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.
This is not an easy review to write. Even if I am feeling lukewarm about a book, I try to find some positives to pass along. Because, as well all know, just because I didn’t love it doesn’t mean someone else won’t. But hard as I have tried (and trust me, I’ve been trying all day) I cannot think of a single thing I enjoyed about this book.
The first thing that threw me off was Sang. The story begins with Sang running away for a night. Before she is even a few houses away from home she is run over by her neighbor’s dog. Her neighbor, Kota, takes her to his house so she can clean up and then convinces her to stay the night (she sleeps on the bed and he on the trundle). The next day Kota introduces her to Victor and Silas and over the next few days she meets the other boys in varying circumstances. The synopsis says that she “infiltrates” this group of boys. I think that statement implies action on her part. She doesn’t seek out these new friends. She stumbles upon them quite accidentally and thanks to the controlling and abusive environment at home, she allows them to lead her without any concern to her own safety. In the short time frame in which this book takes place, Sang shows zero growth. We only see her weaknesses and no strengths.
The other problem I had were the boys. Now, we all know how much we love our fictional boyfriends. And you would think out of seven heroes I would be able to find at least ONE new boyfriend. But I couldn’t. These guys are overbearing and controlling. Almost every scene with Sang and these boys set my teeth on edge. So many instances struck me as inappropriate and unsafe. All I could see were overprotective boys taking advantage of a young abused girl and her lack of boundaries. And speaking of the abuse, she ends up telling these boys of the abuse and none of them do anything. Seven young men and not a single one of them tells an adult that the girl they just met was just forced to gulp down a glass of vinegar and lemon juice so she wouldn’t be able to talk to boys on the phone? Yeah, just like her mom, those guys are real winners.
And the final straw was that this book contained no plot. Its sole purpose was to introduce us to Sang and her seven new friends. It is very likely the plot that the synopsis alludes to is in future books. Unfortunately, this “Introduction” turned me off so much that I will not be reading the following installments to find out what that plot might be.
I take no enjoyment in writing this review. I do want to say that my feelings on this book are entirely personal. And just because it’s not for me, doesn’t mean it may not be for you.