ASCENDERS (Ascenders 1) by CL Gaber REVIEW

Is this Hell or is this High School?

THE ASCENDERS Takes You To the In-between Where Teens Who Died Young Go On the Epic Adventure of an After-Lifetime.

Ascenders Updated

ASCENDERS (Ascenders 1) by CL Gaber

YA Paranormal Romance/Fantasy


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, 16, 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 that 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 as the Joker.

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. Walker falls hard for 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.

Ascenders….An epic adventure of an after-life time.

For more information check out the ASCENDERS website HERE!

 “A unique twist on the paranormal that will keep you up all night reading.”-USA Today best selling author Tiffany King



Denial is more than a river in Egypt.”

Ascenders was surprisingly atmospheric and moody, from the eerily foreboding cover to the uniquely inventive plot. When I first read the description I expected something more along the lines of an updated Flatliners. A relatively unknown flick from the early 90’s staring Julia Roberts when she was just a dewy ingénue and probably eclipsed by the success of another movie released that year Pretty Woman. If not Flatliners then my expectations were more in line with an even more obscure movie from 1987 called Made in Heaven.

However I was completely mistaken Ascenders read more like a film noir initially, Walker awakens in a new house in completely unfamiliar circumstances. Her normally super organized but financially strapped mother is behaving strangely and their new home is opulent compared to their former standard of living. She is convinced that things are not as they should be and she is right. Rather than a sudden move inspired by a lottery win or some such it is clear to the reader if not Walker that she is no longer with the living.

While Walker is a fairly astute girl being a reporter and all I would think that a teacher in music appreciation by the name of Kurt and technology specialist who used to work for a company named after a fruit would be fairly definitive proof that something really strange is going on. When she does finally catch on that she is in fact dead the mysteries only grow, who or what is watching her? Why does the surly Daniel want to return to the living plane so badly?

I enjoyed Ascenders though at times the plotting may have felt inconsistent, I would definitely read more by this author in the future.


C.L. Gaber is the co-author of the bestselling YA novel “Jex Malone.” She is also an entertainment journalist, syndicated worldwide through the New York Times Syndicate. She interviews A-lister movie, TV and music stars for the Chicago Sun-Times. A movie-loving kid in Chicago, she grew up to earn a degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State. Now she lives Nevada with her husband Ron, once her high school boyfriend; her stepdaughter, Sabrina; and their dogs, Colt and Georgie. | Facebook



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