. 291). Discuss the merits of living in the present versus planning with the future with your book club. Is there a way to balance both in our lives?

    14. Author Christina McDonald keeps us guessing throughout the novel on who was ultimately to blame for Olivia’s tragic death. When the guilty party is revealed, was it the person you suspected? Why or why not? If not, who else did you suspect, and why?

    15. Throughout the novel in the present day, Olivia is kept on life support so she can carry her unborn child to term. Is it morally or ethically right to keep a woman, let alone a teenager, on life support to keep a baby alive? Respectfully discuss your views with your book club.

    16. “I let myself stand on that cliff and peer over the edge into the future, at the happiness that I could have one day if I would only allow it” (p. 129). Do you think Abi finally allows happiness to come to her at the end of the novel? How else does she grow as a character at the end of the novel?

    Enhance Your Book Club

    1. Consider reading other novels centering around domestic suspense and mothers and daughters with your book club, such as Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight or What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross. Compare their similarities and differences with The Night Olivia Fell.

    2. The lush landscape of the Pacific Northwest is featured prominently in The Night Olivia Fell. To better understand the novel’s setting, do some Internet research on some of the locales the novel mentions, such as Puget Sound, the University of Washington, and Mercer Island—or, if you live in the area, consider a field trip!

    3. At one point in the novel, Derek claims that he didn’t tell the police he was the baby’s father because “I’ve seen CSI . . . they’d think I was the one who hurt Olivia or something” (p. 241). Consider watching an episode of a crime TV show like CSI with your book club, and discussing how television influences our views of criminal investigations. Compare them to the novel’s treatment of crime—what similarities or differences do you notice? Is one more believable than the other? Why do you think so?

    4. Visit the author’s website at to learn more about her. Research some of her journalism for outlets such as The Sunday Times (Dublin), the Galway Independent, or the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

    A Conversation with Christina McDonald

    What inspired you to write The Night Olivia Fell? How did you visualize the cast of rich and varied characters and their emotions?

    Back in 2013 I was rocking my new baby to sleep while reading the news on my phone. I came across a story about a teenager in California, Jahi McMath, who had been declared brain-dead after a routine tonsillectomy went wrong. My first thought was for the girl’s mother and how utterly heartbreaking it would be to lose your child. I think this is every mother’s biggest fear – it’s certainly mine!

    After reading that story, I looked down at my new baby and imagined myself in Jahi’s mom’s position, and I started asking myself, “What if?” What if her daughter was pregnant? Would that be a comfort or a curse? What if she’d suffered her own tragedies in her past? What if she were a single parent? What if she thought her daughter had been murdered, but nobody believed her? And thus was born The Night Olivia Fell.

    How does your experience as a journalist and copywriter inform your fiction writing? Do you find any connections between writing news and writing thrillers?

    I started as a journalist, so obviously I’ve seen some crazy stories. I think a lot of these stories cemented in my head and they’ve given me a great launching point. But to write a novel you have to connect with your characters and the journey they go through. I learned that in copywriting. As a digital copywriter I had to guide a reader through different steps to get to the resolution I wanted them to reach, much the way an author has to when writing a book.

    Being a copywriter and journalist gave me a huge appreciation for emotion, mostly because you have to take it all out when writing a piece. I like feeling things; I like the emotion I feel when I read, so this is the aspect where I feel most free when writing a book. Using sensory words that are vivid and evoke a taste or a smell—those things get lost a little in news (less so for copywriting), but I love words and how rich and varied they are.

    You were born in the Seattle area, where the novel takes place, and you render the area’s atmosphere so vividly throughout the novel. Can you talk about why you chose Seattle as the book’s setting?

    I chose Seattle and the Puget Sound area literally because I was born there and have such a great history of experiences there. It was an easy place to use as a setting because it is so beautiful and varied. And I figure if you know it, write it. So I did!

    Besides Seattle, you’ve also lived in Ireland and London. Can you talk a bit about how each place informed your worldview, and subsequently, your writing?

    I think each place I’ve lived has given me a rich perspective in seeing how people live, gathering more details about location, and meeting a variety of wonderful people. I’ve seen so many different people living different lives and having different experiences than what I would’ve done just by living in one place.

