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Twin Peaks  meets Riverdale in this twisty atmospheric mystery from the critically acclaimed author of A Lite Too Bright, Samuel Miller, about the search for a missing girl at an elite prep school. Everyone knows Emma. Neesha’s her best friend, Aiden’s her basketball star boyfriend, and Evan’s her shadow, following Emma’s every move. Emma stands out, which is hard to do a Twin Peaks  meets Riverdale in this twisty atmospheric mystery from the critically acclaimed author of A Lite Too Bright, Samuel Miller, about the search for a missing girl at an elite prep school. Everyone knows Emma. Neesha’s her best friend, Aiden’s her basketball star boyfriend, and Evan’s her shadow, following Emma’s every move. Emma stands out, which is hard to do at Redemption Prep, a school where every student has been handpicked to attend its remote campus in the forest of Utah. So when she goes missing in plain sight during mass, everyone notices. And everyone becomes a suspect, especially at a school with so many rules: Don’t skip mass. Don’t break curfew. Don’t go into the woods. Emma’s disappearance ignites an investigation, and Neesha, Aiden, and Evan all want to find her—for different reasons. But they each have their own secrets to hide, and not everyone wants Emma to be found. As the search continues, the students start to realize that they’re not the only ones trying to hide something. Redemption Prep has secrets, too—secrets bigger than any of the students could have imagined, and Emma could be the key to finding out the truth . . . if anyone can find her.


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Twin Peaks  meets Riverdale in this twisty atmospheric mystery from the critically acclaimed author of A Lite Too Bright, Samuel Miller, about the search for a missing girl at an elite prep school. Everyone knows Emma. Neesha’s her best friend, Aiden’s her basketball star boyfriend, and Evan’s her shadow, following Emma’s every move. Emma stands out, which is hard to do a Twin Peaks  meets Riverdale in this twisty atmospheric mystery from the critically acclaimed author of A Lite Too Bright, Samuel Miller, about the search for a missing girl at an elite prep school. Everyone knows Emma. Neesha’s her best friend, Aiden’s her basketball star boyfriend, and Evan’s her shadow, following Emma’s every move. Emma stands out, which is hard to do at Redemption Prep, a school where every student has been handpicked to attend its remote campus in the forest of Utah. So when she goes missing in plain sight during mass, everyone notices. And everyone becomes a suspect, especially at a school with so many rules: Don’t skip mass. Don’t break curfew. Don’t go into the woods. Emma’s disappearance ignites an investigation, and Neesha, Aiden, and Evan all want to find her—for different reasons. But they each have their own secrets to hide, and not everyone wants Emma to be found. As the search continues, the students start to realize that they’re not the only ones trying to hide something. Redemption Prep has secrets, too—secrets bigger than any of the students could have imagined, and Emma could be the key to finding out the truth . . . if anyone can find her.

30 review for Redemption Prep

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review purposes. All opinions are my own. Alright, let's just get this out of the way. I was SO HYPED for this book that I requested it TWICE and couldn't wait to start it. The premise (a girl goes missing at a boarding school and everyone has a different motive for what could have happened to her) had me at the words "missing at boarding school." I am a sucker for mystery/thriller type books, and this di Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review purposes. All opinions are my own. Alright, let's just get this out of the way. I was SO HYPED for this book that I requested it TWICE and couldn't wait to start it. The premise (a girl goes missing at a boarding school and everyone has a different motive for what could have happened to her) had me at the words "missing at boarding school." I am a sucker for mystery/thriller type books, and this did NOT deliver. Don't read this if you are looking for a mystery. Don't read this if you are looking for a thriller. Don't read this if you are looking for a dystopian/sci-fi read. Don't read this if you are looking for a book that makes any sense at all. In short, don't read this. I very rarely give 1 star reviews. It's just not my thing, but this fell so flat on so many levels, I couldn't let it go. The story line has HUGE holes and the ending is unexpected because it doesn't make sense. At all. It is abrupt, kind of a cliff-hanger, but also in a way that makes your head hurt and you wonder what you just spent hours reading. The characters are underdeveloped. As a reader, you don't really care about any of them, and you really don't find any redeeming qualities. The "villains" are not fleshed out, there is no real backstory to them, and it all makes for an unresolved and disappointing mess.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katerina Kondrenko

