Review: School for Psychics / by Madeleine Riley

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Note: Top Shelf Text received a copy of this text from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

School for Psychics is the first in a new fantasy series by a mysterious author. The premise of the book was instantly intriguing for me: a top-secret government facility for psychic training, a character with a puzzling past, and a band of misfits tasked with protecting the country.

Teddy Cannon is a twenty-something woman whose gotten herself into a lot of trouble. After dropping out of Stanford, she's racked up a hearty gambling debt, is in the crosshairs of a major mafia type, and she's living out of her adoptive parents' garage. Essentially, Teddy's hit rock bottom. At the height of her troubles, she's approached by a government agent who offers her a spot at the Whitfield Institute. In his invitation, the agent reveals that Teddy was misdiagnosed with epilepsy as a child, and that her symptoms are actually a result of her psychic abilities.

When Teddy arrives on the island housing the Whitfield Institute (because who would say no to that opportunity?), she befriends fellow psychics who can talk to animals, manipulate fire, and more. Along with juggling classes, Teddy is still trying to figure out exactly what her own powers are; even more confusing is the mystery of her past, which seems somehow tied to Whitfield.

I read this book in a day (seriously, I didn't put it down from start to finish) and thoroughly enjoyed both the fantasy and adventure elements of the story. I'd categorize this more in the realm of magical realism -- as in, the world exists as we know it but there's an added layer in that psychic powers exist. This story felt like a great cross between a fantasy and a spy thriller.

The one thing that semi-irked me throughout was the maturity level of the characters. These students are millenials, true, but they seemed really immature to me. There were parts of the story that made me roll my eyes, mostly because I dislike it when characters make bad decisions. That alone knocked it down one star and makes me feel like this book straddles the line between adult and young adult. That being said, I'm going to be first on the list to read the sequel, because the plot was interesting and ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. I'd definitely recommend this book for fans of Lev Grossman's The Magicians series, and for both YA and non-YA readers.

Bottom-Line Rating: 4/5

P.S. Looking for more fantasy recommendations? Join Amy and I for our next Bookish Buzz Instagram Live on Saturday, April 14th at 12pm EST! We're talking all things fantasy for a little springtime magic!

  • Title: School for Psychics
  • Author: KC Archer
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Price: $13 on Amazon
  • Format: Paperback ARC
  • Source: Simon & Schuster