    It’s (I hope!) also made me far more open-minded, so I can now see that the way one person does things, or the way one country does things, may be different from another, but they’re simply doing what’s right for them in their particular set of circumstances. This ability to see both sides of the same coin has helped me create better characters, I think, who are more like real people: a mix of good and bad, right and wrong.

    On your website, you say that choosing to go to graduate school in Ireland “wasn’t part of the master plan,” but the result of a spontaneous trip. Can you tell that story a bit more in detail? Did you have another plan in mind?

    I graduated from the University of Washington in 2001, and there were just no jobs in media or journalism. So I decided to work as a waitress for a year and save up to go traveling. I bought a ticket to London and headed off on my grand adventure, vaguely aware I wanted to go to Europe, but with no hard plans, accommodations, or bookings. Now I wonder what I was thinking, but then I guess I just wanted to be open to do whatever came up.

    So I landed at London’s Heathrow very early in the morning and was completely disoriented and jet lagged. I gathered my backpack and stumbled out of baggage claim and the first desk I came across was Aer Lingus. Completely on a whim, I bought a seat on the next flight to Ireland. I spent an absolutely amazing month traveling around Ireland, meeting some of the most incredible people and having the best time of my life.

    At some point I ended up in Galway, and one night I was at the King’s Head on Shop Street. Over a pint (Bulmers Cider for me!) a guy told me about a great master’s in journalism program they had at the university in Galway. After I returned to Seattle I promptly applied, got accepted, sold all my stuff, and moved to Ireland, where I met my future husband.

    It’s one of those pivotal moments that completely changed the course of my life. I often wonder what would’ve happened to me if I hadn’t seen that Aer Lingus desk!

    How do you deal with writer’s block? What drives you to keep going when you figuratively “hit a wall” while writing?

    I sleep on it! Our minds subconsciously untangle problems when we’re sleeping, so a lot of the time I’ll have figured out the problem in my sleep and it will pop into my conscious thoughts at some point in the day. If this doesn’t work, I talk it out. I tell my husband or my friends what I’m thinking, and usually I’ve sorted it out by the end of my monologue. Hearing things out loud or getting another’s perspective really helps.

    What are some of your favorite novels or authors? If you had to pick one that you think has inspired you the most, who or what would it be?

    One of my favorite authors of all time is Jodi Picoult. Her book My Sister’s Keeper impacted me so much, in terms of emotion and structure, characters’ POV, and the evocative use of words. Ditto John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars. I’m not a crier, so if an author can make me cry, I know they’ve done something right. I also really love thrillers by authors like Heather Gudenkauf, Mary Kubica, and Clare Mackintosh.

    What do you like to do in your spare time other than writing?

    I have two young boys, so I don’t have a lot of free time. But when I do I’m a huge bookworm, so I like to read. I also love going to the gym and walking my dog in the park.

    Are you working on anything now that you’d like to share with us?

    I’m working on a new domestic suspense novel set in Whidbey Island and London, in which a woman wakes in the hospital after being struck by lightning and can’t remember if she killed her mother.

    What do you most want readers to take away from The Night Olivia Fell? What emotion do you hope lingers in their minds when they close the book?

    Well, The Night Olivia Fell is a suspense novel, so I hope I keep readers flipping pages as they’re trying to guess whodunit. But I also hope readers fall in love with Abi and Olivia and the world they inhabit. I want readers to have tears in their eyes and hope in their hearts, and I hope they really feel and understand the whole theme of the novel, which is that a mother’s loyalty to her child is undying, even in the face of death.

