Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Book Review: The Afterlife Academy by Frank L. Cole

Pages: 288
Released: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

A good, solid middle-grade book that should appeal equally to boys and girls. I'm already starting off this review pretty paint-by-numbers, but that's kind of because this is a pretty paint-by-numbers book. Which isn't a bad thing. See, here's what you get:
  • Feisty ghost sidekick
  • Shy living boy who geeks out in all the right ways and finds his inner strength and confidence
  • One-note villains who aren't complex, but also don't need to be
  • Steady pacing that isn't breakneck, but isn't slow either
  • Super short chapters
  • Clever, but not overly complex world-building
  • A Big Reveal that isn't super predictable
So, you can see how The Afterlife Academy doesn't really break new ground or stand out in any amazing way. But, it also doesn't stand out in any bad ways, either. The characters, plot, and world were also fleshed out enough to hold the interest of an adult reader. This may sound like damning with faint praise, but I think the exact opposite is the case. This is a dependable book. The kind of book that will deliver a solid, fun story. 

The Afterlife Academy is a good contribution that deserves a spot on gift lists and library shelves. This is a standalone, but it has a solid enough base that I could easily see it going on to become a steadily successful series. Recommended, especially for Rick Riordan fans.

Looking for another book like this? 
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