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. No SATS. 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.
(Because there is some language in this book, I would not recommend to readers under age 16.) I just finished up reading this very interesting tale by C.L. Gaber about a girl who dies in a tragic accident and ends up going to high school in the after life. The funny thing about it is that even after dying, high school is much the same in some ways for Walker. There are the clicks of kids, classes, sports, and that one guy that everyone has a crush on but doesn't seem to pay attention to anyone until the new girl comes along. The only differences are that Walker has much more freedom over her academics, there happens to be a scary rival school nearby that as student inmates, and the fact that you can pretty much do anything you want because you're not going to die again. They call it the reset. And Walker uses it a lot as she starts figuring out this new life she has, with her new friend Daniel. Daniel lives next door with his brother and sisters, but no parents. In fact, parents are almost non-existent because this place is mainly for those who have not completely formed, or are under the age of 24 when they died. Daniel is doing his best to find a way back to get his little brother that became stuck on the earthly plane when they all died, and yes, that family has one tragic story to tell about their lives and their deaths. Now the little brother is stuck and Daniel is determined to save him, even though it could mean that he never comes back, or he gets sent to ITT as a student inmate for basically forever. And in there, there is no reset button, but they can't die either. So they feel all of the pain. The closer Walker becomes to him, the more she is determined to figure out the dark, brooding guy who sits by her in class and she decides he needs some help. Of course there are tons of complications and not to mention that if they even make it back, there will be things hunting them down. Bad things. So much risk keeps you on the edge of your seat while reading this one and it makes it hard to put the book down. One more chapter turns into an all night reading binge. I really found it interesting that there were clicks and mean girls, and the whole reset button for one school but not for the bad kids that died. Overall an excellent read!
5 out of 5 stars!