    Customer Reviews

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    The Night Olivia Fell 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
    Philomath_in_Phila 18 days ago
    I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review. The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald could have just been a typical "mom seeks the truth about what happened to her daughter" book except it was not. Christina McDonald's writing makes you connect with the characters, root for Abi, a single mom whose entire life revolved around her daughter, Olivia, and makes it a "cannot put down" book. Abi wakes in the middle of the night to hear every mother worst fear - her studious, sensible daughter had an accident. At the hospital she learns Olivia fell off a bridge, is braindead, and, oh yeah, she is pregnant. Abi's word turns upside down and she will not stop at anything to find out what happened that night on the bridge. Using flashbacks McDonald flips back and forth between the present and the months leading up to Olivia's fall. This technique lets us see how in just a few months a person can change by keeping secrets and not letting others in. I was not sure until the end of the story what really happened to Olivia. This is a suspenseful mystery that sucks you in from the very beginning. I have added Christina McDonald to my "authors to read" list. Review published on on 3/1/19.
    AnnieMcDonnell 3 months ago
    Christina McDonald wrote an emotionally charged suspense novel introducing many characters that each grew on me; by the end of the novel I was invested in each of them and the outcome that I cried when it was uncovered. It begins when Abi Knight is awoken in the middle of the night when her phone rings to discover that her daughter has been in an accident. She has fallen off a bridge and the accident has left her brain dead, but to everyone’s surprise she is pregnant!! So, they are to keep her on life support long enough for the baby to be born. The story is about that fight for the baby’s life and the fight for the justice that Abi is fighting for. It is believed the fall was that of an accident, but Abi knows her daughter was involved in something much more sinister. She is not going to give up until she finds out the truth. What is the truth? Was it an accident or was she involved in a crime? I was truly gripped in the outcome. We are told the story from both Abi and Olivia’s side which was a stunning way to tell the story and the writing was magnificent! A truly splendid story if you want to be drawn in and read a book that will not let you go! I will be back for more by Christina McDonald! PS. I LOVED THE COVER!!
    Fredreeca2001 3 months ago
    Abi Knight is awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call informing her that her only daughter has fallen off a bridge. When Abi arrives at the hospital, she is informed that Olivia is brain dead and pregnant. Abi finds clues which leads her to believe her daughter did not just fall from the bridge. She moves heaven and earth to discover exactly what happened the night Olivia fell. There is so much I want to say about Abi. First off, her emotions radiate off the pages. I was trapped by her feelings. Her hurt and her anger are such powerful forces. She is the perfect, imperfect character. When she is mean to her sister…I wanted to pinch her…HARD. But, she is such a splendid fit for this story. This story follows two time lines, before the fall and after. It also has two narrators, Abi and Olivia. Think it is going to be confusing? No way! It is so superbly written with so many twists and turns. I must have guessed the perpetrator 10 times. What a read! This book captured me from the get go! It is masterfully done with some of the best complex characters I have read about in a long time. Do not miss this one! Grab it today! I received this novel from Gallery Books via Netgalley for a honest review.
    Anonymous 3 months ago
    5 shinning stars!!!!! A gripping and emotional story told from two alternating perspectives: Abi’s narrative is told in a present day, after the accident (or not an accident??) in which her daughter Olivia falls from a bridge and becomes brain dead. Abi not only has to face the horrible news of her daughter’s accident but she also finds out that Olivia is pregnant!! Now, Abi faces two questions that she desperately wants answers to: who is the father of the unborn child and what really happened to Olivia? Olivia’s narrative is told in the few months leading up to her fall from a bridge. We learn about Olivia’s troubles in love, in her relationships with her friends, and in a relationship with her mom. We learn how Olivia finds herself in a very difficult situation and how she decides to deal with everything she learns during her search for her real father. This book was very emotional for me! As a single mom raising a young daughter I felt Abi’s frustration, anger, sadness, and agony of dealing with her daughter’s horrifying situation. I wanted the same answers that Abi wanted. I understood her will to find out what really happened, and not giving up even though there were so many things playing against her. I loved everything about this book, starting with a beautiful cover!!! I was emotionally invested in the story from the start. I mean, the beginning of the book got me already crying ugly, and I am not going to even mentioned my state at the end of the book (**sigh and sniff**)! I loved both Abi and Olivia with all their little quirks and imperfections. The author did a great job in pulling me into the story with the beautiful writing and the shifting suspense. There were times where I was suspecting almost everyone in Oliva’s life of having something to do with her fall, and up to the end I was changing my mind about who could be the culprit of Olivia’s tragedy. I would love to read other books from this author, and I hope to see a new book from her very soon!
