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High School for the Recently Departed

(Ascenders #1)

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  256 ratings  ·  162 reviews
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 ha
Paperback, 482 pages
Published April 8th 2015 by Big Picture Media
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CL Gaber Hi! The paper back book is live now on Amazon. The Kindle will be live on Monday as will Smashwords and Kobo. :)

Community Reviews

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4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  256 ratings  ·  162 reviews

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Sybil aka Lala
Life is being really weird right now, and Walker Callaghan is confused. And it’s not the usual confusion about life and identity and math problems that teenagers usually suffer from. Last night she went bed on her aunt’s couch after a dinner of boxed mac and cheese, because that’s all her single mom can afford, but this morning she woke up in a lavish home with brand new furniture, all her belongings haphazardly packed into boxes and on her way to an exclusive new school simply called The Academ ...more
ARC provided by author in exchange of honest review

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The "In between." The Afterlife. The middle. Or the most widely commonly known term Purgatory. When it comes to defining the alternative realm of being stuck in the middle, one thing is common. Death. Usually, in this alternative realm, the lines of life and death are blurred. Are we alive? Or are we truly dead? And what are the reasons for being stuck in this realm? Is it permanent? Or temporary?


In Ascenders, we follow the life of Walker Cal
May 23, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
Purchased eBook.

I couldn't get into this one at all. I wanted to. Really I did. It sounds so good. But it was so repetitive with the constant string of confused questions that were never answered. I think it was trying to portray confusion for the dead MC but all it did was annoy me. Then there were the things that just felt like a slap in the face to teens. If I was a teen reading this, I'd be offended. Just not for me.
Jul 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
When you think of the after life, you don't usually know what will happen. You can take a guess and wonder what after death will be like. For Walker, she doesn't know until after death happens. She sees these people that were supposed to be dead and she's confused. When she does find out, a light bulb goes off.

The way C.L. Gaber captured this story-line was so captivating as well as intriguing. It makes you fall for the story, and fast. Through the first chapter I was hooked. That being said, t
Crina (Reading Addict)
Originally posted on Reading Addict

This book has a ton of five stars on goodreads, the cover is cool and the synopsis sounds amazing, so how could I resist? I accepted a copy for review and I was so eager to read it.

But I didn't enjoy it as much as I was expecting and it didn't blew me away. Which at first I thought it was my fault, because I have a very weird mood now, but as I kept reading and seeing the story going on, I realized that my problem was that even though I liked the idea and the p
Kathy Wagner
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a gift from the author and Paranormal Romance & Authors That Rock for an honest review.

Our lead character, a girl named Walker, wakes up in a completely new home. Raised by a single mom, struggling to make ends meet, they live in a small apartment where she sleeps on the couch. Her new home is an upper class 4 bedroom home. She has everything her heart desires. Where did it all come from? Why is she no longer in Chicago where she was raised? And even better, her new school has
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a great start to a new series. I enjoyed unraveling the secrets of the school and the journey of trying to determine if they can go back to the living. Did they find it??? Well I am not going to tell you silly, but you should TOTALLY go read this book to find out for yourself ;)

Walker was a character we all knew in high school & heck we knew Daniel too. Their dynamic felt pretty legit and it brought back some memories of high school. Let's be honest any book about high school will d
Laura  Hernandez (TheVoluptuousBkDiva/YABkDivas)

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review when I signed up to host the book tour. I made no guarantee of a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are unbiased and my own.

