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The Afterlife Academy

Enlist in the Afterlife AcademyCover the The Afterlife Academy; two boys standing in front of a yellow heraldric shield with the title on it.

Walter Prairie knows how to deal with bullies. He just has to beat them to the punch. But he doesn’t see the biggest hit of his life coming when he is struck dead by a bolt of lightning. Before Walter even knows what’s happened, he is sent to a Categorizing office, fast-tracked through the Afterlife Academy, and assigned as a Guardian Agent to protect a High-Level Target.

Walter’s HLT, Charlie Dewdle, isn’t exactly the most popular kid in school. He’s what you might call paranormally obsessed. When Charlie finds an ancient book with spells that can be used to open the Gateway for demons to wreak havoc on earth, it’s up to him and Walter to fight an eclectic horde of enemies and protect humankind at all costs.

But saving the world isn’t so easy. Especially when your protector doesn’t know the first thing about the Underworld, bullies like Mo Horvath are trying to hunt you down, pretty and popular Melissa Bittner is suddenly talking to you, and your parents think you’re going crazy.

Don’t put this book down. Clutch it tightly and move quickly to a quiet place. You are so close to joining the adventure of a lifetime—or after-lifetime.

—Obert Skye, bestselling author of Witherwood Reform School and the Creature from My Closet series.

Twelve-year-old Walter Praire is a Guardian Agent. Agent not angel. And right now he is supposed to be protecting a kid named Charlie who has dug up a powerful book, The Summoner’s Handbook, which evidently every evil demon, wraith, and shade is after. Of course, Walter was supposed to have four years of training at the Afterlife Academy before being thrown into guarding a HLT (High Level Target), but it was only yesterday that he had found his way to the Categorizing office after dying from a lightning strike. So Walter does the only thing he can think of and throws himself between Charlie and the demon that is about the suck him into the underworld. And that is how Walter finds himself inside Charlie.

Charlie is obsessed with the paranormal and, needless to say, not very socially popular and now he has to deal with being possessed by a Guardian Agent. He knows he is in grave danger, especially now that he can see all the afterworld creatures around him and so he turns to the world expert on paranormal activity: Wisdom Willows. It proves to be a near-fatal mistake. As evil closes in on them, Walter, Charlie, and his family find themselves following Wisdom’s advice right into a trap to try to open a gate between the demon and human world. The characters are likable and relatable. The tone throughout is the perfect level of sarcastic humor mixed with a realistic view of kids’ social interactions. The plot and afterlife invention is certainly a clever way to imagine what happens after you die.

VERDICT An appealing ghost story without being creepy, this title would a great read for any reader looking for a mix of adventure and humor.
—Clare A. Dombrowsky, Amesbury Public Library, MA

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