At an ultra prestigious and ultra exclusive boarding school (only 50 students admitted a year, of whom only half get to stay the next), two paths cross. Dane is the son of privilege and power, and for him entering Academy 7 is an act of defiance against his abusively controlling father. For Aerin, the Academy offers hope that, after a desperate escape from the miserable existence she endured after her father's death, she will have a future.
Aerin and Dean are the two brightest students at Academy 7, challenging each other, and the assumptions that underlie their lives. By the end of the year, a relationship that began in competition has turned into much more, and they discover the secrets held at the top of the dark tower that looms over the school....
....a tower that can only be reached by space ship. Because Academy 7 is not an ordinary school, nor are Dane and Aerin typical American teenagers. Although plotwise, there's not a lot here to set the book apart from a standard girl meets boy at school story, Academy 7 isn't on earth. It's set in an interplanetary future, with a back story, geographic details, and technical tidbits that make it science fiction.
However, because the science fiction elements are essentially extraneous to the plot, Academy 7 might have more appeal for fans of the teen romantic fiction, who might find it an enjoyable change of setting. This is perhaps a good thing, because it seems to be marketed toward that audience, as there's absolutely nothing on the cover (either in the picture, or, more surprisingly, in the blurb on the back) to let the browser know that this story does not take place on earth. It is easy to imagine readers being rather surprised when they find themselves, in the first paragraph, on board a crippled spacecraft struggling to survive.
On the other hand, now that the characters have been introduced and the stage is set, there is most definitely room for more books in this world, and lots of scope for Aerin and Caleb to adventure out in the vastness of space....I would like that. Although, being a sucker for boarding school stories, I would be sad to say goodbye to the Academy and its intriguing headmistress just yet. At least one more book should be set there!
Other reviews at YA Book Nerd and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.