I had the hardest time putting this book down and it quickly became a favorite book. This book about the after life is a new and creative take on the subject and the author's world building skill set were fantastic. The plot is well written and the characters were strong, pleasant and often humor
Tracy Ehlers
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What an awesome YA paranormal story...
We follow Walker and her ascent into a heavenly realm... And it is an adventure, an adventure of epic proportions.
Dr King is the heavenly realms high school principle, Kurt Cobain the music teacher.. Heath Ledger step into the Drama department...
Don't get me started on the sport.. Wowzers..
In Heaven or in this case Heavenly High school there is only one rule you must never go back ( don't think about it, not try it, don't do it..... Well what's that sayi
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For Goodreads

I just finished Ascenders and I'm not sure what to do. Laugh or cry? It's been a long time since a book made me think about life in general like this book did. This book was a little bit like a great epic movie combined with "Lost" combined with "Twin Peaks" combined with a Stephen King novel. I fell in love with Walker Callaghan and her life after death story. The cool thing is that the so called dead world looks like Michigan. In fact, Walker thinks she is in Michigan for the firs
Amy P
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
amazing. 5 stars. the sweeping romance reminded me of Outlander. nicely done CL Gaber
Aug 13, 2015 added it
Shelves: chicago
I got this book as a review copy for Gapers Block, and I'm really excited to write about it!
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ascenders by C.L. Gaber is a young adult paranormal book. Walker Callaghan has no idea what is going on. One minute she's in the hospital and the next minute her and her mother are moving into a house they can't possibly afford. And she is going to a new high school in a new place. Walker is 17 and dead. And is now going to a high school for the dead. It's not heaven or hell but somewhere in the middle. These kids are in this weird in between where their lives haven't changed that much. There ar ...more
Allie Bock
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author for letting me read and review your book. This is my honest opinion.

The book blurb gives a very thorough and accurate summary of the book. Doesn't it sound good? Don't you want to try it?

I wanted to after reading the blurb. This story is a YA, and sometimes I find YA adult books to be predictable. This one had some predictable parts and some unexpected twists. Overall, I enjoyed my time reading this book.

CL Gaber is a talented writer. She gets right in there and makes the
Mar 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book is awful. There is just so much I didn’t like that I don’t know even know how to put it in words.

I’ll start with this if I had teen I would strongly discourage them from reading this. The romance is inappropriate. The “bad boy” ignores the girl and she’s just *so confused*. No, girl. Never let anyone treat you like that. It’s not okay and shouldn’t be okay in books either. Just because he is “going through something” doesn’t excuse bad behavior.

Secondly, they live together as there a
Cabiria Aquarius
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a story! The Academy sounds like so much fun! The classes, the TEACHERS! I can’t believe it. Such an intense story. What an imagination about the idea of death (for teenagers anyway). I loved it every step of the way. I was definitely nervous about parts and I did tear up. Really pulls on your heartstrings. But it was so good. You don’t want to put it down. I can’t believe it’s over. But hey, there’s two more books in the series. Yay!
Walker’s story of life and loss and love. Of hope. Of br
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: home-library
Sadly, this is yet another YA series with two boys fighting over one girl. I had a hard time with this book. It was a bit slow and I find it odd that the author tried to make it intriguing by throwing so many dead famous people's names in there. I'm still not sure what the point of that was. It didn't seem to add to the story as a character by any name could have done what little their characters did. A redeeming quality was the author didn't make the two teenage characters that are "in love" ha ...more
Lori Hammons
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love the world of the Academy that this story creates. Walker is so confused at first and when she figures it out, then her mom moves on, she is devastated. But Daniel is unable to remain aloof and saves Walker, who ends up helping Daniel meet his chief goal in afterlife.
JL Roberts
Am I in Michigan? Walker isn't sure where she is or how she got there. All she knows is she was in her apartment her and her mom share with her aunt and now her and her mom are in a new home and she is starting a new school called the Academy. She doesn't know how they can afford any of it and why her mom is acting so weird.

The Academy is unlike anything Walker has ever known. There is no studying, no tests, and no SATs. "You're here to be curious. If a subject interests you, then please explor
books are love
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Twilight Zone meet life or the afterlife. That is what we have. The book is so full of fun and imagination. The look at what happens when you die young and aren’t mature enough to ascend or ready to ascend.

