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Review: The Last Academy (Anne Applegate)

The Deets:
Audience: YA
Pages: 320
Publisher: April 30th 2013 by Point
ISBN: 9780545502047
Genre: mystery, mythology
Source: eARC from the publisher via Netgalley

The Last Academy
What is this prep school preparing them for?

Camden Fisher arrives at boarding school haunted by a falling-out with her best friend back home. But the manicured grounds of Lethe Academy are like nothing Cam has ever known. There are gorgeous, preppy boys wielding tennis rackets, and circles of girls with secrets to spare. Only . . . something is not quite right. One of Cam's new friends mysteriously disappears, but the teachers don't seem too concerned. Cam wakes up to strangers in her room, who then melt into the night. She is suddenly plagued by odd memories, and senses there might be something dark and terrible brewing. But what? The answer will leave Cam—and readers—stunned and breathless, in this thrilling debut novel.

Hmm... This one left my brain feeling as cloudy as that fog on the cover. I really wasn't sure what I was reading 2/3 of the time. I found myself very confused in places. They felt patchy-- as if there were key parts of the plot that were removed like a missing puzzle piece. I knew there was something important going on, but I just couldn't put my finger on what it was exactly. I found that very frustrating at times. It didn't feel like a mystery; it felt like a gap.

None of the characters impressed me much. They all had this sense of mystery about them that was more annoying than intriguing. Brynn was way too wishy-washy, so I couldn't figure out what her deal was really. Nora was a little off as well. I never could connect, not even with the main character. The one character that does stand out is Mark, but in a really creepy way. I am not sure if he was supposed to cross into that weird creeper territory or not, but he sure made me feel that way. That scene with his mom... and the bed... bah! Way creepy. I did not recover from that.

I probably would have bumped this down a notch or two, but I did appreciate the mythology element. I thought I knew what was up with the one character haunting everyone, and it turns out I was correct. Of course, I had to make it through the whole book to find that validation. I did not get a sense of closure after finishing The Last Academy, which is a little disappointing. I (sometimes) appreciate open ended endings, but I want to feel complete when I get to those. I do not like wondering, "Well, what now?" Unfortunately, that's how I feel. I can assume what happens with Cameron, but I want to know what happens with the other characters. (Ok, again, I can assume, but I really want something finite!)

Overall, it had a nice spooky feeling to it. I'm sure younger readings will devour it for the creepiness factor, I just worry they might not be willing to muddle through the gaps to finish.


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Review: The Search for Delicious

The Search for Delicious Natalie Babbitt
Product Details

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Square Fish (August 21, 2007)
ISBN-10: 9780312369828
Source: My personal book

Summary from Amazon: Gaylen, the King’s messenger, a skinny boy of twelve, is off to poll the kingdom, traveling from town to farmstead to town on his horse, Marrow. At first it is merely a question of disagreement at the royal castle over which food should stand for Delicious in the new dictionary. But soon it seems that the search for Delicious had better succeed if civil war is to be avoided.

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