BOOK REVIEW: Ascenders: High School for the Recently Departed


Ascenders: High School for the Recently Departed 

written by C.L. Gaber


I purchased this book from Gaber at a book signing event a little while ago, while it took me some time to pick up the book it didn’t disappoint. Page after page was met with intrigue and awe.

Gaber creates an afterlife like no version I have ever read, heard about, or been taught about. The sheer genius is just astounding. I didn’t find any obvious cliches in the book – no damsel in distress or anything, but what I did find was amazing.

The Academy is the next step for ‘well’ behaved teens when they pass on, only thing is they don’t know they passed on right away.  I won’t give away any of the story… let’s just say Walker is blown away when she realizes what is happening.

Walker is a well-developed character who is all brains, well a good bit of brains, and physically challenged when it comes to sports. While Daniel, the bad boy, is very physical yet so determined to make it back to the living world to save his younger brother!

Gaber’s storyline is fluid, no lag time anywhere for me! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy book. Can’t wait to get book 2!


With the book granting me a read that allowed my mind to travel to a new concept of heaven, never letting me get bored or lost… it easily won 5 Butterflies!


Book Blurb

Walker Callaghan doesn’t know what happened to her. One minute she was living her teenage life in suburban Chicago…and the next minute, she was in a strange place and in a brand new school with absolutely no homework, no rules, and no consequences.

Walker Callaghan, 17, is dead.

She doesn’t go to heaven or hell. She lands at The Academy, a middle realm where teenagers have one thing in common: They were the morning announcement at their high schools because they died young.

These high school kids are now caught in a strange “in-between” zone where life hasn’t changed very much. In fact, this special teen limbo looks a lot like life in a quaint Michigan town complete with jocks, popular girls and cliques. “There are even cheerleaders in death,” Walker observes. It’s not a coincidence that the music teacher is a guy named Kurt who “used to have this band.” The drama teacher, Heath, is crush worthy because back in his life, he starred in some superhero movie.

Principal King explains the rules — there are none. Why? You can’t die twice.

There is no homework.
No tests.
You’re just there to learn because the human brain isn’t fully formed until you’re 24.

By the way, you can’t get hurt physically, so race your Harley off that hillside. But falling in love is the most dangerous thing you can do …because no one knows how long you’ll stay in this realm or what’s next.

“Losing someone you love would be like dying twice,” Walker says.

* * * * * *
Walker Callaghan has just arrived at the Academy after a tragic car accident. “Is this heaven or is this high school?” she asks.

She finds out her new life is a bit of both as she falls in love with tat-covered, bad boy Daniel Reid who is about to break the only sacred rule of this place. He’s looking for a portal to return back to the living realm.

He needs just one hour to retrieve his younger brother who strangely never arrived at The Academy. Bobby is an Earth Bound Spirit, stuck at a plane crash site that took both of their lives as their rich father piloted his private jet nose-first into a cornfield on Christmas Eve.

Walker loves Daniel and risks it all to go with him.

Have they learned enough to outsmart dangerous forces while transporting a young child with them? Can their love survive the fragmented evil parts of themselves that are now hunting them down as they try to find a way back to the middle?

At the Academy, you learn the lessons of an after-lifetime.



Author of young adult/fantasy / paranormal as well as poetry and more.