    ColoradoGirl71 4 months ago
    5+ stunning stars to this debut novel from Christina McDonald I was hooked from the opening of the book where Abi gets the news that no parent wants to hear about their child. There's been an accident and her daughter Olivia has fallen from a bridge. The story then is told expertly from Abi's point of view (mostly present-day) and alternates with Olivia's narrative from a few months earlier. There is a police investigation and Abi doesn't think it was an accident. There is a serious twist as Olivia is pregnant and her mother didn't know. The story builds in tension up to the point where we discover the truth about what happened to Olivia. Abi hasn't had the easiest childhood and she's been restrictive and protective with Olivia, but it is obvious that Abi loves her daughter very much. As a parent, it was interesting to reflect on this dynamic. Can we protect our children too much? It also made me wonder about how well we know our children. The teenage years are difficult ones for both sides. This is a great book that explores that dynamic and how difficult parenting is for all of us, but especially single parents. This book does a great job of exploring relationships and those seemed very authentic to me in this book. There are some great characters, Abi's sister seemed so well developed. The author did a great job in making these characters come to life for me when I read this book. I would highly recommend this book if you enjoy thrillers and family-relationship stories. It was an absorbing book that I read in a day and a half whenever I could squeeze in some reading time.
    Twink 7 days ago
    The Night Olivia Fell is the latest book from author Christine McDonald. Abi Knight receives the call that no parent ever wants to receive - her daughter has been hurt. But it's even worse than she could have imagined - Olivia is brain dead. She's also pregnant. And the police have ruled it an accident. Abi is shocked, stunned and doesn't understand. An accident? Pregnant? Abi thought she knew her daughter...And so she begins her own investigation. The Night Olivia Fell is told from alternating voices - that of Abi and Olivia. What Abi believes she knows about her daughter is not reality - as she begins to find out. The listener is privy to Abi's thoughts and actions. We know what has gone on, even as Abi struggles to find answers. I love back and forth narratives and having the knowledge of what is going on with both characters. It does ramp up the tension. And makes it hard to not want to listen to just one more chapter! The clues as what may have really happened that night are laid out as the book progresses. I enjoyed following the clues, changing my and in the end my answer to whodunit was correct. McDonald does provide many options for that final answer. But the real strength of the novel are the relationships - specifically that of mother and daughter. McDonald's characterizations are believable, emotional and relatable. I chose to listen to The Night Olivia Fell. There were two narrators - Kelly Burke and Laurel Lefkow. I always appreciate multiple readers - it just seems more realistic - as if you really are listening to two people's thoughts. Now, I'm not sure who read what character, but both readers were excellent. Abi's voice is 'older' and seems just right for a parent. The emotion of this character was easily communicated by this reader. Her voice has a rich tone and is clear and easy to understand. Olivia's voice is definitely 'younger' and was believable as a teenager talking. She enunciates well and her voice is clear and pleasant to listen to. Different and distinct voices were provided for supporting characters. Those looking for a lighter mystery with a focus on relationships will want to pick up The Night Olivia Fell.
    JerseyGirlBookReviews 15 days ago
