Academy for Losers by Cat Shaffer

If you’re looking for something a little different from all the magic/supernatural/dystopian books out there at the moment, try this.

The “losers” of the title are those without magic in a world where the class division is ‘have magic’ and ‘don’t have magic.’  The Academy houses them – literally, it’s a boarding school – and teaches them the things they need to live without magic – while the excellent ‘regular’ school is more reanimating dead frogs, the Academy is for cooking classes and office machines.

While it was enjoyable, my only small issue is the voice of the main character, Violet. As a 16(? junior in high school?) year old, it’s authentic.  Reading it as a 25 year old, it felt a little immature with a few OMGs and several “so”s, as in “so not ready”, “so didn’t want to”, etc – so perhaps it’s one for readers a little younger than me, not that it took away from the story.

It’s a good story, with a good message about not being boxed in – the main character is not just non-magical, she isn’t best at the girly classes, and she is the one to show the rest of the world that the losers shouldn’t be written off.  It even has a good pun – that’s “spelling” bee, not S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G bee – and references predictability with Violet announcing she isn’t going to do what you’re expecting her to.

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