Every young citizen of the Alliance between the ages of sixteen and seventeen is given the Academy Entrance Exam. The results of the test determines which Academy the student will attend. Academy 7 is the most prestigious school in all of the Alliance, and only the students with the top 50 scores are invited to attend each year.
Aerin Renning and Dane Madousin both receive invitations to Academy 7, and both decide to accept for their own, very different, reasons. Aerin has some deep, dark secrets that could ruin her chances at the Academy and guards herself against exposure by isolating herself from others. She spends her time studying about the politics and history of the Alliance in order to excel in her classes so she can secure a return invitation the next year.
Dane is the son of a very powerful man. Not only is his father a successful General, but he is also on the Council, the small group of people who governs the Alliance. Attending Academy 7 isn't Dane's dream, but in order to spite his father, he decides to make the most of his time there. Dane soon excels in his studies and holds the number one position in every class except one - Personal Combat. There is one person that bests him in Combat on a daily basis - Aerin.
After disciplinary action forces Aerin and Dane to work together, he tries to break through the wall that she has created. Slowly, as they learn more about each other, their secrets come out and, together, they come to terms with their problems.
Anne Osterlund has created an interesting science fiction world for ACADEMY 7. Both Aerin and Dane change and grow throughout the course of the story and witnessing their failures and triumphs is interesting.
The story has a satisfying ending and could easily be a stand-alone novel, but on the other hand, there are story lines that could definitely continue. We'll have to wait and see what the author has in mind.
Reviewed by: Karin Librarian