The Academy: Introductions (Year One, Book 1 of the Ghost Bird Series) by C. L. Stone [Book and Audiobook Review]

With an agoraphobic mother and a barely-there father, Sang abhors the isolation keeping her in the shadows. The only thing Sang craves is a fresh start and to be accepted as ordinary by her peers, because for her being different meant being cast out alone.

When her family moves to a new school district, Sang infiltrates a group of boys nearly perfect in every way. Grateful for an influence outside of her parents’ negativity, she quickly bonds with the boys, hoping to blend in and learn from them what it means to have a natural relationship with friends. Only the boys have secrets of their own and they’ll do anything to keep her safe from the knowledge of the mysterious Academy that they’ve sworn allegiance to.

Bit by bit, Sang discovers that her friends are far from the normalcy she expected. Will her loyalty change when she’s forced to remain in the dark, or will she accept that she’s traded one house of secrets for another? Meet Kota, Victor, Silas, Nathan, Gabriel, Luke and North in a story about differences and loyalty, truth and mystery, friendships and heart-throbbing intimacy. The Academy, ever vigilant.

Greetings Readers,

*Well I am here with another audiobook review!!  This one is one of my favorite books and each book that comes after it in the series is more exciting.  I can’t wait to share this book with you.  I read this book before it became an audiobook and it’s an impressive read, I reread this and the books after until I get to the newest book. 

*A girl walks down the street with a plan to stay out late without her parents knowing, because her mother is a sick woman who severely punishes the girl and her older sister for even being near a person the mother doesn’t know…..because she’s agoraphobic.  It’s raining and all the girl can think about is her mother’s paranoid speeches of how girls are always being kidnapped and raped or killed, when she hears someone running in her direction. It turns out to be a dog that knocks her on her butt and she then meets her first real friend, the dog’s owner, Kota. As you read on in the book she makes friends with Kota’s friends—Victor, Silas, Nathan, Gabriel, Luke and North.  And that they go to a private “school” known as the Academy and that they have been sent to the public school to do research of some kind and that there are two of their teachers, Mr. Blackbourne and Dr. Green, at the school as well.  Throughout the book Sang learns that her life was not as a normal girl should have, and that her mother’s paranoia is the reason why. 

*Now, what I liked most about the book was that it was written in first person POV.  I like that C. L. Stone didn’t write the thoughts of every character, because, I think that would get too confusing and then the series would end up being really short.  It is set in a town in North Carolina, close to Charleston and it wasn’t until I listened to the audiobook that I even thought of the character’s speaking with a southern accent!

*While reading, and listening, I found something that most authors don’t write about.  The language and I’m not talking a different kind either. I’m talking about swearing. Most authors that write about high school age characters may put a few “choice” words throughout their books, but Stone writes in a that a normal teenager speaks.  While there wasn’t much swearing going on in the schools, kids would let those words out like it wasn’t wrong. I personally don’t like hearing that stuff in public and especially not around my impressionable daughter.  Stone writes a lot of the book with the mind of a teenager and how they would normally behave when around friends. 

There are somethings I didn’t enjoy about the book/audiobook, and one was that I kinda don’t like is how she names off brands through Sang.  I thought just saying that once character’s certain piece of clothing looked better made than hers would have been better.  Some of the brands are ok, like Nike or even Levi jeans.  But Gucci or Ralph Lauren were a bit of a stretch for a girl that had no experience buying those items or even just recognizing them from magazines or the internet.  Another was with the audiobook. With the audiobook, Stone had a male and female narrator for this book.  In this first book, the male narrator did a good job on some of the male characters; however, he made two of the boy’s sound way too similar and one sound nothing of what most people had the idea of how he should have sounded.  Now, while it was set in the south-east area, I never thought of Gabriel sounding southern.  I had in mind for him as a sounding less like a southern gentleman, more northern-ish.   I don’t know….I just didn’t think of him in the way Chris Ensweiler portrayed him.  Now, Stone obviously had the opposite thought as she allowed the audiobook to be released as it was.  I saw no problem grammatically and she did a fabulous job in describing everything in a way that was easy to conjure in your mind. 

*That’s all I have for you today readers and I’ll put up my review for First Days next week.  Tell me what you thought of the book and have a fabulous day!!

Love ❤

Wordie

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