I received an ARC eBook copy of this book for a blog tour, in exchange for an honest review.
Riley didn't think her boyfriend 'borrowing' his brother’s car and joy riding around town was a bad thing. That is until her boyfriend, Wade, runs over their high school nerd and bullying target; Anthony. After trying to swerve, a few seconds later everything is dark and Riley finds herself at Afterlife Academy; a high school for the dead - along with Anthony, who she was pretty sure Wade just killed. Afterlife Academy is a duplicate of their old high school and suddenly, Riley finds herself an outcast, pretty much friendless – and getting a taste of what life is like to those she tormented. Riley doesn’t want to stay at Afterlife Academy, she wants to go home to her friends and family, and there are rumours of an escape vortex. So Riley and Anthony decide to search the school to try and find their way home.
I loved this book so much; it was a lively and fantastic read. Even though it was a little tame and predictable at times, I found myself laughing with and at the characters and almost tearing up at one point. I’d recommend this book to anyone with a sense of humour, who loves example setting novels with a paranormal plot and anyone who just wants a light read.
Riley's character started off rude, mean and overly popular; pretty much all the characteristics that I hate. However, her character really grew on me as the book went on and I found that her character was funny, sort of sweet and was doing what basically like every girl in the world wants to do. She was trying to fit in. Riley is immature, even for her age of sixteen - she thinks the world revolves around her and her boyfriend. I know this is typical teenage behaviour at times, but you would think dying at your boyfriends hands would sombre you a bit - but apparently not. As the book goes on, Riley does mature a bit and finds out firsthand how horrible it is to be picked on and what it’s like to be an outcast. Because of this, her character blossoms and she realizes what she's been doing to people is wrong and wishes she could redeem herself.
Anthony's character was lovely. Even after all Riley did to him in the past, he was still willing to put it behind him and let bygones be bygones. Anthony continues to prove how much of a sweet guy he is throughout the book, being friends with Riley and being there for her all the time. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn't be all too willing to befriend someone that had tormented me so much - so props to Anthony for being a mature adult about the situation. Along with being smart and a bit of a geek, Anthony is also funny, kind and generous - he's definitely a character I'd like as a friend!
Even though I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, there were a few things that bugged me. I found it increasingly annoying how Riley kept saying about Anthony having a calculator in his front pocket. I know she keeps trying to remind herself that he's a geek, but the repetition of that phrase really, really irked me. I thought that the book was a little rushed in places and I believe that it could have been slightly longer and more detailed. Also, I was a little disappointed about the way the romance was played out, I thought it could have been a little more in-depth – but that might just be me being a romance fanatic.
Overall, I really loved this book. Afterlife Academy wasn’t a perfect book, but very few are. I believe the 4/5 star rating fits it perfectly, it would have been given a 5/5 star rating if it weren’t for the few things that bugged me – but every book has its faults. Jaimie Adman’s writing is fantastic, fresh and funny – I honestly can’t wait to read more by her in the future.