Source: Library book sale.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Elijah and Elisha are teenage twins who, along with their parents, have been secretly commissioned by the President to investigate strange mysteries, crimes, and unusual occurrences. Their job is to find out not only what happened, but why.
The team has a new assignment: To find out what happened to a runaway teen who turned up totally out of his mind. Elijah and Elisha go undercover, posing as runaways, but the tables are turned when the twins are kidnapped out of a shelter for runaways. They wake up at an isolated academy where the teachers stress that there is no right or wrong. Over two weeks, the teens take such teachings to their logical outcome, and the twins try to stay sane and alive in an environment that becomes increasing violent.
Nightmare Academy is a young adult suspense/horror novel. It reminded me of Lord of the Flies, but Peretti is more heavy-handed in making his point. This novel is the second in the series, but you don't have to read the first one (Hangman's Curse) to understand this one. However, I liked Hangman's Curse better.
The novel was fast-paced and a fast read. The twins were clever and engaging characters who were willing to stand up for what's right and to protect others. The suspense was created by the increasing physical danger to everybody and from trying to discover why this academy was created and by whom.
While the story was exciting, I was disappointed by the ending. The bad guys revealed their motive, but it didn't make sense to me. As I understand it, they didn't even believe in what they were teaching. And, thinking through their evil scheme, I don't see how they could manipulate things to get their desired results in a large, general population scenario. So they came across as rather cliche, unrealistic villains.
The twins and their parents were Christians, and the twins speak out at the academy for absolute truth and protecting the weak. There was a very minor amount of "he cussed" style bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting novel to Christian teens.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One
His mind told him, insisted, that he was running, putting one tattered, bleeding foot in front of the other--even though the ground did not move under his feet, turned when he did not, or inclined steeply upward though he saw no slope before him. He closed his eyes, but he could still see. He screamed, but he heard nothing. The pathway became a precipice and he tumbled headlong, falling through space. He was under water. He tried to swim; suddenly his groping arms were pulling him forward through hot, dry sand. The sky above was red like a sunset, the earth below as eye-buzzing purple--then green, then grey, then red as the sky turned green.
Where he was, or why, or when, or who, or how, he could not know, could never know.
There were no days, no hours, no moments, no way of knowing, no chance for knowing how long he'd been here.
No place, at no particular time.
He was once a fifteen-year-old boy, cocky and wayward. He once had a brother, a sister, a father and mother. He had a name, a house, a school, and a life--and he thought he knew something. Maybe he thought he knew it all.
But that boy, and that time, and that life had become..nothing.
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