Paw Prints

Oregon Spirit Award Winner
"Selected by the Oregon Council of Teachers of English as the top YA novel of 2009 by an Oregon author, for being “a distinguished contribution to young adult literature that engages and encourages readers’ imagination, discovery, and understanding."




Forest Fire

Reviews for Academy 7:

“…a barn burner of a book!”
—author, Susan Fletcher

—author, Tamora Pierce

“I so would have loved this book as a teen.”
—author, Sherwood Smith

Link to full review from Tamora Pierce.


When 17-year-old Aerin Renning is accepted at Academy 7, an ultra-exclusive military school, she finds herself in fierce competition with the other top freshman, Dane Madousin. Their backgrounds could not be more different — Dane, as the son of a powerful general, grew up with wealth and privilege while Aerin spent a nomadic childhood with her renegade trader father, enduring six harsh years of slavery after his death. Character development and a budding romance between Dane and Aerin drive this fast-paced read. Osterlund establishes an intriguing world of Machiavellian plot twists, along with imaginative histories for the different planets the characters encounter. Fans of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series will find many of the same elements here: a competitive school environment, catty female students, motherless childhoods, and shared secrets. The unfortunate cover suggests a formulaic romance, but the story itself, with details of spacecraft, flight, and other worlds, will appeal to readers who crave adventure, and demands a sequel.

— Debbie Carton

VOYA: starred review! Excerpt:

Skillfully grounding her science fiction in the familiar, the author tackles the struggle to fit in at school, explosive family issues, and love in the face of parental disapproval, creating a broad appeal that crosses genre lines ... Intriguing cover art, complex characters, and an innovative plot will send this book tumbling off library shelves. Readers can only hope for a sequel.

Nancy K. Wallace

Brilliantly written, this book shares a heartwarming tale of love, secrets, and sacrifice. Readers will immediately be captured by the shocking tale of the young heroine, Aerin Renning. The author's description and detail add suspense and drama to the story as readers race to uncover the many secrets that unfold. It is an irresistible must-read for any fantasy reader.

Hannah Preisinger, Teen Reviewer

School Library Journal:Link to full reviewExcerpt:

The story's pacing, intrigue, and subtly romantic overtones are consistently engaging ... Osterlund's impressionistic and evocative storytelling style, as the plot moves at light-speed, and the setting and characters are believable. Academy 7 is a satisfying, refreshing portrayal of two smart, desperate, and unhappy young people struggling to make sense of-and-better-the world their parents bequeathed them.

Roxanne Meyers Spencer

Sally Watson, author of The Witch of the Glens

"the best book for young people I have read in many years! Original, enchanting, engrossing, brilliantly written..."Ice

A Personal Favorite (e-mail/review):

“Hi Anne! I finished reviewing your book, Academy 7, not too long ago, and may I just tell you that it was one of the best books that I have ever read. It kept me up until some ridiculous hour at night, on a school night. I couldn't put it down. The tension you create between Dane and Aerin and the mystery of their pasts and the secrets (is) so gripping, readers will flip through the pages so fast, they will have to re-read it to let it all sink in. As a fan of both Twilight and The Hunger Games, I know that they will have some competition when this book is released. I just have one question; is there going to be more? I HAVE to read more! . . . There has to be more!!!! . . . Please write back to me and let me know if there will be more!"

— Laura Donahue, reviewer for Eight
Cousins Children Bookstore in Falmouth, Cape Cod.

The Book Girl Reviews:Excerpt:

Aerin has a secret. No matter what, she must keep it hidden. Not only could it cost her future, but also her life. Dane has a dark past as well. Labeled a delinquent by the tabloids, and his own father, his reputation precedes him. But neither one is as they seem. Both will do whatever it takes to guarantee the safety of their futures. Futures in which they will not be controlled. What they’re not aware of is this: They have much more in common than a simple desire to escape their own forms of slavery. Their pasts are connected. But how?