    2 out of 10 Guys, imagine something very dull and somehow lacking any rhythm so that you can't go with the flow you always stumble or trip over smth in random places. A few times you start to enjoy what you do but the anticlimactic and unsatisfying continuation screws it. That is what reading this book is. All characters exсect but Evan are two-dimensional. I even thought that, in the end, it all will turn out to be a virtual simulation or smth like that where the only real person is Evan. Th 2 out of 10 Guys, imagine something very dull and somehow lacking any rhythm so that you can't go with the flow you always stumble or trip over smth in random places. A few times you start to enjoy what you do but the anticlimactic and unsatisfying continuation screws it. That is what reading this book is. All characters exсect but Evan are two-dimensional. I even thought that, in the end, it all will turn out to be a virtual simulation or smth like that where the only real person is Evan. They are also unlikable and illogical. They can save and betray at the same time and the same people. But! At first, I thought that a good editor can make the author's idea perfect (okay, just better), but the final changed my mind, 'cause (view spoiler)[religion meets UFO meets crazy scientists in the weirdest way ever (hide spoiler)] is such a fucked fuck. I also didn't get why (view spoiler)[ they needed sportsmen or the tallest boy in the world if the key to their plan is emotions. Huh? (hide spoiler)] The story has a very open ending so I guess it's a series. If not then AHAHAHAHAHAHA (hysterical)

  3. 4 out of 5

    human

    according to epicreads, one of the must-read books of 2020. i'm seeing that low rating and am inclined to think it's a must-read because of how sh!tty it is. according to epicreads, one of the must-read books of 2020. i'm seeing that low rating and am inclined to think it's a must-read because of how sh!tty it is.

  4. 5 out of 5

    alana ♡

    DNF @ 21% The premise of this one sounded so good but unfortunately it didn't deliver. Even skipping to the end and seeing how it all panned out I wasn't really impressed. On to the next... Blog | Twitter DNF @ 21% The premise of this one sounded so good but unfortunately it didn't deliver. Even skipping to the end and seeing how it all panned out I wasn't really impressed. On to the next... Blog | Twitter

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paula Phillips

    One of the awesome things about being a book blogger and reviewer is that you get the chance to read and review books that won't be released till months later. That is like Redemption Prep which won't be released till April next year. The downside of this can be if they end on a cliffhanger but luckily Redemption Prep wasn't like that. In Redemption Prep, we meet a school where the students are all high achievers and children that in the real world had achieved greatness at such a young age. The One of the awesome things about being a book blogger and reviewer is that you get the chance to read and review books that won't be released till months later. That is like Redemption Prep which won't be released till April next year. The downside of this can be if they end on a cliffhanger but luckily Redemption Prep wasn't like that. In Redemption Prep, we meet a school where the students are all high achievers and children that in the real world had achieved greatness at such a young age. These are the children that are considered to be geniuses and prodigies. During their weekly church sessions, one of the students Emma goes missing and the school is in an uproar as strange things have started occurring now that Emma has disappeared. Has she gone home like the school wanted the students to think or is something more sinister going on? We learn that the majority of students have been taking a drug called Apex which Emma and Neesha created. This drug gives them the ability to succeed and now with Emma gone, the drug supply is running low and Neesha is worried Emma's disappearance is due to their drug distribution. Enter Evan - he was Emma's stalker in a way, but when we get down to the bare bones - I felt for Evan as he really cared about Emma and just wanted to be his friend but he was ostracised for being a weirdo. One of the things that drew me to read this book was the tagline Riverdale meets Twin Peaks and I have to say this is more Twin Peaks than Riverdale, though the school could resemble a bit like Edgar Evernever's Farm as the students discover the nasty truth behind Redemption Prep and what they hoped to use the students for. Can Evan and his new friends save the rest of the students from being guinea pigs for the school's teachers? Find out in this new release coming in 2020 - Redemption Prep by Samuel Miller.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lana

    Did not enjoy. Read the first few chapters then skipped to the end. Still understood what happened. Wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Madison Mary

