This is part of the book blog tour for The Last Academy by Anne Applegate, organized by Shane at Itching for Books.
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.
Since I’ve signed up to host an excerpt (blogger’s choice) for the blog tour, I marked on my calendar to set aside some time a few days prior to my tour stop to prep for the post. As I skimmed through the book to pick out an excerpt, I realized this was not going to be an easy or quick task for me. (1) I kept picking passages that seemed to be non-spoiler-ish when they all turned out to be paragraphs with spoiler materials. (2) While life at the academy might sound uninteresting at first glance, there were plenty of subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints that made me question if I could trust the voice of the narrator. And so, instead of skimming the book, I ended up reading one chapter after another and before I knew it, I reached the end. After putting down the book and giving it some thought, I’d say I liked the book idea, and while I could understand why the characters had to learn and figure things out on their own, I wondered if things needed to be revealed or arranged in the order that it was done in the book. But overall, I liked the element of mystery. Without further ado, here is the excerpt – I’ve actually picked out two – I hope you’ll enjoy reading them.
Excerpts from The Last Academy
By Anne Applegate
from Chapter 4
“Greetings, everyone,” a man dressed in standard-issue teacher wear said from the chapel’s stage. “Welcome, freshmen, to the Lethe Academy. I am Dr. Falzone, dean of students. To our returning upperclassmen, welcome back! I have a few announcements to make. The first formal dinner of the year is tonight. Make sure you attend.” He wagged a knowing finger at a group of older boys, who laughed. Dr. Falzone gave them a wink and said to the rest of us, “If you have not done so already, your assignment for this afternoon is to read your official rule book and sign your integrity pledge. They are due at dinner. It’s a point a day if they’re late. If you don’t know what a point is, better read your official rule book.”
I’d already read, online, how points were part of the school’s penalty system. You got five points for cutting a class, two points for being tardy. Each point equaled an hour of hard labor on the weekend work crew. If you got twenty points in a year, the school had grounds to expel you.
Dr. Falzone went on. “And lest anyone forget, curfew for underclassmen is ten P.M., ten thirty for seniors. That means you check in. At your curfew time. With your dorm head. In the dorms. If you do not know who your dorm head is, his or her name is listed in your information packet. Everybody got that?” He smiled, eyebrows lifted. Nobody said anything. Down came the eyebrows, and Dr. Falzone added, “The floor is now open for general announcements. Anyone?”
from Chapter 11
I went straight to Nora and Jessie’s room. A crowd of girls clogged the hallway, clustered up in twos and threes. Jessie and Nora’s door was closed and no light came from the crack at the floor.
This was why Miss Andersen never came to do room inspection, I realized. She had bigger fish to fry this morning. I wanted to tell Miss Andersen about Jessie. Guilt stabbed me in the lungs.Why didn’t I? The answer came back quick: Because you were protecting your own hide. I pushed my way through the gawkers and knocked on the door. No answer.
“She’s gone,” someone said.
“Get out of here!” I yelled. One kid bolted down the hallway. A sophomore girl turned her head away. The rest stayed where they were. It was like yelling at city pigeons.
I opened the door. “Nora?” I asked the empty room. Jessie’s closet doors were open and I could see all her clothes and shoes still inside. On her desk lay her wallet, with her student ID under a plastic window in front. An ATM card, a five-dollar bill, two ones, and a twenty were tucked into the side pocket, along with a card for a free serving at FroYo2Go with eight of the twelve spaces punched.
I set the wallet back down and wiped my hands on my jeans, remembering what Jessie had said to me the night before. How flat she’d sounded. I’d told her it was going to be OK. This was definitely not OK. Who decided to leave school in the middle of the night? Without telling anybody? And leaving their wallet? Nobody, that’s who.
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