    In The Night Olivia Fell, author Christina McDonald weaves a riveting suspense thriller that easily draws the reader in with its dark storyline that follows single mother Abi Knight as she deals with a mother's worst fear: how her seventeen year old daughter Olivia's life ended so unexpectedly. Set in Portage Point, Washington, and told in the alternating first person narrative by Olivia and Abi, the reader follows their story from past to present (Olivia's timeline: April - October // Abi's timeline: October - February). Abi searches for the answers to how Olivia fell from the Zig Zag Bridge into the river and suffered permanent and irreversible brain damage, and even more shocking is that Olivia has to be kept on life support because she is three months pregnant! This captivating tale is rich in detail and vivid descriptions, has intriguing and suspenseful twists and turns, and will have the reader experiencing the full gamut of emotions, with no other option than to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. As a diehard fan of suspense thrillers, I must admit that this story exceeded my expectations. The dark intensity of the storyline and the complexity of the intertwining connection between Abi and Olivia's pasts, and the heartbreaking present journey that Abi endures as she searches for answers and closure, kept me thoroughly riveted, engrossed, and guessing as the pieces to the puzzle come together. With a complex and realistic cast of characters, the author does a phenomenal job of delving into the tangled web of secrets, lies, and betrayals; and Abi's undying mother's love and emotional quest for the truth about what happened to her daughter. The author transports the reader into this fast-paced white-knuckle storyline with her creative interweaving of a psychological cat-n-mouse game between the characters that leaves the reader's heart palpitating until the surprise ending leaves them emotionally spent. It just doesn't get any better than this! The Night Olivia Fell is one heck of an adrenaline rush that is a must-read for the true diehard suspense thriller junkie!
    marykuhl 25 days ago
    Was it an accident or something more? That is what is at the bottom of this story. A mother is awoken in the middle of the night by a phone call that changes her life forever. This book goes back and forth between present day and a few months in the past to tell the story of what happened the night Olivia fell. I thought I had figured it all out, twice. But I was wrong! The characters were all believable. I loved the relationship between Olivia and her mom. There was even the high school scene, with the snotty best friend that could turn on you and turn everyone against you. A very strong debut novel.
    TropicalDelusions 27 days ago
    The Night Olivia Fell – Christina McDonald I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review. Abi Knight is sound asleep in her bed when she’s awakened by an early morning phone call summoning her to the hospital, as her Olivia has been in an accident. Stumbling to Olivia’s room, Abi opens the door to find her bed empty – and reality comes crashing in. Upon arriving at the hospital, Abi learns that Olivia was found at the base of the local Zig Zag bridge, and has sustained a severe closed head injury, leaving her with a critical brain injury, despite emergency surgery and life support. But the doctor is not done. Olivia, Abi learns, is pregnant as well. As a result, by law, she must remain on life support until the baby can be safely delivered. When she’s able to see her daughter, Abi sees bruising on her wrist, and a bracelet she always worn is missing, making Abi certain that someone has harmed her daughter. Despite Abi’s concerns, the police consider her injuries accidental, leaving Abi to search for answers on her own. Told from the perspectives of both Olivia and Abi, the story reverts to the events of months prior, inviting the reader to partake in the active life of Olivia – an average teenager who thinks her mom is overprotective, and wonders why her birth father is such a secret. You’ll meet her best friend Madison, her football star boyfriend Tyler, and you’ll meet Kendall – a young woman who looks amazingly like Olivia - and explore that relationship with her. Meanwhile, you’ll grieve with Abi as she tries to bring the last few months of her daughter’s life into focus in an effort to understand what happened that night. Each player invites your suspicion as to their role in Olivia’s fall and injuries, and you’ll be changing your mind with each page you turn. But mostly, you’ll cry – or at least I did – as Abi searches for answers, and deals with the heartbreak of the imminent loss of her only child… This was a great first novel by Ms. McDonald that will stay in your mind and heart well after the last page is turned, and have you wondering (as I am), just how well you know your child? A poignant, read – not to be missed!!
    Anonymous 27 days ago
    The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald Abi Knight gets a call stating her daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. When arriving at the hospital she is informed that Olivia is brain dead. Olivia is also pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. Abi feels the police are not investigating the incident. She believes that Olivia did not fall off the bridge. Abi is determined to find out what happened to Olivia. I nearly read this book in ONE day!! This book has it all, suspense, intrigue, family secrets, and a heart-wrenching storyline. I found the story so gripping and was up reading way past my bedtime on a work night! I woke up in the morning and had to finish before going to work. I am so thankful for a flexible work schedule. All I could think about throughout the story was how powerful a mother’s love is for her child and what lengths she will go to in order to protect her child.