    "It makes you the most extreme version of yourself. And some people's most extreme versions don't work out very well" *1.5 Stars* *ARC received from Katherine Tegen Books* This book sounded interesting, but ended up being a miss. SUMMARY Redemption Prep, located deep in Utah, recruits uniquely talented students from all over to expand upon their gifts. When Emmalynn (Emma) Donahue goes missing one night, everyone takes notice. Most students believe she ran away, but three disconnected teens beli "It makes you the most extreme version of yourself. And some people's most extreme versions don't work out very well" *1.5 Stars* *ARC received from Katherine Tegen Books* This book sounded interesting, but ended up being a miss. SUMMARY Redemption Prep, located deep in Utah, recruits uniquely talented students from all over to expand upon their gifts. When Emmalynn (Emma) Donahue goes missing one night, everyone takes notice. Most students believe she ran away, but three disconnected teens believe that there is something more sinister at play within the walls of Redemption Prep. REVIEW This book started out rough, and it was a struggle to push through to the final pages. We follow three POVs, each with unique voices and their own secrets. Evan - The Stalker: Evan has been watching Emma for months, and after stealing her diary, believes she never would have run away. Aiden - The Addict Boyfriend: Aiden is a star basketball player, in line to receive a shot at the NBA. But his Apex addiction and the disappearance of his girlfriend are leading him to ruin Neesha - The Genius Best Friend: Neesha has been working on her drug, Apex, to win the yearly science competition. After Emma's advises her to use the student population as a test pool, the two start selling the drug. We mainly follow Evan, who is quite clearly a stalker, even if he doesn't believe so himself. Due to his high IQ and lack of social skills, Evan's POV is a struggle. He talks in his own code, which you have to learn, and also rambles for paragraphs and goes off topic. I found myself having the reread paragraphs in order to fully grasp what was going through his mind. The one positive to his character is that he is actively looking for Emma, so he is where the real "mystery" is. Aiden was really whiny. He is a rich kid who never understood that everything he worked for had actually just been handed to him. His POV just flat out annoyed me. Out of every character, he did grow the most, so that was a plus. I liked the representation of him being addicted to Apex and the toll it took on him not only while taking it, but also while going through periods of withdrawal and rationing. Neesha was cool, but once again, she didn't hold my attention as a POV. She was the most coherent POV, but was boring at times. She was very self-centered and I found it difficult to empathise with her. On a brighter note, Zaza was my favourite character :) The only part of this book that I really enjoyed was learning about Apex. This novel takes place in 1995, which is prior to the creation of Adderall. As you read the book you find out that Apex is basically Adderall, and Neesha has created it. This was a fun twist on a modern scientific discovery. Finally, the plot was just crazy and jumbled. The truth behind the creation of Redemption Prep and the "sinister underbelly" were lack luster. While it wasn't completely predictable, it left me more confused than intrigued. The "villain" felt too stiff and stereotypical, so I wasn't impressed by the reveal. Follow that up with an open-ending, and I was an unsatisfied reader. Samuel Miller has potential, but this book was a real miss for me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    Okay, that was not at all what I thought it would be. I was thinking it would be a fun mystery with a supernatural element and what I got was a confusing plot with a weird twist that didn't make sense and an unsatisfying end. The beginning was a little bit confusing and having so many points of view didn't help. It took me a minute to get the characters straight and figure out what their motives were. Then when I was getting into the mystery, weird things were happening that I didn't think were Okay, that was not at all what I thought it would be. I was thinking it would be a fun mystery with a supernatural element and what I got was a confusing plot with a weird twist that didn't make sense and an unsatisfying end. The beginning was a little bit confusing and having so many points of view didn't help. It took me a minute to get the characters straight and figure out what their motives were. Then when I was getting into the mystery, weird things were happening that I didn't think were explained well. The twist wasn't expected, but that's because I don't think it fits the story and seemed like a random thing to throw in. We got the explanation all at once and it was too much information to understand. (view spoiler)[ It's one thing to say the school is testing the students' minds and trying to manipulate them, but the alien aspect made no sense. (hide spoiler)] One of the characters didn't have a satisfying ending for me and the others were just kind of meh. (view spoiler)[ I didn't get the thing about Evan keeping his emotions in check and then he's just stuck at the school? And what will happen with the others? (hide spoiler)] I wish this had gone a different direction and explained things better. Disappointing read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    ◯ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram • The Book Depository ◯ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram • The Book Depository

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vee

    Is the twist that they're all dead and the "redemption" is because they're all there because of something shitty they did as teenagers Is the twist that they're all dead and the "redemption" is because they're all there because of something shitty they did as teenagers

  11. 5 out of 5

    Inna

    that ending....i HAVE to laugh

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sanya

    still mad about how completely stupid the plot twist was

  13. 5 out of 5

    Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    DNF @8% It's a no from me. I know I didn't get very far into this book, but there wasn't anything I liked it even remotely interested me enough to keep going. Which is a travesty because boarding school books are always a draw for me. I did not like the writing - it was stilted and repetitive. The characters all seem very flat (but I didn't see much past their introduction so I cant say much for growth). I never like religious tones in my stories so that disappointed me too. I did go to the bad a DNF @8% It's a no from me. I know I didn't get very far into this book, but there wasn't anything I liked it even remotely interested me enough to keep going. Which is a travesty because boarding school books are always a draw for me. I did not like the writing - it was stilted and repetitive. The characters all seem very flat (but I didn't see much past their introduction so I cant say much for growth). I never like religious tones in my stories so that disappointed me too. I did go to the bad and try to read the last few chapters to see if it was worth it for me and I had to skim that too. This was basically a miss on every level and I couldn't be more frustrated. I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoyed 90% of the book and then the ending totally ruined it for me You know when you watched the new Indiana Jones for the first time and screamed, "SERIOUSLY?!?!?! ALIENS!!!????!?!? WTF?!?!?!?!!?!" It was like that. I enjoyed 90% of the book and then the ending totally ruined it for me You know when you watched the new Indiana Jones for the first time and screamed, "SERIOUSLY?!?!?! ALIENS!!!????!?!? WTF?!?!?!?!!?!" It was like that.