CL Gaber gives us a fun imaginative and creative look into afterlife. We see some great characters and some adventure play out with danger to boot. There are areas in which the book drags only because some of the descriptive writing isn’t always needed to help the story along. Other than this
Tina Lynne
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
It is always nice to find a book that takes a look at something different, giving the reader a new and intriguing perspective to wonder about. Ascenders is a story that beautifully presents a new world to the reader, a world between life and the afterlife, a place where new life exists and transformation occurs. In the first book of this young adult paranormal saga, Walker has just met her untimely death and is learning to adjust to a world that is like what she knows but eerily different. The A ...more
Rae Sontheyon
Fascinating Concept But Long-Winded . . .

In reading the book blurb I was intrigued, but found the book rather tedious to read. The story itself was interesting at points but was too long to keep my interest in one sitting. The characters were likable but at times they seemed dry, most-likely due to the focus being on the world they lived in rather than the characters.

Awakening in a perfect house in a new city, Walker Callaghan, finds herself unpacking but confused on how her and her mom moved s
Kitty Lusby
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
C. L. Gaber has a distinctively cinematic style that turns Ascenders into a butt-kicking movie that plays in your head as you read. It's easy to fall into the story and get lost in this snowy-yet-comfortable world with the characters, who are always interesting. The protagonist inspires an incredible amount of compassion, and she's far from perfect: I really appreciate that both the MC and the love interest are realistically human. They've got their strengths and weaknesses, and the shortcomings ...more
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I just finished up reading this very interesting tale by C.L. Gaber about a girl who dies in a tragic accident and ends up going to high school in the after life. The funny thing about it is that even after dying, high school is much the same in some ways for Walker. There are the clicks of kids, classes, sports, and that one guy that everyone has a crush on but doesn't seem to pay attention to anyone until the new girl comes along. The only differences are that Walker has much more freedom over ...more
Cyndi Flores
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is Fabfreakintastic!!! I loved it!
It starts out when Walker is in the afterlife, a new life, new school, new everything. All new to her.
The beginning half of the book you learn about the staff, and students and what happened to them to end up there. I enjoyed reading about each persons story, it is a important part of the story, however the second half of the book is where the action, and story really began for me. The death story's are good, however I would have liked to get to the
Ebbie ~Author Groupies
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ascenders is about the "Academy". A high school for the dead. The theory is that they died young and didn't get enough life experiences. So they must attend the Academy to gain those experiences. The only real rule is that no matter what you can't try to go back to your old life. The Academy is just like a high school as far as the cliques. Walker finds herself in this in between realm with her mom. They died in a car wreck. At first Walker doesn't know that she dead and is wondering how her mom ...more
Resch Reads
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-bookshelf
*ARC Received in Exchange for Honest Opinion/Review*

One word to describe this book is epic. I am not going to recap the story because the synopsis is ridiculously long. I actually recommend not reading it and just know that this is an epic, adventure book about kids after they die where they attend school until there brains are developed at 24. The only rule is you cannot under any circumstances return to the living realm. That wraps it up because there were so many bits and pieces to this story
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A Very Unique, Epic Paranormal YA Read
This book is fan-freaking-tastic! I am a lover of all things paranormal and also believe that you can't ever be too old to read YA books. I couldn't have imagined even after the really intriguing synopsis that I would like this book so so much! The author has done such an amazing job with this one, I truly haven't read anything like it. It really stands out in a sea of YA paranormal books. The story is so unique, original and interesting. It had me right fro
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
this book was provided to Momma Says Read for an honest and unbiased review

This author definitely has a knack for storytelling. This wonderous unique inventive and fun story. I am not sure how this author came up with the ideal of a high school for the afterlife! I found this book to be sweet and heartbreaking at times. The characters were stolen right out of my heart. Her main two characters had such a determination about them you couldn't help but love them. (She gave me some fond memories of
Shannon Sims
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a while a book comes along that is so deeply moving and special that you want to tell all of your friends and their friends to read it because it's life changing. That book is Ascenders. It's a love story between a young man and woman, but also a beautiful love story between a mother and a daughter. This book made me laugh, cry and think about my own life. It also reminded me of how precious time is and our loved ones are to us. I think it's absolutely perfect reading for teenagers ...more
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