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The Last Academy

The Last Academy - Anne Applegate This review and others are posted at Read, Rinse, Repeat.

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.

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.)

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.