    Anonymous 29 days ago
    A real page-turner that I couldn't put down. I loved the descriptive writing style, blended with the dramatic plot line. The book tells the story from the point of view of both the mother (Abi) and the daughter (Olivia). Shifting between the two characters keeps the book moving at a brisk pace while maintaining the suspense and sense of mystery until the end. Highly recommended!
    thecolumbusdarling 29 days ago
    I was excited to get an ACR of this book, but my excitement slowly simmered out after struggling to finish it in a timely manner. It just couldn't keep my attention, although I don't think it was terrible - the author's writing is smooth and the emotions you feel from the characters come to life when you read them; I don't know what it was, I just didn't fly through this like other books. I guess I had this idea in my head of what the plot would be about, and when it finally came to an end, I was left wanting more.
    JHSEsq 3 months ago
    How well do you know your children? How well do they know you? The Night Olivia Fell is the heartbreaking, deeply moving story of a mother trying to unravel the truth about how her seventeen-year-old daughter fell from a bridge and was rendered brain dead. And why she did not know at the time that her daughter was pregnant. Abi finds herself in a nightmare: Olivia is brain dead but, as a matter of law, must remain on life support to bring her unborn child to term. At the hospital, Abi notes that there are bruises on Olivia’s wrists and the bracelet she always wears is missing. Nonetheless, the police rule it an accident. Abi has kept a secret from Olivia. She has never revealed the identity of Oliva's father, nor has she ever explained to Olivia what he was capable of. However. unbeknownst to Abi, a chance meeting on a school trip with a girl who bore an uncanny resemblance to Olivia, led her to her father. Determined to understand why Abi hid the truth from her, Olivia confronted him and learned for herself what kind of person he is. When Abi discovers that, prior to her fall, Olivia knew more than Abi realized, she is devastated . . . and suspicious. Author Christina McDonald effectively employs the alternating voices of Abi in present day and Olivia commencing six months before her fall to construct an absorbing, gut-wrenching tale of a mother living out her absolutely worst nightmare. Added to Olivia's tragic demise is the issue of her unborn child -- the hellish months of seeing her daughter kept alive artificially in order to give the baby a chance at life, the unanswered questions about how Olivia ended up on the bridge in the first place, and the unknown identity of the unborn child's father. McDonald's portrayal of Abi's anguish is believable and absorbing, as is her fierce determination to learn -- despite the police department's disinterest -- precisely what happened to her child. Equally engaging is the first-person narrative of Olivia as she explains how she encountered Kendall Montgomery, the girl who looked so much like her, her growing frustration with what she perceived as Abi's over-protectiveness, and her secret relationship with her best friend's brother. Through the two threads, McDonald portrays a mother-daughter relationship with no shortage of love and care, but punctuated by secrets and resentments, as well. A relationship that, tragically, cannot be repaired because Olivia will never regain consciousness. At the heart of the story is the mystery: What happened to Olivia on that night? What was she doing on the bridge? Who put those bruises on her wrists? And who is responsible for her death? Will that individual be held responsible? The Night Olivia Fell is an emotionally exhausting, but satisfying story. McDonald draws readers hearts and minds into the tale from the first page and never releases her grip until the very last page of this fast-paced mystery. The Night Olivia Fell is a poignant reminder to hold our loved ones close and work daily on maintaining honesty and transparency in our relationships. Because never know when tragedy might strike and there will not be an opportunity to set things right. It is a powerful portrait of a mother's undying love, devotion, and strength -- a strength she didn't know she possessed until she needed it to sustain her and her unborn grandchild. Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.
    JennGrand 3 months ago
    As a mother, if anything at all happens to your child, you will stop at nothing to find out the truth. And that's exactly how Abi Knight reacts when she receives the most feared phone call as a parent, that her daughter has fallen off a bridge and she's brain dead. But not only that, but she's also pregnant and must remain on life support until the baby is born.  When her daughter's fall and death are ruled an accident, Abi takes it upon herself to unravel the recent events of her daughters life so she can be positive the police haven't missed a clue.  This book is suspenseful, twisty and so so good! It will remind you of Big Little Lies or Reconstructing Amelia. It's one you won't be able to put down, and you'll find yourself trying to figure out the clues before Abi!
    JennaBookish 3 months ago