I had very high expectations for this book. But from the very first page it was obvious that it was nothing like I had expected. Somehow, it was better. My initial impression from reading the summary was that the students would be at a school, there would be danger, mystery, and romance. In my opinion, the makings of a very good story. Yet I should have known, when the back used the word 'universe' instead of 'world' that the book would be much more than that. These pages are filled with a story from a completely different, futuristic, world. Space travel is the norm. It gave the story a whole new dimension that caught me completely off guard. I ended up reading the book in one day, because I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this book to all readers. And if this sounds interesting to you, Anne wrote another book, Aurelia. I know I'll be checking it out!

FireThe Story Siren:Link to full reviewExcerpt:

I'm not usually a science fiction literature fan, but Academy 7 has become an exception. Contrary to their futuristic setting the characters are easily relatable to today’s teen. They have many of the same struggles, dreams, and desires. Aerin and Dane were well developed and captivating characters to read about.

From the synopsis I was expecting a more sinister plot twist than what the story ultimately revealed, but I still really enjoyed the seamlessly intertwined plot that Osterlund surprised me with. The subtle releases of Aerin and Dane’s backgrounds had me frantically flipping the pages to find out the connection.

I was absolutely intrigued by the world Osterlund created. I might just have to change my outlook on Sci-fi. This was just a fantastic novel all around. I’ll be on the look out for more novels by Osterlund.

— Laura Donahue, reviewer for Eight

Carrie’s YA Bookshelf:Link to full reviewExcerpt:

From page one, Academy 7 is just a fantastic read. Osterlund’s writing is beautiful. Her descriptions of Dane’s home planet, Chivalry are just breathtaking. As is all of her writing. This is a quick read, but reading it quickly doesn’t really do it justice. It will definitely be put immediately into my re-read pile so that I can experience it all over again.

I don’t know if she is planning on writing a sequel to this book, but I really hope she does. There just seems like there are so many other stories haunting the halls of Academy 7, plus I want to hear more about Aerin and Dane. I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. It has everything, sci-fi, action, and suspense. What can you ask for?

The Compulsive Reader:Link to full reviewExcerpt:

Anne Osterlund delivers a unique and breathtaking book that will sweep away both fantasy and science-fiction lovers alike. Her futuristic universe, reminiscent of Star Wars, is vivid and varied, and quite intriguing. Osterlund does an excellent job presenting her characters, and giving little hints about their past, which succeeds in hooking readers right from the start. Both Aerin and Dane are dynamic characters who are fallible, but they recognize their problems and faults and grow as individuals throughout the course of the book. As readers delve more deeply into the novel, they'll be happy to find that Academy 7 is not just about romance, competition, and dark secrets; there are many political, social, and even ethical issues that the characters must grapple with. These more serious elements make Academy 7 more believable and realistic and, at times, more serious. Overall, Osterlund has created a highly imaginative, wonderfully entertaining, and nicely complicated read that is at once romantic, witty, and quite intelligent.

Amazon UK: Link to full review Excerpt:

I honestly cannot believe there are not a million more reviews of this book on Amazon - the book is brilliant! I'm used to reading YA romances and YA paranormal books; this book is sci-fi, action, romance all rolled into one (pretty unusual!) and it is great. The book's main narrator is Aerin, although in turns the book is narrated by other characters (most notably Dane). By the end of this book you know the characters so well, and you just want MORE! Sequel please! :-)

Aerin's trader father travelled with Aerin outside of a ring of central planets (representing the core of civilization in the galaxy), when he dies she is stranded as a slave on an outer planet. The book opens when Aerin has escaped, and she is brought to Academy 7, the most advance school in the galaxy where she meets Dane Madousin. Son of a legendary general. The bitter relationship between father and son means that the larger plot of the book (thriller/mystery) doesn't emerge until later on although there is plenty of action throughout the book.

