Aerin barely escapes slavery on the planet Vizhan, fleeing in her father’s broken down ship, the Fugitive. Knowing nothing of her past and having no answers since her father died when they crashed on Vizhan years ago, Aerin has no where to turn. Luckily, a friendly captain takes her onto his ship and secures her a place at a prestigious school, Academy 7. Aerin knows that she doesn’t really belong at Academy 7, doesn’t belong to the Alliance — the governmental body that supports the academy, and is at a disadvantage since she has had no formal education, so she works extra hard to prove herself, to prove that she belongs and give no one a reason to question her presence. Dane is the son of the Alliance’s military commander. His father is powerful and rich but a very hard man. Nothing Dane does can measure up to his father’s standards. When Dane is accepted to Academy 7, he only excepts the invitation because he knows his father would not approve, his father having some sort of falling out with the academy years ago. Dane is famous because of his father’s name and his own bad boy reputation, but behind it all is a cunning mind and he is determined to stay at Academy 7, at the very least to annoy his father. Aerin and Dane are very different but have more than they can expect in common. They both have tough, questionable pasts. They compete for top honors in every class. They both have secret pasts. Aerin and Dane are drawn together but will secrets and their own self destruction keep them apart?
Reaction: I found Academy 7 a quick, satisfying read. While the setting is technically sci-fi, with different habitable planets, easy interplanetary travel, artificial living environments, and more, readers who are not fans of sci-fi will still enjoy the story because at its center is simply two people with complicated lives trying to get by. I think teens will find themselves able to easily relate to both Aerin and Dane. They are both prickly because of their pasts and not very trusting of others. Aerin spent years fighting for her life as a slave. Dane’s father, while highly revered, abuses Dane both verbally and physically. What they don’t know is that they are connected by more than just similar experiences and attitudes, but by their family’s shared pasts. While secondary to their overall connection, finding out the truth about their pasts is an important part of Dane and Aerin’s story. Readers who like character driven stories with scarred but healing characters will enjoy Academy 7.