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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

on 22 April 2014
This was the very first book I read for my readathon and I was so excited about reading it because I love Jaimie’s books. As expected, I wasn’t disappointed and like her other work I’ve read, it was charming, witty and completely bonkers. Afterlife Academy is about a girl called Riley who quite unfortunately, dies in a car accident. Along with Anthony, the geekiest boy in her school who was also a victim in the accident, they end up at the Afterlife Academy – a school for the dead. This bizarre world is completely upside down – Riley is the outcast whereas she was the most popular girl in school whilst alive but whilst her perfect life unravels she makes some new friends, is redeemed for her past and realises that her perfect life wasn’t so perfect after all and the Afterlife Academy isn’t as bad as it seems.

Although an ultimately morbid concept, Jaimie manages to make it fun and enjoyable. I loved the idea of this book – it’s very original and I like that although at first glance it’s a bit weird and wacky, it does skim the surface of some very real issues for example when one of the girls from the school says to Riley, “Some of us chose to be here… This is the best thing that’s ever happened to some of us.” I had a good sense of the characters – especially Riley who came across as ignorant, naïve and stuck-up despite how much she tried to convince us otherwise. She did annoy me a bit what with being so uptight and obsessed with her boyfriend, Wade who not only cheated on her, killed her as well but by the end of the book I was glad to see that she came to her senses and changed from the girl she started off as. Anthony was the cutest character I’ve read about in a long time – the ultimate school geek. I felt for him so much and I just wanted to jump into the pages and give him a massive hug.

Jaimie really is one to look out for in YA literature however I feel her books would appeal to a wider audience beyond young adults as they’re so light-hearted and fun. We all need one of those kind of books every now and again don’t we? It has a straight-forward, to the point and an easy to read narrative which allowed the chapters to flow nicely along from one another. Jaimie’s done it again – provided us with another one of her classically quirky, wonderfully weird and utterly enjoyable books that reels you in from the very first page.

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on 1 April 2013
It's a question that humanity seems to have grappled with ever since the evolution of complex thought; what happens when we die? Some people say that, if we've been good, we go to heaven (or somewhere significantly worse than the naughty-step if we've been bad) and some say that only sweet, eternal nothingness is what we have in store. But in Jaimie Adman's third novel, Afterlife Academy, sixteen-year-old Riley Richardson finds out that, after she dies, it's back to school. Immediately.

Yes, things don't exactly start out well for popular girl Riley in Afterlife Academy as, moments after dying in a car crash, she finds herself standing outside the gates of The Afterlife Academy; a school for people who die before they have a chance to finish their education. To make matters worse, she's stranded there with class geek from her old school and second victim of the crash, Anthony. After the unlikely pair make their way inside they soon discover that they have to participate in a series of lessons; haunting, visualisation, (even maths!) in order to `graduate' - a mysterious process by which they leave the academy never to return.

So, a lot for Riley to deal with then, and, unfortunately, she does not deal with it well. After finally accepting that she is in fact dead, Riley becomes seriously frustrated when, despite having been the most popular girl at her previous school, she realises things are now very different. Riley is the school bottom-feeder; mocked, tripped over in the dinner hall and generally despised for not exhibiting the pale grey tones the other students, as well as the school building, all sport.

With Riley having been a pretty nasty person in life (she and her boyfriend Wade viciously bullied Anthony), you might well expect to be cheering this punishment on. And you probably would be if it weren't for the fact that, in death, Riley comes across as a remarkably likeable character. It's a surprise that you can be so easily won over by such a (previously) mean girl but, thanks to Adman's superb writing, this is exactly what happens in Afterlife Academy and, despite initially maintaining a feisty facade, Riley soon begins to realise how cruel she's been and begins to crave redemption.

All this might sound like it makes for a somewhat dark and depressing read, but the book is actually exceptionally funny, and this is in no small part thanks to the colourful cast of supporting characters; other recently deceased teenagers, a demon dinner lady and even a bloodthirsty (but completely immobile) pumpkin named Charlie. There is also a strong strand of romance throughout the book and this ties in with the redemption theme very nicely; after all, if love can't save us, what in the afterworld can?
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on 26 November 2013
I found this book really frustrating. A big part of myself hated this book yet it still kept my attention to the end of the book.

I hated the main character (Riley) in this book. Her ability not to be able to look past her former knight in armour and boyfriend, Wade. She almost comes of as a poster-child for a spousal abuse victim (even though she wasn't a spousal abuse victim). But when she finds herself in the afterlife of all the excuses she comes up for Wade. I know they say 'love is blinding', but in this aspect it seems she can't see anything beyond Wade. Even her family was briefly touched upon (and mainly that was halfway through the book).