  15. 5 out of 5

    tyler

    Boarding school: Check Missing student: Check Cult vibes: Check Foggy mountain forests: Check 90s culture: CHECK

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    At first I was really confused by the star rating on Goodreads. It was rated so low, but it was on the NYT Bestselling list for YA hardcovers. I was really confused about the stars and now I'm confused about the Bestseller's list. I DNFed Redemption Prep by Samuel Miller. I didn't want to. I reached 75% of the way through and then the ending arc happened... and it lost me. The characters weren't as engrossing as I really would have liked, so I was relying on the plot to keep me reading. When that At first I was really confused by the star rating on Goodreads. It was rated so low, but it was on the NYT Bestselling list for YA hardcovers. I was really confused about the stars and now I'm confused about the Bestseller's list. I DNFed Redemption Prep by Samuel Miller. I didn't want to. I reached 75% of the way through and then the ending arc happened... and it lost me. The characters weren't as engrossing as I really would have liked, so I was relying on the plot to keep me reading. When that failed, I literally had no other reason to keep reading it. This book has a lot of parallels to Truly Devious, but Maureen Johnson does it better. Redemption Prep is not what I expected or wanted, so I think if the back-of-the-book description conveyed the book more accurately, it would've done better. It would have attracted readers that would actually like this book, but instead the description attracted readers who wanted something different. Redemption Prep isn't a mystery or a crime book, looking for a lost person. It's a conspiracy book, where a school turns out to be something that it's not. I think there's a huge difference in expectations here. If you wanted a mystery, this isn't for you. If you want a school that turns out to be much darker and hiding stuff, this book might be for you. I don't like conspiracy books and if I'd known that's what this was... I wouldn't have picked it up.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aidan

    Disclaimer: I was provided a free advanced copy of this book through epicreads. I don’t read a lot of mysteries. It’s not really a genre I go out of my way to read. But I do enjoy it, and when a concept interests me I will definitely read it. When I read the blurb for Redemption Prep I was kind of excited, a mystery about a secluded school in the mountains where things are all a bit suspicious and then a girl goes missing sounded really fun to me. But this did not live up to my expectations. It t Disclaimer: I was provided a free advanced copy of this book through epicreads. I don’t read a lot of mysteries. It’s not really a genre I go out of my way to read. But I do enjoy it, and when a concept interests me I will definitely read it. When I read the blurb for Redemption Prep I was kind of excited, a mystery about a secluded school in the mountains where things are all a bit suspicious and then a girl goes missing sounded really fun to me. But this did not live up to my expectations. It took me 200 pages to get into this book. Usually I’ll quit reading a book if I’m not invested by about 100 pages, but because I had an arc, I wanted to finish it. It just really dragged, going on so long without revealing anything new. I think you could have cut at least 50 pages out of first half and changed nothing. My biggest complaint was the characters. When I think about other YA mystery books I’ve enjoyed, such as All Eyes On Us, Sadie, or White Rabbit, the thing that I remember about those books, and really liked, was the characters. Redemption Prep does not have characters I enjoyed. The three main characters, Aiden, Neesha, and Evan were not likable or even particularly interesting. Aiden was just the worst, he was selfish and annoying and I couldn’t even begin to care about him. Neesha was the closest to likable, but she wasn’t interesting enough for me to care about her. Evan was the most interesting, but he was too creepy and annoying to be likable. There were a few side characters as well, but being honest the only one I remember was Emma, who I don’t think had any flaws and was very unexciting. I finished this book like two days ago and I’ve already forgotten the rest of the characters. The other major problem with the characters is that they don’t seem to follow any kind of logic. The characters just do whatever fits the plot best regardless of whether it’s in character or not. Which results in the characters making choices that don’t fit their personalities at all. I was mainly on board with the story, until the last few pages. I won’t spoil it, but there is a completely out of left field twist. This story point might have worked if it had been slowly discovered by the main characters. Instead it was monologued by the villain at the very last minute, leaving me feeling like it came out of absolutely nowhere. And then, the book just ends. I was so shocked because I thought there would be at least another chapter, but no, it just ends. It felt incomplete to me. I was really confused about whether this book wanted to be a fun adventure or a dark mystery. The tone was all over the place. It had the potential to be a really fun, exciting story, but I ended up being bored for half of it and annoyed by all the characters. I wanted to like this, but I just couldn’t.

  18. 5 out of 5

    julia

    1.75 Stars. It took me ages to read this book, because try as I might I couldn't bring myself to actually care: neither about the story, nor about the writing, and even less about the characters. The pacing felt super slow, thus I found myself putting this novel aside over and over again. In the last couple of chapters at least that turned around -- finally some speed and excitement, something happened -- only took 300 pages or so. I thought the ending might make up for the poor beginning, only f 1.75 Stars. It took me ages to read this book, because try as I might I couldn't bring myself to actually care: neither about the story, nor about the writing, and even less about the characters. The pacing felt super slow, thus I found myself putting this novel aside over and over again. In the last couple of chapters at least that turned around -- finally some speed and excitement, something happened -- only took 300 pages or so. I thought the ending might make up for the poor beginning, only for this same exact ending to then be totally over-the-top, non-sensical, frenzied and irrational. I didn't like the explanation we were given for everything that happened, not at all! I expected more. Also, whoever proof-read this novel did a rather mediocre job! So many mistakes, typos, doubles ...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nora