    My thanks to Gallery Books and Netgalley for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher. I struggled a lot with how to rate this novel; I was so close to rating it two stars, but I bumped it up a star because I think the main issue keeping me from enjoying it was the sheer level of similarity between this book and Reconstructing Amelia. I think if I hadn't read Reconstructing Amelia, I'd be in a better position to judge this novel on its own merit. I want to be clear that I'm not necessarily alleging that The Night Olivia Fell ripped off another book; similar ideas can surely occur independently, but there was enough in common between the stories that this felt like a reread for me, and I do think it speaks to the lack of originality in the story. This book is marketed as a mystery thriller, but I think emotional angle was the main strength of the novel, as opposed to the twists and turns. After Olivia's fall, Abi learns that she is on life support and will not recover. She is kept on life support to keep her developing fetus alive long enough to perform a C-section. Abi has to grapple with the conflicting emotions surrounding knowing that getting her grandchild will mean losing her daughter. As she counts down the days, it's obvious how heart-wrenching this is for her. I seriously felt for Abi and the months she spent in limbo, with her daughter not truly alive, but still breathing. Olivia, who we get to know through flashbacks, was likable, but not always believable as a teenage girl. Her mother is relatively strict and over-protective. Olivia rarely balks at this, and when she does, has a habit of immediately mentally reminding herself that it's only because her mother wants what's best for her. I'm not trying to say she needs to be a total brat to be a realistic teenager, but Abi's habits as a mother would honestly lead me to expect more frustration out of Olivia than she shows. She read less as a genuine teenager and more as a teenager as seen through a thin layer of wishful thinking from an overprotective parent. On a similar note, I would have liked to see a bit more of a distinction between Olivia and Abi's voices in their respective chapters. Overall, I'd say that if you haven't read Reconstructing Amelia, you'll probably enjoy this mystery. Otherwise, prepare for deja vu.
    bookaholique 3 months ago
    Abi Knight is awakened with a frightening phone call. Her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. She has been taken to the hospital where it is determined that she has irreversible brain damage. Not only that, Olivia is pregnant. State law will not allow them to turn off life support under these circumstances. While everyone thinks the fall was an accident, Abi's gut feelings tells her this was something else. And so we go down this path with Abi as she tries to determine what really happened on the night Olivia fell. What a roller coaster ride this turned out to be. Told in alternating chapters, we follow Abi as she tries to reconstruct her daughter's past and then Olivia as we learn what led to her tragic fall. The author did an outstanding job of providing several credible suspects and I was repeatedly telling myself - ok, I think so and so did it. And then a few chapters later, ok, now I think this other person did it. The story moved along quickly, with never a dull moment. And then the ending. Oh my! My thanks to Gallery Books and Netgalley.
    Anonymous 3 months ago
    I loved this new to me author. The story is crushing in it's untangling of how Olivia is harmed and her mother's overprotective love plays a part in just how tangled it gets. I LOVED the ending chapters and shed tears as Olivia's life ebbs away. As a grieving mother myself, Abi's grief carried me along with her. I would read a sequel with these characters.
    Caroldaz 3 months ago
    No matter how protective a mother is of her child, things can. Go very, very wrong. Abi is a single mother with one child, Olivia, a teenager. In the middle of the night Abi gets a phone call, the nightmare call for any parent. Olivia has fallen off a bridge, is brain dead, but also pregnant. Abi does not believe it was an accident and since the police seem reluctant to take it seriously, she decides to investigate herself. A story of relationships, of change, growth and acceptance. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
    StoriedLife 3 months ago
    How well do you truly know those closest to you? Perhaps not a well as you think. Abi Knight gets the phone call that every parent dreds. Her teenage daughter, Olivia, has been found unconscious below a bridge. She is now brain dead and on life support to allow her to carry her baby as long as possible. A baby that Abi did not know about.. Was Olivia pushed or did she jump? Although bruises are found on her wrists, police have ruled this an accident. Abi needs to know the truth. The Night Olivia Fell is a gut wrenching and suspenseful journey of a mother, a daughter, a best friend and a boyfriend all looking for their own truth. Discovering that sometimes by trying to protect others, we are doing more harm to them then we realize. Who can you trust with your truth?
    Marilev 3 months ago
