by David Davis & Andra St. Ivanyi.
Audience/Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Publication Date: February 17th, 2016 by The Phoenix Organization
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
THE ACADEMY is not your average teen boarding school story. If you're looking for your typical home-away-from-home high school story, this is not your book. For the character ages, the content, while written in a range from young to old voices, is very adult. If you are adverse to cursing, drug usage, suicide, drinking and sexual themes, this is NOT the book for you.
Set in a not-so-distant future, THE ACADEMY is a boarding school that houses the worlds richest and most influential teens. And when I say rich, I mean filthy-stinking-rich. The 300-something students that attend account for over half of all the worlds money. If you go to the Academy, you're a somebody. Enter stage right, average seventeen-year-old "Townie" Peter Foster. After receiving an "out-reach scholarship," Peter barely has time to survive his new surroundings and cut-throat peers when weird things start happening to him. It starts with the appearance of a locked laptop who's previous owner, James, disappeared last year. Being a hacker, Peter manages to unlock the computer, only to discover the responsible party in James' disappearance is the Academy. Peter makes it his mission to find James, but the reasons behind James vanishing reveals an age old battle of Light versus Dark.
I liked the premise of the book, where the Academy served as a neutral zone for all its students to make decisions without outside influence. It emphasized the power of free choice and that was refreshing. But, sometimes, a mystery book can be too mysterious for its own good. I felt myself having the same questions from page 1 to page 250. THE ACADEMY feeds you information in minuscule doses, and as a reader that likes to know what's going on, I was not a fan of that style. I wish the pacing was a tad bit faster (many parts dragged on). The multi-POV narrations also threw me off, with some characters going off on long, drawn-out tangents of the world, but it all came together towards the end.
The book ends with the promise of a sequel, which was a disappointment. It ended with too many questions left unanswered (which I'm assuming will be addressed in the second book) and I left it with the feeling of being set-up for a bigger surprise in the second book. Not a good feeling to have as a reader.
For my tastes, I wouldn't recommend this book for an audience under the age of 17. Even then, I'd be hesitant to recommend it. Overall, it's your average mystery thriller and if you have nothing to do over a long weekend, give THE ACADEMY a try.