The romance is slow to evolve (Aerin is trying too hard to go unnoticed, afraid that she is not a 'citizen' and so in the school illegally) - but perfect - and elements of the situation remind me of Hogworts, or the House of Night books (2 totally different genres) in a very good way.

Dane is a very worthwhile hero, and the voices of both characters are what makes this story so special. Aerin, is a compassionate young genius, used to fighting through life, and Dane is a tortured young man trying to find his place in society, amid the interested eyes of the rest of the world (due to his father's fame). I shall definitely be purchasing Anne Osterlund's earlier novel Aurelia now and I hope it will be just as great a read!


FireCloudy with a Chance of Books:Excerpt:

This is a romance with great depth of character and an interesting planetary political scene.

Aerin is from outside the Alliance of planets and has faked her identity to test into the elite school Academy 7. Dane is the son of the Alliance’s leading general. He attends Academy 7 to displease his father who holds a grudge against his alma mater. Aerin comes from a life of brutal slavery on an outer world and Dane from a life of great privilege. They are soon Academy 7’s two top students, but each has secrets.

What made this story great was the way these two guarded characters learned about each other. Both Dane and Aerin made assumptions about the other and this book showed them learning that though they had the superior intelligence required to attend Academy 7 neither knew as much as he/she thought.

I am really hoping Osterlund is writing a sequel because I loved this book and will be recommending it widely.


Genre Go Rounds:Link to full reviewExcerpt:

The author of the young adult romantic mystery AURELIA, Anne Osterlund provides an entertaining young teen science fiction thriller with a touch of romance in the galaxy. The battling lead couple makes for a fun duet as each sings the refrain: “anything you can do, I can do better” until they get into trouble. Readers will enjoy the somewhat gender bending escapades of Dane and Aerin as they are on the brink of being expelled from school in spite of being the top two students at the same time a nefarious deathtrap tries to keep them apart while also thinking kiss her already.

— Harriet Klausner

Reading Rocks:Excerpt:

If there's one thing I know, it's this: Anne Osterlund knows how to keep an audience entertained. I was hooked from the very beginning. She very smoothly alternated between Dane's, Aerin's, and even Dr. Livinski's perspectives. The book was easy to follow and satisfying. The emotion - especially Aerin's - was true and heartfelt.

Unlike some other futuristic books I've reviewed here, Academy 7 definitely relies on the political and physical make-up of the setting for many important plot points, but I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. Osterlund has put so much detail and thought into this world, and it is obvious from the very beginning. I am not usually enthused by spaceships and interplanetary travel, but I found myself seriously enjoying Osterlund's rendition of the future, and I thought it perfectly suited the characters.

The romance in this book is not as prevalent as the cover claims. That does not mean it isn't beautifully realistic and touching, while at the same time being reserved and passionate. Osterlund manages to make a simple scene of talking or hand-holding into something as intimate and tender as the best of kissing scenes in other books.

Academy 7 could, in my opinion, appeal to readers of many genres. It isn't exclusively sci-fi or fantasy or political adventure or romance. It's a generous conglomeration of everything that Anne Osterlund very successfully turned into a deep and touching novel about losing and finding people you love.

— Shakespeare’s Muse

Rebecca's Book Blog:Link to full reviewExcerpt:

Academy 7 is one of my favorite teen fiction reads so far this year. Aerin and Dane, although they live in a futuristic world, are easy to relate to and have many of the same problems teens today face – Aerin struggles to blend in at school as she struggles emotionally with her past, while Dane longs for acceptance from his father and acts out rebelliously as a result of never gaining it. Throughout the novel, they grow both as individuals and in their growing relationship with each other. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy teen fiction. It honestly has something in it for everyone – science fiction, fantasy, adventure, and a story of friendship and romance.

— Rebecca Herman

Links to Still More Reviews for Academy 7
The Oregonian, review by Fran Arrieta-Walden

A Million Words

Charlotte's Library

Em's Bookshelf

Karin's Book Nook

Dead Book Darling



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