    Disclosure: I received a free advance copy of this book through the Epic Reads Insiders program The book is an incredibly quick read, but that's all it has going for it. Some things in the book aren't ever totally explained. Certain things that feel like they should be wrapped up with the mystery are left out of the final explanation, and some details are disjointed and feel unnecessary. The ending to the mystery is unsatisfying and comes out of left field, and leaves you confused. Also, the char Disclosure: I received a free advance copy of this book through the Epic Reads Insiders program The book is an incredibly quick read, but that's all it has going for it. Some things in the book aren't ever totally explained. Certain things that feel like they should be wrapped up with the mystery are left out of the final explanation, and some details are disjointed and feel unnecessary. The ending to the mystery is unsatisfying and comes out of left field, and leaves you confused. Also, the characters, especially Dr Richardson, don't act like real people, breaking any suspension of disbelief I had left. A full version of this review (and many others) is available on my website, noramcintyre.com

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Kristine Tuller

    Um... I'm not completely sure what I just read. Granted, it is two in the morning as I'm finishing this, but even still. (view spoiler)[ I'm pretty sure I just read a book about a religion based on aliens? That disgusted itself as a book about a missing person? I'm so confused... (hide spoiler)] Alright. Let's just start with the characters: Evan is creepy. Like, just flat out creepy. He made me uncomfortable. He is stalking a girl and it just constantly gets played off. It's not okay. But they a Um... I'm not completely sure what I just read. Granted, it is two in the morning as I'm finishing this, but even still. (view spoiler)[ I'm pretty sure I just read a book about a religion based on aliens? That disgusted itself as a book about a missing person? I'm so confused... (hide spoiler)] Alright. Let's just start with the characters: Evan is creepy. Like, just flat out creepy. He made me uncomfortable. He is stalking a girl and it just constantly gets played off. It's not okay. But they all act like it's okay. Emma calls him out a little bit, but then just accepts it once everyone says it's fine. But it's not fine!!! Stalking someone is not okay!!! That whole plot line was a mess. Especially when they described his bedroom as being full of notes on her. That's weird and creepy and I don't like Evan. Then there was Aiden. I didn't completely dislike him, but he was pretty self absorbed. And the basketball plot line felt so pointless. Like, why did there need to be a scout at the game? A scout at a game that Aiden barely played in? And so much pressure was built on that moment and I just don't understand. It could have just not happened and I don't think we'd miss anything. Then there was Neesha. Who sold drugs she made in the school (view spoiler)[ which the teachers were apparently aware of and secretly supported her? Just because she was able to perform test trials that they couldn't? Just no... (hide spoiler)] just because she can, doesn't mean she should. But she does. And it's odd... So yeah. None of the characters really did it for me. The plot was so confusing and felt long. Like, I think it could have been 100 pages shorter and we would have the same story. But cut out all the basketball stuff. It's not important. (view spoiler)[ Alright. I have to talk more about the ending. Because what the heck??? Aliens??? They are the reason for religion? Jesus is an alien??? I don't get it. I'm sorry. But no. This book is just a whole no. Also the kids stole a school bus??? What the heck did I just read???????? (hide spoiler)]

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ruthsic

    Rep: Indian girl protagonist; character with depression Warnings: drug abuse and withdrawal, torture, unethical experimentation on minors, graphic physical violence When I started this book, I was excited, because mystery in a boarding school is one of my favorite settings. And Redemption Prep does fulfil on some aspects of the setting and its tropes - the school is quite isolated, so it has that creep factor; the student body is hyper-competitive and you don't know who is trustworthy; there is de Rep: Indian girl protagonist; character with depression Warnings: drug abuse and withdrawal, torture, unethical experimentation on minors, graphic physical violence When I started this book, I was excited, because mystery in a boarding school is one of my favorite settings. And Redemption Prep does fulfil on some aspects of the setting and its tropes - the school is quite isolated, so it has that creep factor; the student body is hyper-competitive and you don't know who is trustworthy; there is definitely something shady going on with the school's origins as well as its teachers. However, the thing with the book was that I was having a good enough time with the plot for the most part, but when the reveals started, I was like 'no what are you doing with that trope, put it down' and the coup de grace was the ending which ends on sort of a cliffhanger and just cuts you off and you are left wondering if this was supposed to be a series, because it is utterly unsatisfying as a standalone. The plot centers around a popular student, Emma, who goes missing, and three people are mainly looking for her, aside from the school administration - her boyfriend Aiden, her friend/roommate Neesha, and her stalker Evan, with each getting their own PoV, and Emma's perspective coming through her diary entries. The school's response to her going missing is weird, and it unearths some extreme things the school does, like hire a ton of security who are called 'maintenance workers', frequent invasion of student privacy (which is the least of it, tbh) and their over-involvement in student success. Aiden is probably the most boring PoV, because I honestly couldn't care about him; Evan's is questionable because he was stalking her for months to the point where he could accurately predict her patterns; Neesha's is interesting because she is stuck between what she knows and what she is being told regarding Emma's disappearance. Add in the fact that Neesha and Emma were selling drugs (which was also a way to conduct human trials for Neesha's invention of adderall) makes it even more sordid, because well the suspect pool extends. However, there are many things brought up in the plot that don't always pan out. Her invented drug does tie into the plot, but I was so underwhelmed by the reveals that it didn't even feel momentous. Evan's perspective gives us most of the exposition for the book, and I am guessing his pattern thing and rules for communication may be suggesting he is autistic. Anyway, his drive for finding Emma stems from his own mother's death, and yet, it is also addressed that it does not make his stalking right. The school's teachers are a bit stock scientist trope so I was disappointed there, too. And the final reveal about the school's origin was definitely fulfiling the Twin Peaks comparison, though I don't see anywhere how the plot relates to Riverdale. Finally, all I can say is that while it is atmospheric and an interesting read for the most part, the mystery and the ending are underwhelming. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Katherine Tegen Books, via Edelweiss.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura Martens