    Seventeen-year-old Olivia has fallen from a bridge. Was it an accident, a suicide attempt, or did someone try to kill her? Her injuries leave her brain dead, but her unborn child is thriving. Written from both Olivia's and her mother's point of view, we see how Olivia's life unfolded those previous few months as the truth of what really happened that fateful night is revealed. A page turner!
    SoccerMomof3 3 months ago
    4.5 stars for Christina McDonald's The Night Olivia Feel. This novel is a have your tissues handy, gut-wrenching story with a relatable storyline and characters. Single mom Abi receives a call that no parent ever wants to receive there's been an accident and her 17-year-old daughter Olivia has been involved. A huge thank you to Netgalley and Ms. McDonald for the opportunity to have an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
    Sandy5 3 months ago
    Abi got the call that most mothers would dread. It had come from the hospital, informing her that her daughter Olivia, had been in an accident. Rushed into surgery, Abi discovers that her daughter will never wake up from the surgery. This accident has caused permanent brain damage. Olivia’s body will be dependent forever upon tubes and machines to keep it alive. Abi wants to know who did this to her daughter. Someone had to push her daughter and cause her to fall, but who? Abi recalls that Olivia had not been acting like herself lately but Abi hadn’t stopped to ask her daughter any questions. Abi mentions allowing Olivia to be organ donor but that is denied when the doctor explains that he discovered that Olivia is pregnant. So, who did it and why? The answer isn’t easy. As Abi begins to investigate, she discovers that Olivia was doing some investigating of her own before this incident. Olivia had discovered a secret that Abi had been keeping from her and Olivia had been making great strides in her investigation. Forced now to confront her past, Abi’s journey to find the truth behind what happened to her daughter just got complicated. I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review.
    SL22268 3 months ago
    Sad.. Thank you to Gallery Book and NetGalley for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book was very sad to me; while not a whole lot of plot twists - you can pretty much see what is coming - what happens to Olivia and the decisions that her mother has to make, are devastating. Good read, but sad.
    CharlotteLynnsReviews 3 months ago
    A mother willing to go to the ends of the world for her daughter, even though her daughter is brain dead, pregnant, and going to die. I think many mothers (and fathers) would feel the same way. The need to know why she ended up the way she is becomes so strong that it takes on its own life. Abi finds help in Anthony and starts asking questions, following leads, and making waves with people who’d rather be left out of the entire thing. There were times that I wondered if Abi had bitten off more than she could handle but she was so strong, so determined, and so unwilling to be pushed off the trail. I loved that she didn’t give up, she didn’t let it go, and she didn’t take everyone for their word. She questioned, she pushed, and she pulled at each small hint of what happen and was soon unraveling the entire story. I wondered if I could be so strong when facing the loss of my daughter and hoped that I would never have to find out. Christina McDonald did an amazing job of keeping the teenagers as teenagers. They hid things from their parents, gossiped about each other to their friends, snuck out and misbehaved just as real teenagers did. Yes, some of the teenagers were mean people but that is the high school life and I loved that she didn’t make them all pretty and perfect. The adults in the story were also real. They were wanting to protect their kids, themselves, and distance themselves from the horror of having a brain dead, pregnant daughter. This is a great book. I picked it up, kept going back to it, and even now after finishing it I can’t let it go. I continue to think about the story, wonder how many parents have found themselves in similar positions and thankful that my teenagers are healthy, happy, and alive.
    Momma_Becky 4 months ago
    The Night Olivia Fell is filled with emotion, mostly of the heartbreaking kind, and it is an interesting read, but there are some lags in the story. There is a mystery, but I would consider this one more domestic drama than suspense as Abi deals with the shock of losing her daughter while also learning that she's going to be a grandmother. On top of that, she's rather closed off to most people and afraid of letting anyone in, so there's that to overcome too. On the mystery side of this one, the author does give us more than enough plausible suspects to keep us guessing, but most are a little too out there. In fact, it began to feel like almost everyone in Olivia's life had some reason to kill her - not all of them were logical reasons, but reasons just the same.The answer to who and even why was pretty clear early in the book, so the big reveal wasn't a big surprise for me. While this story is a little too predictable for my taste, the writing is good and the author shows talent. I'll be interested to see where she goes from here.