Today, we are welcoming Anne to write a guest post for Bookcase to Heaven™ as part of THE LAST ACADEMY blog tour organised by Shane @ Itching for Books.
I suggested “A Day in the life” of one of the characters from The Last Academy. Anne jumped the chance to spend a little time with Lethe’s Drama teacher, Mr. Cooper, better known to the students as Coop. In the book, he’s a mischievous fellow, but here you’ll find he’s got a bit of a dark side. Enjoy!
THE LAST ACADEMY
Curtis Sittenfeld's PREP meets THE SIXTH SENSE in this spine-tingling, unforgettable debut.
Camden Fisher arrives at boarding school haunted by a falling-out with her best friend back home. But the manicured grounds of Lethe Academy are like nothing Cam has ever known. There are gorgeous, preppy boys wielding tennis rackets, and circles of girls with secrets to spare. Only . . . something is not quite right. One of Cam's new friends mysteriously disappears, but the teachers don't seem too concerned. Cam wakes up to strangers in her room, who then melt into the night. She is suddenly plagued by odd memories, and senses there might be something dark and terrible brewing. But what? The answer will leave Cam--and readers--stunned and breathless, in this thrilling debut novel.
God, I hate kids. I’ve seen a million of them over the years, stinking of bubblegum and deodorant and excitement, bright futures ahead of them. Not like me. I’m the most senior educator at Lethe. And as Barnaby Charon says, I’m tenured.
Late at night, Barnaby and I sit together in the Faculty Room. We drink cup after cup of coffee and discuss the human condition. His teeth clink against the ceramic mug with each sip. This habit will eventually cause either his teeth, or my sanity, to break. But I don’t let on. I needle him with questions. Where do the children go after he knocks on their dorm room doors, late at night? Why do the ones who come back have no memories? He tells me everything, but never what I really want to know: why won’t he take me?
“You know the reason.” He dismisses my pleas and drains his mug. Clink. Does the man have no lips at all to pad his teeth? I think you are lying, I conclude now, after all these years. I think some inexplicable part of you would be lonely without me. I turn to the window, gritting my own teeth. Outside, in flashing form, students sneak out of their dorms, off to discover all the secrets of youth. Lucky fools.
Tonight, I ask a new question. “Are there others like me?”
Barnaby lets out a hiss like water on a campfire. My heart thumps faster in my chest. I’m terrified of him, but I press my luck, hoping beyond hope that tonight I will hear something new. I say, “There’s a place called Devil’s Hole. A…a spring-filled cavern out in the middle of Death Valley. They say it’s bottomless.” I take a deep breath. In 1965, two boys went skin diving down into the depths of Devil’s Hole and never returned. Rescuers searched four days, diving down 150 feet into the caverns. Rumor has it one of the boy’s gear eventually washed up… on the shores of Baja, California.
“Who is ‘they’?” Barnaby asks.
“I saw it on TV,” I flush, aware of how grasping it sounds. But I know a little something about caves and being lost in them. About disappearing into them. Devil’s Hole is like a piece of steak stuck between my teeth, only it’s a thought in my brain.
Clink. “You are the Null Hypothesis, Mr. Cooper,” he answers. We’ve had this conversation. In medicine, accepting Null Hypothesis means a potential treatment had no effect. To us, it has become shorthand to mean I will never escape this place, no matter what I try. My fate is null. I cannot accept it.
Sometimes, when a student is ready to leave, I weep. Nobody seems surprised – after all, I’m the drama teacher, all about theatrics. They don’t know the mad thoughts that run through my head, how I would skin them and wear their bodies as a disguise if I could, just to get out of here.
Tomorrow, Spring Break starts. For the first time in untold years, I’ve got big plans. I’ll get in my car and start driving. Death Valley is only six hours away – I can be there by dark. I have no scuba gear, but if you know me, you’ll understand I won’t need it. See, Barnaby dodged my question: Are there others like me? Now I can’t stop hoping. Maybe there are even two like me. Maybe I will find them at Devil’s Hole. Maybe there is a way to escape the null.
Anne Applegate was born in Chico, California. Most of her childhood was spent moving across America with her family, nomad style.
When Anne was fourteen, her parents sent her to boarding school so she could spend four years in a single educational system. As it turned out, her family then promptly settled into a small mid-western town and lived there for the next sixteen years. Anne still hasn’t figured out if this means something.
After graduation, she went on to Tufts University in Medford, MA, where she had a wicked good time. Eventually, she wound up back on the west coast, where she married a fantastic Californian guy. Together, they have three children.
For the last twelve years, Anne has lived in San Luis Obispo County. This is by far the longest time she has stayed in any one place her whole life. She immensely enjoys living where 1) the sun always shines and 2) she isn’t the weirdest person in town.
I'm undergoing a busy time in my life which leaves little time for reviewing extensively on this blog -- but fret not, I'll be updating my reading status & continuing to share what irks/delights/moves me on Goodreads, so do find me there (if you haven't already)!
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Hi I'm Sel - connoisseur of love stories, romantic and lover of green tea, weird music and words that can make me cry.
I'm 16 and dreaming big.
Life can be stunning when you choose to live it that way :-)
I am in no way monetarily compensated or bribed for any word on this site. All books reviewed were either bought with money (from my own pocket) or provided as a review copy from publishers. Consequentially, all criticisms or praises were written in accordance to the material's perceived merit. Each review has a source which states where I obtained it from.