    First of all: I finished this book in awe, got ready to add it on goodreads and find praise from like-minded people and reeled back when I saw the rating. Did we not read the same book? It's the only explanation I can fathom because I really, really liked this one! I absolutely LOVED A Lite Too Bright, and when I heard that Samuel Miller was publishing another book (and a dark academia one no less!!) I was so excited, pre-ordered the book immediately and screamed when the package arrived. I star First of all: I finished this book in awe, got ready to add it on goodreads and find praise from like-minded people and reeled back when I saw the rating. Did we not read the same book? It's the only explanation I can fathom because I really, really liked this one! I absolutely LOVED A Lite Too Bright, and when I heard that Samuel Miller was publishing another book (and a dark academia one no less!!) I was so excited, pre-ordered the book immediately and screamed when the package arrived. I started it yesterday, finished it this morning and DAMN I loved it. Premise: An elite prep school in the middle of nowhere. No applications--all students are invited by the school, tuitions are paid in full. And all students are gifted in some way. But early on it becomes clear that not everything in this school is what it seems; why are there so many maintenance workers, and why are some students behaving strangely? When Emma, one of the most popular students of the school, disappears without a trace, a group of students start digging deeper into the school itself, uncovering secrets that endanger them all. I love Samuel Miller's writing. The sentences flow so effortlessly, and ever so often there's a sentence that just makes me go ugghhh. His words paint such vivid pictures, I could feel the atmosphere of Redemption Prep, see the buildings and the characters in front of me, until you could have convinced me that it's a real place (I actually wondered, in the beginning, if this book is based on a real story!). I also really liked how interviews and testimonies from and with the characters are woven into the narrative--it gives the book an almost "true-crime-podcast" feeling, and, again, gave me the feeling of the whole story having actually happened. The plot is so good!! What starts off as a simple prep school story very rapidly becomes more and more sinister, until you're reading with wide eyes as you realize what is actually going on. There are so many twists and turns, as more and more curtains are drawn back and the true story emerges. At the same time, I didn't feel lost once. The build-up is fantastic, and I especially loved the elements of foreshadowing that only reveal themselves in retrospect. Another thing I really liked are the character developments. Almost all characters are almost one-dimensional in the beginning, with their minds set on fixed goals. Over the course of the story, they really reflect and develop, but really believably. LOVED it. It makes me so sad to see that this book apparently isn't for everyone! But if you are looking for a multi-layered mystery set in a creepy, "stranger-things-style" prep school, with interesting characters and a plot-twisty story, I would definitely recommend picking up this book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    Did not know how this book was going to end, but by the time it did, I already wanted book 2. This book really feels like riverdale met Twin Peaks.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    This was...weird, but there was something that compelled me to finish, right? It's filled with a lot of unlikable characters, and the one character I was sort of feeling some sort of empathy for ended up being horrible too. I kept replaying the ending too, because I felt like I missed something. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS This was...weird, but there was something that compelled me to finish, right? It's filled with a lot of unlikable characters, and the one character I was sort of feeling some sort of empathy for ended up being horrible too. I kept replaying the ending too, because I felt like I missed something. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    The ending was so poor that my inclination is to give this book one star, but it did give me some moments of suspense and intrigue, so I have to appreciate that. However, there were a lot of things that didn't get tied up. Why was the school so Christian? What was the connection to Princeton? And what the heck is the deal with the aliens? It was...not great. The ending was so poor that my inclination is to give this book one star, but it did give me some moments of suspense and intrigue, so I have to appreciate that. However, there were a lot of things that didn't get tied up. Why was the school so Christian? What was the connection to Princeton? And what the heck is the deal with the aliens? It was...not great.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    This book is a ride. It’s like a darker, creepier Looking for Alaska. I enjoyed the mystery and loved the writing and would say it’s definitely a good spooky read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vicki (The Wolf's Den)

