The Academy

Book 1

Young Adult - Romance
515 Pages
Reviewed on 06/25/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

CJ Daly hails from the scrabbly plains of Eastern New Mexico, where the sky is as big and bright as her dreams.
While CJ was supposed to be helping her six siblings with chores on the family ranch, she was really sneaking behind dust haybales to read library books. And dreaming about dashing young men to seek adventure with.
After graduation, CJ moved from "a town that barely makes a dot on the map" to Big D (Dallas), where she quickly put herself through college while trying to rid herself of her country drawl. She had more success with college, graduating cum laude with a degree in English literature. After a five-year stint in teaching, and pausing to have back-to-back boys, CJ stayed up nights to bang out the story rattling around in her head. After a few years of blood, sweat, and tears, "The Academy Saga" was finally born.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

With unusual subtlety and skill, CJ Daly introduces the characters and the themes in The Academy. Seventeen-year-old Kate Connelly is tired of everything. After losing her mother, she has to take care of her brothers and fill in the gap left by her mother. Their father has just signed off on them. Kate wants a break, a distraction, something to relieve the painful monotony. When she meets two mysterious strangers at the diner where she works, they catch her attention. She never expected to meet them again, but they turn up and then disappear into an alley. When one of the mysterious guys shows up in school, Kate knows she can’t ignore Cadet Davenport. Can she put him aside and live her life on her own terms?

CJ Daly crafts a novel with interesting, sophisticated characters. Beginning with the tragic loss that Kate suffers, the narrative moves from this premise to explore the emotions of a young female protagonist and a tale of love deftly developed. The effect that Cadet Davenport has on Kate is intriguing and the reader becomes very keen to see what she makes of it. While there is no steamy romance, the author ensures that readers stay engaged with the characters, thanks to the skillful use of suspense and the expert exploration of characters. The prose is exciting, the narrative is filled with originality, and the characters are true to life. The Academy will have a strong appeal for both young and adult readers and anyone looking for an exciting, contemporary YA romance.

K.C. Finn

The Academy is a work of romantic fiction aimed at young adults, penned by author C J Daly. We begin the tale following our hero Kate Connelly, a seventeen-year-old who has had to grow up a little before her time due to family tragedy. As her father sinks into grief over her mother’s death, Kate is left to raise and protect her family in New Mexico, and contend with school along the way. She has a very talented little brother, and once he is spotted by the mysterious military academy nearby, Kate’s danger senses tingle. The only problem is, the cadet who’s recruiting her brother might just be recruiting Kate’s heart in the process.

Filled with intriguing conspiracy theories, sweeping romantic moments and just a hint of the supernatural, The Academy has everything that young adult romance fans could wish for within its pages. Kate is a unique heroine but not too far removed from the norm to make her relatable. I enjoyed her hardships and adult aspects very much, but they were also well balanced with the same teenage emotional immaturity, embarrassments and failures that we’ve all experienced at her age. Cadet Davenport makes for a suspiciously delicious male lead, and the plot surrounding Kate as she figures him out makes for a real page turner. Overall, author C J Daly has done excellent work in setting up this superb world and the romantic players within it. I would recommend The Academy to all YA romance readers today.

Ruffina Oserio

The Academy by CJ Daly is a well-crafted young adult romance that is intelligently plotted with characters that are real and compelling. Kate has lost her mother and, since then, her father has become absent, leaving her alone to take care of her brothers. It is too much for a seventeen-year-old girl who wants more from life. And yes, a little distraction won’t hurt. It starts the moment she discovers the two strangers at the diner where she works, and then seeing them along the alleyway. Her little brother has been pursued by one of the Military Academy. When Cadet Davenport shows up at school, Kate knows she can’t trust her thinking. There is not just a strangeness about him that unnerves her, but an attraction that is quickly becoming irresistible. Can she hold herself together or follow her reckless heart? It is interesting to find out what happens.

CJ Daly writes beautifully; an author with a unique way with words, an economy that creates focus and enhances the reading experience for readers. The narrative has a powerful premise — a young girl who feels as though life has no meaning after the death of her mother and who is forced to take charge of her siblings without the support of a father. Now, imagine what happens when she falls in love. I enjoyed the suspense the author created around the strangers at the diner and the mystery surrounding them. The protagonist is created with sufficient background story to be real and to excite the reader. She is strong and yet so vulnerable in a human way and readers will enjoy her streams of consciousness and the emotional battle she has to fight from day to day. The Academy is an exciting read, evenly paced and intense when it comes to the emotional aspects of the conflict.

Ana Sadeh

This is a must read! The characters are deeply developed and I can’t wait to see what unfolds in the next book! This is the kind of story you can curl into and disappear!

Savannah Keck

Absolutely phenomenal. Suspense, wit, romance, mystery... CJ Daly nailed it. Would HIGHlY recommend.


This book took me everywhere I wanted to go. Am recommending it for book club and can't wait for the sequel to drop!

Bunny Moore

I was introduced to The Academy Saga book by someone local and I and ate it up. I really enjoyed that it makes you feel invested in the characters and they have SOUL! Following along their journey made me think back to some similar personality types from when I was younger and really had me connecting with them, which is why I love reading :)

Rose Laybier

The Academy Saga by CJ Daly is a very interesting book. The Author CJ Daly writes creatively and beautifully, a unique way with words, an economy that creates focus and enhances the reading experience for the readers like me.

Joy Robbinson

The Academy Saga is detailed, honest, gave a clear and concise snapshot of the story without giving anything away. Which was quite helpful to the readers like me. This is the best book I've ever read!

Susanna Wildes

The best book I've read in a million years! Will definitely be looking forward to the next one!