Posted May 3, 2017 by Books & Alochol Girls in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

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I received this book for free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ascenders Saga
C.L. Gaber
Big Picture Media
April 20,2015

Walker Callaghan doesn't know what happened to her. One minute she was living her teenage life in suburban Chicago...and the next minute, she was in a strange place and in a brand new school with absolutely no homework, no rules, and no consequences.

Walker Callaghan, 17, is dead.

She doesn't go to heaven or hell. She lands at The Academy, a middle realm where teenagers have one thing in common: They were the morning announcement at their high schools because they died young.

These high school kids are now caught in a strange “in-between” zone where life hasn’t changed very much. In fact, this special teen limbo looks a lot like life in a quaint Michigan town complete with jocks, popular girls and cliques. "There are even cheerleaders in death," Walker observes. It's not a coincidence that the music teacher is a guy named Kurt who "used to have this band." The drama teacher, Heath, is crush worthy because back in his life, he starred in some superhero movie.

Principal King explains the rules -- there are none. Why? You can't die twice.

There is no homework.
No tests.
You're just there to learn because the human brain isn't fully formed until you're 24.

By the way, you can't get hurt physically, so race your Harley off that hillside. But falling in love is the most dangerous thing you can do ...because no one knows how long you'll stay in this realm or what's next.

"Losing someone you love would be like dying twice," Walker says.

* * * * * *
Walker Callaghan has just arrived at the Academy after a tragic car accident. “Is this heaven or is this high school?” she asks.

She finds out her new life is a bit of both as she falls in love with tat-covered, bad boy Daniel Reid who is about to break the only sacred rule of this place. He's looking for a portal to return back to the living realm.

He needs just one hour to retrieve his younger brother who strangely never arrived at The Academy. Bobby is an Earth Bound Spirit, stuck at a plane crash site that took both of their lives as their rich father piloted his private jet nose-first into a cornfield on Christmas Eve.

Walker loves Daniel and risks it all to go with him.

Have they learned enough to outsmart dangerous forces while transporting a young child with them? Can their love survive the fragmented evil parts of themselves that are now hunting them down as they try to find a way back to the middle?

At the Academy, you learn the lessons of an after-lifetime.

This book had me hooked from the very beginning. A high school for dead teenagers? Sign me up. This story is very unlike anything I have ever read before. The world that Gaber creates is amazing. The Academy and the surroundings are fascinating. Walker is a great character, and I enjoyed seeing her take in her new surroundings and navigate new friendships.Seeing her come to grips with her new reality was both captivating and heartbreaking.  Daniel is the ultimate high school crush. He is moody and closed off, but underneath he is caring and kind. Watching their relationship develop was a real pleasure. I loved all of the side characters too. Getting each ones backstory was one of my favorite aspects of the book.The author did a great job of making you feel connected and invested in all of their stories. Things are not so different for these teenagers than they are in the living world. There is still plenty of  teen angst and bullying. There is also still an innate need for teeangers to break the rules, even though there are very few at The Academy.  I also loved the numerous pop culture references that were made. It makes you feel like you are in on the best secret of the year. The second half of the story is like a fast moving roller coaster. However as soon as it ends you will want to jump right into the second book. I cannot wait to see what is in store for Walker and Daniel. 5 stars! Enjoy!

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