Review: The Last Academy by Anne Applegate

April 22, 2013 2 - 2.5 Stars, Bad Twists, Thriller 13 ★★

The Last Academy by Anne Applegate
Published by Point on April 30, 2013
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
two-stars
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.
Like many other bloggers, I take notes while reading to aid in the writing of my reviews.  While reading The Last Academy, my notes were comments like, “Is ANYTHING going to happen?” and “I feel like I’m missing something here.”  I considered giving up, because so much of this book just didn’t make a lot of sense, and it didn’t really engage me.  The synopsis describes a thriller plot, but what I was actually reading was more of the mundane aspects of boarding school life: an obnoxious roommate, teenage crushes, and late-night pranks.  Yes, the thriller parts were there, but they confused me more than frightened me.  Most notably, I wondered how a sinister and seemingly dangerous man was allowed to torment Camden.

When I reached the 85% point of the book, BOOM!  All of my notes went out the window.  A nice twist, but then I remembered the Goodreads synopsis.  It’s right there!  WHY, Scholastic?  That one sentence is going to spoil the book for many readers.  Fortunately, I read the intriguing synopsis some time prior to requesting the book from NetGalley, so I had pretty much forgotten about it by the time I began to read the book.  I’m afraid this won’t be the case for many people.  (I’ve omitted the sentence from the synopsis above.)

Note – Even though the GR synopsis contains the spoiler, I’m going to dance around it in the next paragraph.  But if you glossed over the synopsis like I did, I may highlight something that didn’t really stand out to you, so proceed with caution.  (I’m going to include a suggestion to Scholastic in my NG feedback, so hopefully they will delete the spoiler.  Incidentally, the Amazon synopsis does not include the spoiler.)  [Edit: I don’t know if it was due to my e-mail, but that spoiler sentence was FINALLY removed from the GR synopsis.]

It is impossible not to compare this book to the film to which The Last Academy synopsis compares itself.  In that case, the twist worked magnificently.  In The Last Academy, the twist was not as successful.  While there were no major plot holes, I had to plod through a great majority of the book to get to this point.  And when I finally reached it, a character had to explain everything (and I mean, EVERYTHING) in order to make the twist work.  So, the last 15%  of the book essentially re-summarized the entire book, with the added perspective of the twist.  This was not necessary in the film, and I was left feeling that I could have just picked up the book at the 85% point without missing anything.  This makes me wonder if the twist was even necessary; perhaps I would have liked the book more if I knew from the beginning where it was headed, and it could have explored these points in more length and depth.  There were some interesting insights and moving moments, but it’s unfortunate that they came too little and too late.

Disclosure: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

Review posted at Goodreads

Stephanie

13 Responses to “Review: The Last Academy by Anne Applegate”

  1. krweinert.com

    I sometimes feel blurbs give away too much information, it’s sort of like some movie trailers, you think why did they put all the best bits in the clip?! There’s a difference between tempting someone in and giving them all the best bits in the teaser.

    • Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat

      I know! I’ve sent an e-mail to Scholastic. Either they didn’t read it or they don’t care. I don’t understand, because people who might enjoy this book are likely to be disappointed by having the ending spoiled.

      Stephanie

  2. Aman

    I though this might be a really mysterious and adventures boarding school read but it sucks that nothing exciting happened till the very end. It’s good that you emailed them regarding the spoilery synopsis, hopefully they’ll change it now.
    Thanks for the review!

  3. rivie bleu

    That is the reason why I try not to read too much about the book before I start reading. Since my mind forgets things easily, I do read the synopsis before deciding to read it but I end up picking it up after months so I always go into the new world as if I didn’t know anything about it. I thought you could change the goodreads synopsis and info, is it really Scholastic’s fault or is also on the cover?

  4. Emily @ Falling For YA

    I had to DNF this book, I’m glad you were able to finish but they sporadic plot and the characters with no personalities just ruined what could have been an interesting premise for me.

  5. Lexie

    My sister received this one for review and was lukewarm as well–I’ve been full up on stuff so I’m not terribly sure I’ll get to the book anyhow, but maaaan now I don’t think I’ll read it at all :/

    Thanks Steph!!

    • Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat

      I’m still so new to requesting ARCs, I don’t feel like I have the liberty to DNF for now. So I’ve forced my way through some bad books lately. Now, this one wasn’t BAD. I could see some people enjoying it. Just not me. 🙂

      Stephanie

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