The Academy – Katie Site – Balzer+Bray – Published 22 May 2018
Frankie Brooks knows what she wants in life: to become the world’s next great fashion editor. All she needs to do is get into the elite American Fashion Academy in New York City. If she gets in, her life plans will be going right on schedule. Anna Wintour, watch out.
But after Frankie messes up one too many times—hey, it’s hard keeping up with classwork and an acclaimed fashion blog—her parents come up with entirely different plans for her future: Military school. How is Frankie, the least athletic person in the world, who knows absolutely nothing about the military, going to survive a whole semester at the famed—and feared—Academy?
With students who seem to be totally uninterested in her, a course-load that’s even more difficult than at her old school, and the weird athletic War Games competition Frankie has to join—her life is way harder than it used to be. And no one, including her roommate Joni, seems to understand Frankie at all.
As she learns how to cope in about a million drills, a hundred different specialized classes, and is maybe even falling for super-hot and super-smart cadet Jack Wattson, can Frankie prove to everyone that being a fashionista doesn’t mean she can’t succeed?
Secret confession: I adore the movie Cadet Kelly. You know, the one staring Hilary Duff about an artistic young girl who gets sent to military school. Mayhem ensues. So this book, The Academy, just called my name and insisted that I read it. The Devil Wears Prada meets Private Benjamin? Yes, please! Sign me up. It shares many similarities to the above mentioned movies. The Academy is at times laugh-out-loud funny and adventurous, but also focuses on the main character learning something about herself and about how she views and treats others.
Frankie dreams of becoming an editor for a top fashion magazine. Her fashion blog is already popular and she has applied to an elite fashion school. But when her parents discover she hosted a party at their home and cheated on her chemistry test, they decide to send Frankie to Albany Military Academy. Frankie is determined to get sent home as soon as possible (the military outfit really doesn’t work with her style), but is surprised to find that her position at the academy just might be worth fighting for after all.
Frankie is our narrator in The Academy. As the story is written from her perspective, readers get a pretty good idea about the type of person she is almost immediately. Frankie says anything and everything she is thinking, and this transfers to the general writing style as she shares every single thought that pops into her head. What could have been an adventure-filled novel instead focuses more on character development, as Frankie tries harder to be ‘good’, fit in, and become a better person. And she kind of needs to. Frankie is snarky in a whiney, snooty way, and she throws internal (and often verbal) insults at pretty much everyone because of their clothing choices. Frankie comes across as immature, bossy, and opinionated, but at least she recognises her flaws and is determined to change them.
The Academy makes use of the humour that results from an independent, head-strong girl trying to fit in at military school. High-ropes courses, archery, PT, and even ‘drop and give me twenty’ push Frankie to her physical limits. There are also friendship clashes and drama, a resident mean girl with which to contend, a hot and talented love interest, and laughably mean commanding officers. There are also some great lines. Frankie’s response to military strategy? “Lie down and play dead.”
The Academy pieces together a humorous story about the challenges faced by a girl born to standout as she tries to fit in.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Genre: Contemporary – Humour
Themes: Fashion, blogging, military school, discipline, friendship, family, physical fitness, style, romance, clothing, LGBT.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: Occasional coarse language, sh** (2), pi** (3).
Published: 22 May 2018 by Balzer+Bray.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 288 pages.