    I don't remember how this first came across my radar, though I assume it was from a YA newsletter from my library. After reading the premise, I was interested, but after accidentally reading some up-voted low-score reviews, I was looking forward to some trashy fun. After all, it can't be a disappointment if you're expecting it to be bad, right? All I can say is be careful what you wish for. Honestly, it wasn't that bad for the majority of it. The mystery/investigation kept me pretty engaged, even I don't remember how this first came across my radar, though I assume it was from a YA newsletter from my library. After reading the premise, I was interested, but after accidentally reading some up-voted low-score reviews, I was looking forward to some trashy fun. After all, it can't be a disappointment if you're expecting it to be bad, right? All I can say is be careful what you wish for. Honestly, it wasn't that bad for the majority of it. The mystery/investigation kept me pretty engaged, even knowing a little about the twist going in, and it definitely picked up the pace around the halfway mark. But then you hit that ending and everything really falls apart. Firstly, the characters are bound to throw a lot of people off right at the start. All of them are extremely self-absorbed, mean-spirited toward their peers, and really the worst of what people often consider teens to be. The exception to this could be Evan, but he's so socially inept (likely on the spectrum and/or clinically psychopathic) that it's hard to get a good read on him, even when you're inside his head. Aiden and Neesha, our other two narrators, are both generally nasty toward their peers (calling them plebes, ignoring or shoving past them) and definitely have ulterior motives for finding Emma. I, personally, didn't have a huge problem reading past our narrators (I've had quite a bit of practice from the last two books I read) but I can see some people having a hard time not being able to 'root for' any of the main characters. At least not for the majority of the story, but I'll get to the ending shortly. The mystery of Emma going missing was the main thing that kept me going. Like I said, I did know a bit about the major twist of the book, but not how it played out with Emma in particular. However, fans of the general whodunnit mysteries should be wary because this ends up as more of a conspiracy plot. I don't know that I prefer one over the other, since both can have gripping investigations, but unfortunately this conspiracy ends up being outed by two separate, lengthy exposition dumps instead of actually putting clues together. The clues end up leading to the location of the exposition giver, not the answers themselves. Then there's the fact that the exposition actually cancels out some clues we're given. There's a line fairly early on where there's a blackout and a security guy is talking with a student:The man used his flashlight to scan the room once more, down to the carpet, up to the exposed stone in the ceiling. [...] “Sometimes,” he said, the beam hovering two feet over Evan’s head, “I think the people who built this place had never been inside an actual building before.” Miller, Samuel. Redemption Prep (p. 73)Knowing what I knew then about the twist, this seemed like interesting foreshadowing. Knowing what I know now, after reading the whole book, it makes zero sense whatsoever. Most other clues can be worked in to the actual twist okay, but this passage just stuck out to me as being clever when I read through, but it ultimately means less than nothing. But what killed this book for me was the ending as a whole. I'm trying to be spoiler-free here, but I have got to get some things off my chest. The ending, starting with the resolution to Emma's missing person storyline, really picks up speed and action, which is a good thing, but it also throws more and more information and characters at us, which end up having no resolution. As of right now, there are no indications that there will be any sequels, yet we have at least three new storylines that get started within the last couple chapters. And I'm not talking and open-ended ending, I mean we literally have no resolution to new budding storylines. It would be one thing if we knew that character Group A are presumed free, and all other characters are presumed dead/doomed, but then there's the change-of-heart character (who, again, comes out of left field at the end of the story), and the weirdness that goes on in the secret room (which really wasn't clear reading through it), and the fact that Group A is planning on exposing the big secrets, and, and— Yeah, no, this ending doesn't work at all. The majority of characters don't develop enough for us to be satisfied with their arcs, the investigation doesn't reach a satisfying conclusion because it only leads to exposition dumps, and the new storyline that picks up after the big revelation is full-to-bursting with new characters and plots that get cut off at the end. If you haven't yet been dissuaded to attempt this book, then go ahead and continue to the end. Otherwise, if you've already read this book, or if you want to know spoilers for it, then please feel free to click this button for spoilers galore: (view spoiler)[The big twist is aliens. The school was founded by aliens. Okay, not really. Well, maybe? Okay, the first real twist is that Emma never left. She just hid in the church the whole time. This is kind of a neat throwback to Evan's analysis of the sweeps, how they never double-back on places they've already checked. But Evan analyzes patterns all the time—it's his thing—how was Emma to know that they never double-back on sweeps? She's not that analytical. Plus her only confidant was Eddy, who you would think would be held on a tighter leash (or surveillance) after all the experiments and outbursts he's had. And she supposedly snuck out to write message on Neesha's door? HOW? But the REAL twist is about aliens. The school was founded by a cult that claims to be guided by aliens, the Alohim, who supposedly originally created humanity. This cult is trying to get humanity to evolve to a place that will get the aliens to return and take them 'home' with them. But the Alohim haven't been around for hundreds of years, so the whole "this place was designed by people who'd never been