Amy Cross’ The Night Girl,follows Juliet in her pre-college blues as she reluctantly takes a job at the Crestview retirement home. Instinctually bored, Juliet seeks out the nooks and crannies of the rundown facility and finds someone that has been waiting for her for quite sometime. When Juliet meets Jennifer Mathis, she doesn’t believe she’s a ghost, she doesn’t even believe that she’s real. After a few treacherous graveyard shifts, Juliet realizes that regardless of what Jennifer is, she has several skills that are very handy for Juliet.
As we are introduced to Juliet in the present, we are given flashbacks to a Juliet, eleven years younger and struggling to manage her new living situation with her estranged father after the death of her mother. While always seen as an odd girl, Juliet’s darker qualities start to emerge in the restricted status quo environment that her father fosters. Stereotypically for sociopaths, Juliet’s father’s girlfriend’s cat goes missing and is held captive in death behind their garden shed. As Juliet becomes more confident in her self-identity, she melts her cousin’s face on the backyard barbeque. Though she consistently tormenting and accosting others, her father’s only solution is therapy.
Back in present day, Juliet’s suppressed emotions and talents are reemerging as she has randomly developed a sort of compassion for the Crestview residents. As Juliet begins to flex these muscles she begins to rely more on Jennifer and her skills of cleaning up the loose ends. Unfortunately for Juliet, what she doesn’t realize is that every favor is often paid by another and it is expensive currency.
Amy Cross does an awesome job of effortlessly flipping between present and past events and consistently keeping first person point of view. Though Juliet, is often whiny and vapid in her delusion of her inherent evilness, the story draws its momentum from Cross’ simple and crisp prose. A little slow and waning in the beginning The Night Girl does pick up throughout its eight parts. The Shyamalan twist at the end is pretty entertaining and kind makes the book worthwhile if you find yourself bored throughout.
2.5 out of 5