Walker Callaghan doesn’t know what happened to her. One minute she was living her teenage life in suburban Chicago…and the next minute, she was in a strange place and in a brand new school with absolutely no homework, no rules, and no consequences. Walker Callaghan, 17, is dead. She doesn’t go to heaven or hell. She lands at The Academy, a middle realm where teenagers have one thing in common: They were the morning announcement at their high schools because they died young.
These high school kids are now caught in a strange “in-between” zone where life hasn’t changed very much. In fact, this special teen limbo looks a lot like life in a quaint Michigan town complete with jocks, popular girls and cliques. “There are even cheerleaders in death,” Walker observes. It’s not a
coincidence that the music teacher is a guy named Kurt who “used to have this band.” The drama
teacher, Heath, is crush worthy because back in his life, he starred in some superhero movie. Principal King explains the rules — there are none. Why? You can’t die twice. There is no homework. No tests. No SATS. You’re just there to learn because the human brain isn’t fully formed until you’re 24.
By the way, you can’t get hurt physically, so race your Harley off that hillside. But falling in love is the most dangerous thing you can do …because no one knows how long you’ll stay in this realm or what’s next. “Losing someone you love would be like dying twice,” Walker says.
* * * * * *
Walker Callaghan has just arrived at the Academy after a tragic car accident. “Is this heaven or is this high school?” she asks. She finds out her new life is a bit of both as she falls in love with tat-covered, bad boy Daniel Reid who is about to break the only sacred rule of this place. He’s looking for a portal to return back to the living realm. He needs just one hour to retrieve his younger brother who strangely never arrived at The Academy. Bobby is an Earth Bound Spirit, stuck at a plane crash site that took both of their lives as their rich father piloted his private jet nose-first into a cornfield on Christmas Eve. Walker loves Daniel and risks it all to go with him. Have they learned enough to outsmart dangerous forces while transporting a young child with them? Can their love survive the fragmented evil parts of themselves that are now hunting them down as they try to find a way back to the middle? At the Academy, you learn the lessons of an afterlifetime.
In the Midst—a place for those who die young—there are no rules except one. And Walker Callaghan, dead at seventeen, just broke it. She briefly revisited her earthly life . . . and the punishment is eternal. Longing for her rebel love interest, Daniel Reid, Walker finds an ally in Cass, whose attraction to her is as alive as he is. “Life is short,” he tells her. “I’m banking on eternity. With you.”
In the second book of the Ascenders Saga, a realm-jumping journey takes Walker and Daniel back to life again when they search for something buried in history. They team with students from several other schools in the middle realm including a place for teens born with oddities. It’s home to the Claires . . . beautiful, ruthless, and quite dead seventeen-year-old quads who each have a different clairvoyant gift.
Can Walker survive another adventure of an afterlife-time—or will she find herself on the downside of eternity?
CL GABER is the author of ASCENDERS, the first book in the ASCENDERS saga. She’s also the co-author of the YA book JEX MALONE and the sequel due in 2016. Muggletnet.com, the world’s largest Harry Potter site, did a rare review of a non-Potter book and called Ascenders, “a book we wish we could read over and over again.” Book 2 in the Ascenders Saga will be published in spring, 2015. A trailer for the book series contains original music by Roger O’Donnell of the iconic rock band The Cure and was produced by Orian Williams (“Control,” “Shadow of a Vampire.”).
As Cindy Pearlman (her maiden name), Cindy is a well known senior entertainment journalist for the New York Times Syndicate, with stories appearing worldwide, and the Chicago Sun Times. A pop culture expert, her work has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, People, TV Guide, Elle and National Geographic, and many other publications.
Cindy has co-written over 40 books for actors, musicians, athletes and wellness experts including several New York Times best sellers. She is the author of her own film anthology book “You Gotta See This.” A native of Chicago, Cindy lives outside of Las Vegas.
Excerpt from Ascenders:
Back home in suburban Chicago, Principal Amanda Stevens was toying with the loudspeaker at Kennedy High School. It was time to make an announcement that drifted across her desk once or twice a year (every year)—and it always pulled her heart right out of her chest. She couldn’t dwell on herself, but had to think of her students. Many of them knew this girl from her work on the school newspaper. What would she say about her? Principal Stevens went through the usual lines in her head: It was a terrible shame. A waste. A tragedy. It was all those sentiments that meant nothing really because they were just words.
This was a heart ripper—dead at seventeen.
Good night, Irene.Ms. S knew that she better just do it. So she clicked the on button on the PA system, took a deep breath, and said what needed to be said. Nothing more. Nothing less.
“I regret to tell the student body that we lost one of our own last night. Walker Callaghan, a well-respected senior and news editor of the Charger, has died.”She released the on button and grabbed for a bottle of extra- strength aspirin, wishing there was something stronger. Then she clicked the PA back on again. “Of course, counselors are available,” she added.