What about Riley herself? Well there's not really a lot of depth to Riley. In life she validated herself through the opinions of others. She did this by mainly putting overs down to push her self up. She in life was classed as popular in school, but her popularity was circumstantial.

There's a part in a book that states if there was a prom king and queen in the whole country that she and Wade would win, I think that came of as very shallow.

She comes of as very selfish through must of the book. She doesn't deserve this, but she does deserve this. As if she should get what she wants and the universe should bend over backwards to accommodate her wishes.

This is a book about self-discovery for Riley, and Riley does have a lot of pitfalls. She does start to make changes throughout the book and you can see the potential for her to be someone who is great, but you can't expect such changes to happen over night.

I kind have wished this was a dark-fantasy novel, instead of a supernatural romance novel (if i could call it that?). I kind of wished she got her wish and returned home without Anthony and regretted returning and missing an great opportunity because she was so hung up on her perfect life which wasn't as perfect as she thought.

Despite all the vices this book had. I still found it interesting to actually read. Overall I would rate it 2.5 out of 5. I probably would have given higher, but I half liked this book and half hated it.
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on 14 June 2014
I read and reviewed Not Pretty Enough last year, and I was excited to read this – I love a good boarding school story! The idea of having to return to high school after death is a fantastic concept for a book, and I wasn’t disappointed. Sixteen-year-old Riley was looking forward to going to prom with her boyfriend Wade, but after a joyriding accident, wakes up dead. To her horror, high school doesn’t end when life does, and her only company is Anthony, the nerdy boy she used to bully.

Admans does a great job of making Riley a likeable character despite her previously being judgemental and cruel to others. Riley goes from being popular to being shunned for her bright blond hair in a world where everything is grey. The narrative voice is great and there’s plenty of humour – I love the creative touches, like the microwaves, biting pumpkins, and dinner lady with horns!

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a fun romantic comedy with a paranormal twist!I read and reviewed Not Pretty Enough last year, and I was excited to read this – I love a good boarding school story! The idea of having to return to high school after death is a fantastic concept for a book, and I wasn’t disappointed. Sixteen-year-old Riley was looking forward to going to prom with her boyfriend Wade, but after a joyriding accident, wakes up dead. To her horror, high school doesn’t end when life does, and her only company is Anthony, the nerdy boy she used to bully.

Admans does a great job of making Riley a likeable character despite her previously being judgemental and cruel to others. Riley goes from being popular to being shunned for her bright blond hair in a world where everything is grey. The narrative voice is great and there’s plenty of humour – I love the creative touches, like the microwaves, biting pumpkins, and dinner lady with horns!

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a fun romantic comedy with a paranormal twist!
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Oh what I fun filled quick read this was. This was a perfect little read I need to get over the last book I read. I was light and quirky with a riveting plot. I haven't read many ghost story but I like how the author has put her own spin on the Afterlife. If you haven't finish school when you die you will go back to school until you graduate and move into the Ghost World to get a job. At first I was like "What? Having to go back to school after you die now that sucks." However, it was fantastic and different to most ghost books I have read.

It follows Riley a popular girl at school who dies in an accident, which kills a fellow student. They are both sent to Afterlife Academy. Riley doesn't think she belongs there. She doesn't want to be belong. She doesn't fit in but she doesn't make it easy for herself either. She is whiny and annoying about her situations and ALWAYS going on about her boyfriend Wade. However, things aren't that bad with Anthony around. Now Anthony use to be bullied by Riley and her gang at school. He is quiet and doesn't fit in at school. But at Afterlife Academy he belongs. He is popular and people like him. Riley and Anthony build a friendship and he helps her become who she really is.

