May 12, 2013

The Last Academy Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

The Last Academy
Author: Anne Applegate
Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery
Release Date: May 1, 2013
Publisher: Point/Scholastic

Buy Links: Amazon


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.

Stupid thing was practically indestructible. I beat it with no mercy. A couple of times by hand racked the metal cradle. I couldn't stop, though. Blood welled up under my skin and left hot  blue bruises across the back of my hand. I beat that phone until a tiny part of inside me stood back and said: Whoa, you're scaring me. Then I threw the handset. It swung and dangled in midair like it hand hung itself. Like whatever part held my father inside it was hanging there dead. It was true, then. My family didn't want me anymore. The idea kicked me in the stomach so hard I thought I might throw up. Instead, I fell against the wall of the squash court and crumpled to the cold cement.

I didn't hear the bleat of the disconnected phone until the sound stopped. Mark Elliott stood there, in his jogging clothes, his hand on the hung-up handset.

"You planning to beat the phone to death, or just show it who's boss?" he asked. It sounded like a serious question. I could hardly look at him. Everything inside me felt wrong.

"No offense, but go away, OK?" I said. The idea of anybody seeing me, after what had happened, was kind of unbearable. I squeezed my eyes shut and waited for him to leave. When I opened them, he held out his hand. I wanted to scream: My own family doesn't want me, and I don't know why. I put my hand in his. I couldn't help it.

We were too close when I stood up. He didn't say anything. He didn't step back, either. I could feel how warm his body was, even though he wasn't touching me. Maybe the jogging made him warmer than normal. Plus I was pretty cold. His breath tickled my collarbone.

I died a little, wondering what he'd heard. Could he guess the rest? Probably. Probably someone who was deaf with a vision problem could have figured out most of the end of that particular phone call, anyway. My chin started in on me, getting all trembly. The more I tried to make it stop, the more these sobs hitched in my chest, until I couldn't even breathe without them spilling out all over the place. It was worse than if he had seen me in granny panties, picking my nose under fluorescent lighting.

"Please go away." I tried to talk normally. You know, like I was the announcer on TV when the station goes wonky: I'm having technical difficulties. Please stand by. Instead, it sounded like I was being strangled.

He brushed hair out of my face. This isn't where you belong anymore, my dad had said, and the wounds his words had left on me were so painful I wailed. Mark Elliott pulled me into his chest and gave me a hug.

Then I was crying. I mean, those ugly, hoarse brays where your mouth hangs open. I didn't know if I was going to die of embarrassment or shame or dehydration or what. He smoothed my hair down and rested his chin on the top of my head. 

After a while, I took a few deep breaths and watched the rise and fall of his chest from the eye I had pressed up against his shirt. I swear, I could see the thrum of his heart beating. "Sorry," I said. He didn't say anything. I didn't want to look at the guy. Ever, if possible. But at the same time, I had to. Even if it turned out that he was disgusted with me. So I gave my nose a wipe and looked.

He had the weirdest expression on his face. It was nowhere close to smiling. Before I could figure out what it meant, Mark Elliott kissed me.

The Last Academy is an exciting young adult paranormal mystery novel that follows main character Camden "Cam" Fisher as she begins her high school years at a new boarding school in California - far away from her home, her old friends, and her family. Cam loves her new school - she's making new friends, crushing on a gorgeous upperclassman, and a beautiful campus. When one of Cam's new friends at school goes missing, she begins to notice that everything at the school isn't quite right and things are getting stranger by the minute. There are weird people in her room in the middle of the night who then mysteriously disappear, strange memories that she doesn't remember happening, and a creepy man who is on the board for the school. Cam knows that something isn't right at Lethe Academy and that something dark and terrible is going to happen. She doesn't know what it is or how to stop it - will she be able to figure it out in time?

This was a thrilling mystery novel that had me guessing for almost the entire book. The plot was an interesting one - I liked the premise and the twists and turns throughout the story definitely had me reading as fast as I could to see what would happen next. The characters were written well, although some felt a bit stereotypical - there was the gorgeous upperclassman who our leading character had a crush on, the beautiful "sort of" friend who had secrets, the dorky yet kind friend, etc. Cam was a good main character for the book. She was smart, friendly, and easy to identify with for the reader. The writing itself was well done, although some of the phrasing and conversations felt awkward or forced, which threw the rhythm of the story off a bit for me. Otherwise, it was a great mystery with a fast pace and easy flow to the plot. Like I mentioned, the mystery part of the plot was really intriguing and I loved trying to guess what was really going on and I enjoyed all the twists and turns the plot took on. Overall, this was a fun and interesting paranormal mystery that fans of the YA genre will definitely want to get their hands on.

Anne Applegate was born in Chico, California. Most of her childhood was spent moving across America with her family, nomad style.
When Anne was fourteen, her parents sent her to boarding school so she could spend four years in a single educational system.  As it turned out, her family then promptly settled into a small mid-western town and lived there for the next sixteen years.  Anne still hasn’t figured out if this means something.
After graduation, she went on to Tufts University in Medford, MA, where she had a wicked good time. Eventually, she  wound up back on the west coast, where she married a fantastic Californian guy.  Together, they have three children.
For the last twelve years, Anne has lived  in San Luis Obispo County.  This is by far the longest time she has stayed in any one place her whole life.  She immensely enjoys living  where 1) the sun always shines and 2) she isn’t the weirdest person in town.
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  1. Thanks for the giveaway! This books sounds really good. The premise really makes me want to know what's going on that school, because that behavior just isn't... normal.


  2. Thanks for the review. The Last Academy does sound intriguing. I'm already trying to figure out the mystery, making mental notes of possibilities, and that after only reading the the blurb, excerpt and review. Looking forward to reading it and finding out the answer. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. Awww! The excerpt sounds sad:( I love paranormal and the underdog so it's going on my TBR list!!