inside a building" line doesn't even make sense, since the school was designed by humans, and there's no real proof that the aliens actually exist besides the info-dump from the school admin taking place in a weird sci-fi torture room. And Evan's whole ending just...didn't make sense. I mean, I didn't understand what was going on at all. Was he manipulating the video with his mind? Was he actually communicating with the dead? I guess it sorta mirrored what Emma saw/experienced after the drunk driving incident, but this was definitely more internal, like gaining closure for himself, than experiencing another person, so... But at least Evan got some sort of ending. Everyone else just booked it. Emma (who was a total bitch to Evan, I might add—so much for being super-empathetic) kinda had a reconciliation with Neesha, but was otherwise unchanged for the book. Neesha and Aiden sorta learned to put others ahead of themselves, but only with literal life-or-death circumstances. Peter and Zaza were definitely more interesting than the narrators we got, but that may just be the mystery of not seeing inside their heads. And Eddy might as well have been a Disney pet sidekick for all the communication he offered. While we're left to assume that they're gonna take steps to expose the school, we have no clue how they're going to actually accomplish anything since, you know, they left the only adult on their side behind. That's right, the ending has one of the maintenance workers, the main guy Yanis, suddenly taking the word of the kids. He's supposedly a good guy who does work for the Kremlin (that just makes me shiver), but was hired here because they pay better? And suddenly these kids go crazy and get violent trying to leave, and he's suddenly listening to them? Granted, they don't talk about aliens (they don't even KNOW about aliens, since that plot dump was for Evan only), but a couple kids saying they're gonna be tortured is enough for him to help them escape. Then he decides to stay behind and help kids who are still at the school, because what else can he do? Oh, I don't know, maybe make sure the kids who escape get to safety? Then come back with authorities? Or with his own elite squad of 'good' KGB agents? But nevermind him, he makes his proclamation about staying and helping the kids, then we never hear from him again. Thanks for giving an interesting character 2 full seconds. And that's literally how it ends. Evan 'proves himself worthy' to live but with more experiments, Yanis pledges to stay behind to work on the inside, a bus full of kids makes it through a hologram (which, wtf? How many kids are you expecting to stop during their breakneck escape attempts?) to assumed safety, and the cult is gonna keep pushing randomly talented/ascetically pleasing students to evolve higher empathy through rigorous high school curriculum. You know, no, typing it out like that makes it even more stupid. The cult is trying to get these kids to evolve into super empathetic beings, but their curriculum constantly puts students against each other for top spots. Whether it's sports or academic achievements, there's never an emphasis on team-building or bettering mankind through their breakthroughs. I mean, it's one thing to have our narrators being so self-centered that they ignore the one-for-all messages, but Aiden is specifically made to compete one-on-one to show his deficiencies and called out for lagging behind his teammates, and Neesha's motivation is winning a trophy for an individual's scientific achievement. So, what? Are they focusing on upping their scientific progress and then empathy boosts? Oh, and finally, the title makes no sense. Or, rather, the name of the school makes no sense as anything other than a coverup. They don't recruit juvenile delinquents. The students don't actually have dark secrets they have to redeem themselves for. Even the evolution thing the cult is developing has nothing to do with atonement or redemption. Maybe it would make sense if there were any actual religious activities/counseling going on, but nope. One could argue that saving the masses from normality is a form of redemption, but that's stretching the definition a bit, don't ya think? (hide spoiler)] Overall, an interesting concept with poor execution. There's some good suspense in the beginning, and the action scenes towards the end had some good description and pacing, but the ending (or lack thereof) and the characters' arcs really don't hold up upon review. I might return for a sequel, though as of right now there is no indication of any in the works, but only if Evan and/or Yanis is a featured character (oh, and throw in that DBZ kid, too!) and the plot promises to right some of the logical failings of the school. Then again, with all the negativity this book's garnered with its off-putting characters, poorly resolved mystery, and completely cut-off ending, it might be beyond redemption.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    This was a weird read. I didn't like any of the characters; they did not seem like real people to me. It was monotonous to even get through 60% of this novel. Trust the low Goodreads rating with this one. This was a weird read. I didn't like any of the characters; they did not seem like real people to me. It was monotonous to even get through 60% of this novel. Trust the low Goodreads rating with this one.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    Sam is trying too hard to be literary and completely failed. Super disappointed.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I hate writing negative reviews because I know how much work authors put into their novels but I'd like to say this book was...flat. The beginning was kind of a straight road with no strong emotional grips. The only reason I ploughed through was because I wanted know what happened to emma, but after I did, everything that came after didn't make sense. I hate writing negative reviews because I know how much work authors put into their novels but I'd like to say this book was...flat. The beginning was kind of a straight road with no strong emotional grips. The only reason I ploughed through was because I wanted know what happened to emma, but after I did, everything that came after didn't make sense.

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