Introductions – The Academy: A world without girls…

Review: Introductions: The Academy Ghost Bird Series 1

by C. L. Stone
narrated by Natalie Eaton

Pick it up on Amazon**
Review of: Introductions: The Academy Ghost Bird Series 1 by C. L. Stone. Audiobook edition narrated by Natalie Eaton.This is Reverse Harem Young Adult.A friend of mine on Facebook suggested a buddy-read (or rather: a buddy-listen) and due to my “I want to read more awesome Reverse Harem stories”-journey we ended up with this one. I have many, but not very coherent thoughts about this book…

The big question we were both wondering about was: “If I had read this book when I was 16, would I have loved it?” And it’s difficult to answer that.

The whole set-up of a mistreated, lonely girl finding this amazing group of friends who all happen to be super hot, super smart guys is kind of touching. And at no point was I bored.

To stay fair it is also important to note that this book is called “Introductions” and is the first part in a series. But I still didn’t expect that it would feel almost like a collection of short stories of this girl meeting each of those strapping young men. There is really no bigger story arc. It’s just one boy after the other meeting her, flirting with her, making her feel better about herself.

I can honestly say that 16-year-old me would have absolutely loved having a group of seven guys as my friends. And that was the charm of this book. But that was also all it had to offer. And even 16-year-old me would probably have been disappointed or weirded out by the lack of any storyline or any explanation why these guys all accepted this girl just like that and befriended her warmly 1 minute after meeting her.

Then there’s this other thing and I’m most certainly not the first to be unimpressed with this. Sang is constantly told that she’s “not like other girls” and “so different”. And in the whole book there’s not a single nice girl in sight. Her sister is a bit of a bitch. The one guy’s sister is young and doesn’t talk. At school a girl looks at her angrily because of her hot guy posse. They all get about 10 seconds to 1 minute of interaction.

Is it really necessary to put this message into books for YA readers that all other girls suck? That it’s best to be “different from other girls”? I get where C.L. Stone is coming from. Everyone wants to be a special snowflake. And especially victims of bullying will feel a connection to this. (I did.) But it’s really not ideal to not have a single other likable girl in the entire book.

My buddy-listener said: “At least have a girl say hi to her or something cause I don’t think all girls will just leave her be.” And that it’s a world without females. And it’s true. It’s only our one “special” girl and a bunch of model/superhero guys and their teachers. Hmm…..

The narration by Natalie Eaton was great though. Her intonations and voices were spot-on and she really transported the different emotions of Sang.

So, overall, this is a series I would maybe continue at some point. But mostly because it’s like watching a train wreck. You just can’t look away even though or because it’s awful. It was weirdly entertaining. But it’s definitely not a series I’d recommend to teenage girls.


Publisher’s summary
From USA Today best-selling author CL Stone, listen to Introductions, the first book in The Academy Ghost Bird Series.

With an agoraphobic mother and a barely-there father, Sang abhors the isolation keeping her in the shadows. The only thing Sang craves is a fresh start and to be accepted as ordinary by her peers, because for her being different meant being cast out alone. When her family moves to a new school district, Sang infiltrates a group of boys nearly perfect in every way. Grateful for an influence outside of her parents’ negativity, she quickly bonds with the boys, hoping to blend in and learn from them what it means to have a natural relationship with friends.

Only the boys have secrets of their own and they’ll do anything to keep her safe from the knowledge of the mysterious Academy that they’ve sworn allegiance to. Bit by bit, Sang discovers that her friends are far from the normalcy she expected. Will her loyalty change when she’s forced to remain in the dark, or will she accept that she’s traded one house of secrets for another? Meet Kota, Victor, Silas, Nathan, Gabriel, Luke, and North in a story about differences and loyalty, truth and mystery, friendships, and heart-throbbing intimacy. The Academy, ever vigilant.




Tingly Young Adult 🙂



Audiobook > Book
Natalie Eaton did a wonderful, emotional narration.


Pick it up here:

Audible audiobook “Introductions”**

You can currently pick up the e-book** to Introductions: The Academy Ghost Bird Series 1 for free and buy the audiobook as a cheap Whispersync upgrade.


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12 thoughts on “Introductions – The Academy: A world without girls…

  1. I sometimes like YA but am not into the reverse harem trend I am seeing and don’t think it should be in YA but maybe I’m just a bit conservative!

    1. I definitely understand where you’re coming from. But it is age-appropriately done here. And I think the point is how the main character feels admired and loved not just by one guy, but by… you know… a harem. Which fits this age group and explains why it has become a trend.

  2. Great review, I didn’t even know there were YA books with reverse harem in them. I don’t read books with reverse harem or any harem in the books because it is not my kind of book. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.

  3. I read a bit of reverse harem. Well bit is an understatement . But I haven’t read this series and you made me think of the lack of females in some books. It’s a popular series though so I guess others aren’t too worried about it

  4. I see what you mean about the other girls. Let’s face it, if a teen girl sees another teen girl that hangs around with a group o hot guys, they are quiet likely to be nice to her, if only to get closer to the guys. Not every girl would have been openly mean. Great review.

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