Afterlife Academy is like nothing I have ever read. I highly recommend this if you are looking for a story that is little bit fun and different. The plot is exciting and so fast paced that you can easily read it in a sitting or two. The author manages to create a cute and funny ghost story but interwines some serious moments aswell. Go grab yourself a copy it's only 99p on kindle and see for yourself. :)

I first seen this cover when I took part in the Official Cover Reveal. I loved it straight away. I love how it is mostly greyish tones but has the pink that really pops! The cover really fits with the story. It is just a really pretty cover.
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on 1 June 2013
I signed up for the Blog Tour that will help promote this book in May (on the 10th). Once again, you're welcome to check it out @ Amy Bookworm for info on the book & a GIF (this is not the only element of the review lost due to C&P, formatting may be incorrect): http://spreadingukya2013.blogspot.com/2013/05/reviewing-23-afterlife-academy.html

It was enjoyable seeing Riley step inside (having not mastered the magically appearing thing after 5 minutes of death) a school identical to her old school- the contents of the school are much different & they are all in their afterlife and apparently understand her "adjustment issues". Yeah, well- it'd be easier if their was a thing to like underneath all the maths, redemption, haunting, visualisation and... well, therapy. It'd have been quiet cool to see Riley learn that but, perhaps, she learns some more valuable lessons (minus maths in this case). There are definitely paranormal aspects but they all seem to be described early on, there wasn't a lot of emphasis put on red-horned dinner ladies, vampire pumpkins and Art rooms devoid of colour. This is just the world which fades into the background (perhaps that's how Wade- the living boyfriend- you & I missed it?) "Death World" wasn't entirely likeable to me (it seemed more "parallel universey", they even called it "life") but this is a paranormal novel- not "Afterlife- the theology" so I suppose it would be original for the death theme.

Well, the characters were quite original too. Riley wasn't what she seemed. Sure, she was a bully (and she won't lie, but rightfully shares the blame) but she doesn't want to continue being a bully, especially when it seems like she wouldn't be getting a popularity as a reward. Now, I expected to sort of like Riley but to be honest she spent most of the book getting on my nerves. I don't know why but books that seem to focus on character's & have a plot facade annoy me... I was honestly thinking the reason she must be going in circles so much was so that she could wear a hole in the ground or something & go into a vortex.
However, in hindsight I realize how well it was executed- even with the snakes 'n' ladders I was engrossed, the story was embellished in that respect. I loved Adman's style, it didn't seem like Riley was just whining for the sake of it, it felt like... I don't know, real. Even though the book didn't span over much more than a few weeks it felt like it did. It felt like there was a reason she wasn't learning & if I felt at any point that it was like Riley was just turning to her "readers" to moan every minute I'd have put it down. Probably.
She didn't just get away with it- people do guide her (firmly) & Riley doesn't have her emotions spared (poor girl). I'd like to share one little quote with you that I loved in Afterlife Academy, it summarizes this: "Accepting that you weren't always fair goes a long way to righting the wrong."
So, I accepted Riley's turmoil eventually- thanks to the goths/emos (and the above). Eeek, I love how there seemed to be a mix of cultures (stereotypes or not, they're up my street) that had to come together! They were the BOMB because they were so realistic. If you're wondering, it wasn't much of a romance (however the visualisations & flashbacks were umm... something like that)- she didn't create a romantic relationship with a goth either. Bonds and friendships seemed to mean more in the afterlife & I think that's something Riley struggled with- I know I would... I do know, I was concealed but I was THERE. Pretending to be the Haribo-eating- and apparently vampire- pumpkin of course... I felt like I was there though (:
Nice bit of scenery, me! Not. :P If I wasn't scenery in the book I'd have created more action... not the bad kind, readers of this know what I'm on about, there was some "action" but not a lot of real of edge-of-the-seat moments (I did read this in two places anyway, neither car: a) bed b) car on 3-4 hour journey) but there was tension. Tension has more beauty to it... Y'know?
I may have (actually or am I still talking about if I wasn't scenery?) visibly been laughing at Riley's humour. She'd probably appreciate (maybe not on second thoughts) the girl laughing at her & her comical (not clumsiness though) ways/words (yes, I didn't actually laugh out loud, I didn't want family getting grouchy every 5 minutes)... Ooh, it may have distracted her from moaning. I should've been in Afterlife Academy :P
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on 11 May 2013
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.
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on 22 March 2013
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to author Jaimie Admans.)
16-year-old Riley is seriously annoyed to find herself stood outside of a school that looks very similar to the one she attends, with quite possibly the geekiest boy in her year - Antony. Only moments ago she was skipping school and riding in her boyfriend's brother's car, that he had `borrowed'. How the hell did she get here?

Riley is about to get some bad news though, because not only is this not where she wants to be, but this isn't even her school - it's The Afterlife Academy, and both she and Antony were killed by Riley's boyfriend Wade's dangerous driving.

Riley is seriously not impressed. There is no way she should be dead! And she certainly shouldn't be at Afterlife Academy. The only thing for it is to try and find some way to escape, back to her life, back to before the accident that killed her.
Does Riley really belong at Afterlife Academy? Is there any way to go back? And can she find the exit before it's too late?

