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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
With unusual subtlety and skill, CJ Daly introduces the characters and the themes in The Academy. Seventeen-year-old Kate Connelly is tired of everything. After losing her mother, she has to take care of her brothers and fill in the gap left by her mother. Their father has just signed off on them. Kate wants a break, a distraction, something to relieve the painful monotony. When she meets two mysterious strangers at the diner where she works, they catch her attention. She never expected to meet them again, but they turn up and then disappear into an alley. When one of the mysterious guys shows up in school, Kate knows she can’t ignore Cadet Davenport. Can she put him aside and live her life on her own terms?
CJ Daly crafts a novel with interesting, sophisticated characters. Beginning with the tragic loss that Kate suffers, the narrative moves from this premise to explore the emotions of a young female protagonist and a tale of love deftly developed. The effect that Cadet Davenport has on Kate is intriguing and the reader becomes very keen to see what she makes of it. While there is no steamy romance, the author ensures that readers stay engaged with the characters, thanks to the skillful use of suspense and the expert exploration of characters. The prose is exciting, the narrative is filled with originality, and the characters are true to life. The Academy will have a strong appeal for both young and adult readers and anyone looking for an exciting, contemporary YA romance.