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Friday, February 3, 2012

Book Review: Beyond by T.P. Boje

Beyond (The Academy) by T.P. Boje

Series: Afterlife #1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication Date: September 9, 2011
Publisher: Self-published
Format: Paperback
Pages: 265
Source: From author for review

Have you ever wondered where you go when you die?

Meghan is 16 when it happens to her. She wakes up on a flying steamboat on her way to a school run by Angels in a white marble castle. It is a school everybody has to go to before they are let into Heaven. On the boat she meets Mick who has been dead for more than a hundred years but still looks like a teenager. He helps her past the difficult beginning at the new school in a new world. One day some of Meghan's roommates find a mirror in the cellar of the school and they persuade her to go through it with them - well knowing it is strictly against the rules of the school. Meghan ends up back on earth where she meets Jason. But Jason is in danger and Meghan know something important. Something that is a matter of life and death. Soon she is forced to choose between the two worlds. The one she belongs to now and the one she left.

Beyond is the first novel in T. P. Boje's Afterlife series and is great for children and teenagers ages 9 and up. (

There's the age-old question "What makes a book, the writing or the story?" Most of the time, I say that both components are essential to creating a book worth reading, but sometimes elaborate prose that flow off the page and twist your mind are overwhelming and you just want to be told a good story. That's what it was my experence reading Beyond. The writing was not bad, please do not misunderstand me, but it wasn't particularly stunning. Some of the dialogue was stilted and there could have been a lot more details, but the book was quick and refreshing and told a story that was interesting.

The world was set up very decently. I still have some questions, but there are more books in the series and I can't expect (or even want, really) all the worldbuilding in the first book. There were a few things I found slightly unbelievable or inconsistent, but in the end, those things didn't matter. I also found a few things to be slightly similar to the world set up in Harry Potter. Not exactly the same, but just similar. That's not a bad thing, persay, but it subtracts from the originality, obviously.

Now the plot and main storyline were what I really adored. I loved reading about this whole new life after death and I liked how the characters in this novel didn't just turn into all-knowing being when they died. Instead they have to attend an academy, no matter how old, where they learn special things like how to fly or walk through walls. The religious aspects in this book are there, but not preachy or overwhelming. There are good spirits and there are bad, and the good must continuously fight the bad spirits' influence. There are hints and talk about an ancient war and Heaven and I'm hoping there are more of those things in the next books--in the same nonpreachy way, of course. Then here was the climax, which was my FAVORITE part. There were a lot of parts in this book that seemed sort of convienant or easy, but the climax was epic! There was a ton of anticipation that had my heart literally pounding and my mind frantically devouring each word! And then the ending! Oh my, it absolutely broke my heart! I did not see parts of it coming, and yet it didn't necessarily come out of nowhere. I wasn't crazy about the beginning because it directly addressed the readers and that's a feat that I believe to be difficult to pull off, but it only happens in the beginning, so it wasn't too bad.

This is a nice read if you're looking for something quick and creative and not too heavy. This book had many flaws, but I still enjoyed it. I definitely want to read the sequel. Also, this book is suitable for all ages and would be a good read for younger kids that are beginning to read YA and MG books!

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~ Gabbi