This was a great fun read, and Riley was just so adorably clueless!

This is the second book that I have read by this author, and the second that has made me laugh! Riley is a bit of a naïve, self-important sort of person, and the things she came out with were pretty funny! She refused to believe that she was dead, and insisted on believing that her good-for-nothing boyfriend Wade (who killed her!) was going to come and rescue her! She even managed to convince herself that she was still connected to Wade, and that if she concentrated hard enough she would be able to get a message through to him!
Riley was such a sweet girl, but she really needed a lesson in manners and selflessness, and it was fun to watch her learn these lessons, and change the sort of person she was. It was also funny to read about all the pranks she tried to pull, and the ways she searched for a way out of the Afterlife Academy.

Riley did grow during this book though, and it was nice how she got a taste of her own medicine when it came to bullying, and began to see the error of her ways. I also liked some of the other characters at Afterlife Academy, and the little quirks that made Afterlife Academy different to a regular school.
Antony was also a likeable character, although he was a lot more forgiving of Riley than he maybe should have been. I think he probably found her cluelessness a bit adorable as well.

There was a hint of romance in this book between Riley and Antony, but nothing major. Most of the storyline was concerned with Riley, what she learned at the Academy, and how she grew as a person. I'm not sure I've read about a school for ghosts before, but this was certainly an interesting idea that even though you are dead, you are not necessarily qualified to be a ghost! I found this story quite unique in this aspect, and it was fun reading all the plans that Riley came up with in her attempts to get out of Afterlife Academy!

Another thing I liked about this book was how `English' it was! More books should include the insult `sod-off', and `oh bugger' instead of something with four letters.

Overall; this was a fun YA story about a girl learning that her actions have consequences, which would appeal to both younger and older readers.
7 out of 10.
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on 25 October 2015
Jaimie Admans's Afterlife Academy is a juicy nugget of young-adult / romantic comedy that has plenty of laughs and drama along the way. Discovering that after you're dead you have to go back to school is enough to haunt any teenager of today!

Admans writes with conviction, and with a fresh voice that only brings her contemporary characters to the fore with realistic and honest dialogue. This all adds to the authentic flavour of the novel - one that will resonate with the modern youth readers of today. The way Admans captures both lead characters is brilliant.

What makes this novel such a success, despite its macabre undertones, is just how light it is. As I read it, I was taken aback by how easy it was to take it all in, connect with the characters - and oh how I laughed too - I mean growling pumpkins, horned dinnerladies? Such original imagination to fit in with the death and larger themes of the book.

Morality, redemption, and guilt all play a large part in this coming of age novel. I felt drawn to the 'secret exit' hidden in the academy somewhere (something I felt I wanted to read more about). I think it takes a brave author to challenge convention and turn the theme of death on its head and present - to the young adult audience - a more lighter, more aspiring afterlife. Clean prose, humour slotted in effortlessly, Afterlife Academy is a must for someone looking for something a little different than the usual romantic comedies currently trending.
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on 15 March 2013
Riley Richardson finds herself stood outside the school gates with the biggest geek from her school, a boy called Anthony. Why exactly she is there -- and with him -- she has no idea, as it wasn't that long ago that she was in the car being driven by her boyfriend Wade. And why is Anthony even talking to her?

Somehow, their school looks different. For a start, everything is grey. The writing on the sign by the gate keeps changing. A prefect suddenly appears in front of them, and then just as suddenly vanishes again. And then Riley realises -- Wade has killed both her and Anthony with his reckless driving. They aren't at their school -- they're at the Afterlife Academy.

Riley knows she isn't meant to be at this place. For a start, she doesn't fit in, and even Anthony is more popular than she is. She needs to get back to her old life in the real world, before the accident happened, and stop Wade from killing her and Anthony.

As a character, Riley is slightly naïve, and definitely self-centred, but comes to realise that her behaviour in the past was very hurtful. And perhaps Wade wasn't the dream boyfriend she'd thought he was...

The story mainly focuses on how Riley changes as a person, and how 'life' after death doesn't necessarily follow on from the life she used to have. Although she is used to being the centre of attention and surrounded by people who want to be her, or at least want to be her friend, that doesn't prepare Riley for being the centre of attention in a different way at the Afterlife Academy.

I thought this was a really fun and original idea, and although I don't normally read many YA books, this has certainly made me think about searching out a few more to try. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it for anyone looking for a fast, fun and original read!

(Free advanced review copy received.)
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