Ｔｉｔｌｅ：Peter Green and the Unliving Academy
Ｒａｔｉｎｇ：★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
＊Ｎｏｔｅ：I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Fourteen-year-old Peter Green can’t remember how he died.
All he has are his pajamas, a silk tie, and a one-way bus ticket to Mrs. Battisworth’s Academy and Haven for Unliving Boys and Girls, a strange and spooky school for dead orphans like himself. But that’s all he needs: the Unliving Academy has everything, from vampires in the hallways, to monsters in the cafeteria, to ghosts in the basement.
And that’s just the teachers; the students are far stranger.
As Pete learns to fit in with his new supernatural schoolmates, he starts to discover his own uniquely undead abilities, and even begins enjoying his life after death…but he just can’t shake the feeling that he’s forgotten something (or somebody!) important.
Somebody he left behind in the land of the living.
Somebody he loved very much.
Somebody who’s in terrible danger.
✩ Peter was very resilient. He kept going no matter what life (or should I say death?) threw at him. He was also very determined and kind.
❝ “Fourteen-year-old Peter Green woke up knowing only three things: the proper way to put on a tie, that lemon custard was disgusting, and that he was dead.” ❞
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own!
Before I start my review on Peter Green and the Unliving Academy, I have to say that most of my opinions of this book were positive, but I did end up giving it three stars simply because it wasn’t a book for me. It was just one of those books that had an interesting concept and seemed interesting, it just wasn’t my style. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it.
This book starts off with Peter knowing that he’s dead, but not knowing anything really about himself. It’s not until a little later that he learns that yes, he’s dead and no, he doesn’t have his memories. And he won’t be getting them until some time after he graduates from school. In the meantime, Peter finds himself dealing with the typical school experiences: homework, stress, bullies, finding his place, and oh yeah–werewolves, witches, vampires, and other supernatural creatures.
I really thought the idea behind the academy was cool and it all felt very… normal (minus the supernatural beings). Students at the academy prepared themselves for life after graduation. They looked forward to getting jobs/careers and meeting up with their families, getting their memories, and just everything that you might expect from ordinary living students.
It was also nice that we weren’t totally overwhelmed with information right away. The further you read into the book, the more you learn about Afterlife. It was nice to have that information spread out rather than all at once.
However, I think one of my issues in this book came from the overwhelming amount of names being thrown at us all the time. I’ve always been of the belief that if a character isn’t very important or they’re not going to have meaningful, consistent appearances then they don’t really need to be named. Just about every person that Peter interacts with is named and at a certain point, it just got to be too much. I think cutting back on the number of characters would have really strengthened the story.
My only other issue with the book was about the pacing in the book. With time, Peter starts remembering pieces of his past and he gets the sense that someone he cares about is in danger. I felt like this should’ve been a major point in the story (it’s certainly highlighted in the synopsis), but for most of the story, it’s not even mentioned. When it was, Peter made some comment about how he should be more focused on finding out who’s in danger and what to do about it–and then he moves onto something else.
It not only didn’t make sense (this should be a big point in the story, but it’s not), but it also made the story feel dragged out. I really wanted to know who was in danger and how Peter died. I had so many questions about these things but it didn’t feel like we were making enough progress fast enough. I would’ve liked to have jumped into the plot a little sooner.
Other than that, I think the story did have some pretty interesting ideas. I liked the explanation about how werewolves worked in Afterlife, how there were careers, the whole school/academy idea, the secret clubs, and just so many other concepts. Unfortunately, I just didn’t click with the writing style.
I think Peter Green and the Unliving Academy could be a fun book for a younger crowd. It’s quirky, charming, and imaginative!
What is your favorite middle-grade book?