Cherrington Academy Blog Tour (Review & Author Interview)

Cherrington Academy by Rebecca J. Caffery

Published by: SRL Publishing on August 25, 2020

Genres: Young Adult Contemporary, LGBT+ Romance

Pages: 270

My Rating: ★★★ ½

Welcome to the Cherrington Academy blog tour! I’m thrilled to part of this, thank you to Rebecca Caffery and SRL Publishing for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The next tour stop is Book Fangirling.



Logan’s the new boy at Cherrington Academy, a boarding school that’s promised to provide him with a safe haven away from homophobic bullies and neglectful parents. He’s left all that 2000 miles away.

What he doesn’t expect Cherrington to provide is; a bunch of friends who want to adopt him, a mysterious roommate who’s never home and a gorgeous guy with a secret crush on him.

His perfect new life begins to unravel when he discovers a web of secrets amongst his friends. Plus his roommate? Partial to blackmail. That gorgeous guy? Well, he’s taken by one of Logan’s now closest friends.

Can Logan shut off his feelings to protect his new friendships and the happiness he’s found at Cherrington Academy? Or is love really just all-consuming?

❝They were such a misfit bunch that sat amongst them I could see how I would belong here.❞

Cherrington Academy is an entertaining, fast-paced read that encapsulates the highs, the lows and the angst-ridden days of being sixteen/seventeen perfectly. Full of scandal and rollercoaster romances, Caffery’s debut doesn’t shy away from any of the hard or uncomfortable topics as she explores everything from cheating to coming out. Whilst I do think Logan encompasses some gay stereotypes, she incorporates representation and diversity amongst a loveable cast of characters effortlessly. The friendships and bromances between these characters in Cherrington Academy are refreshing — they’re supportive and call out each other when needs be.

Another thing I loved is how Logan’s coming out isn’t a huge deal and his sexuality is not manipulated as a plot device. It’s clear Logan suffered in the past, he was bullied, so for him to find a place where he belonged and go on a journey of self-discovery is a delight to read. Whilst Logan’s story might not be the happiest, what happens is not a consequence of his sexuality. Gay people deserve stories that explore their sexuality without the story being dependant on the trauma that can come with not fitting into a heteronormative society.

In terms of the main character, Logan is not a good person. He’s a cheat, leads people on and knowingly hurts the same people that welcomed him with open arms. For all these reasons, I struggled to sympathise with him and I genuinely couldn’t imagine how the author would change my mind. However, Logan’s character development is incredible and he evolved in the end.

The primary relationship in this book is between Logan and Isaac — Logan’s relationship with Isaac burns hot and fast, which leads to it not being the healthiest in some respects. It’s only when Logan realises that he needs to be better for himself does his much needed redemption arc begin. I appreciated that at least three people (that I can think of) call Logan out on his behaviour, meaning he learns from it and becomes more self-aware in the process — having your own baggage/issues never justifies mistreating others. Seeking help and talking about your emotions is really emphasised in this book, especially amongst boys. These themes were integrated so naturally and I wish more YA books touched on them.

Despite being flawed, Logan grew on me towards the end. Even if that isn’t the case for you, Caffery has such a large cast of characters that it’s not a challenge to find a character you relate to, or want to protect with your life. Noah and Charlie are two that I’m rather attached to.

On the whole, I’d recommend Cherrington Academy because it’s packed with drama that will impassion, infuriate and invigorate you. These characters make mistakes and have a lot of tangled connections of each other, yet that’s why they’re so realistic and the dynamic works so well! The romance is definitely on the fast burn side of things and I’m still hesitant about the cheating, but it works in context and I appreciated the efforts to break the stigma around mental health. This book only scratches the surface of so many potential stories and I can’t wait for the world of the academy to be explored in more depth now the groundwork has been laid out.

❝You aren’t the victim in this situation. You may have been one at your old school, but not anymore.❞

1. First of all, congratulations on your debut! Where did you get the inspiration for Cherrington Academy? Were there any strange things that inspired names, places, plots etc?

From the very beginning there was always Logan, he’s been a character that I’ve been thinking about for several years. He’s kind of haunted me as I had no idea [what] to do with him. Then I moved away to Canada to study for a year in 2017 and as I made friends and lived in a dorm, I felt like a dorm kind of background would be perfect for Logan. I started writing it from there and knew it was going to be YA, so it became a boarding school. I wish I knew where Cherrington Academy came from, but it was a completely random name that came to me in the middle of the night. 

2. Did any scenes or characters change drastically from the first draft? Or did something you originally really wanted not make the cut?

Oh wow, so much has changed since the first draft of this story. The very first draft written in 2017 was in third person POV and the present tense. Every chapter was so incredibly different and although Noah existed he didn’t play as big of part in the story. I then wrote him a whole character arc because it felt meant to be, like he had a bigger part to play in the story, more than just Logan’s roommate. After I swapped to 1st person POV I experimented with writing two MC’s, one POV from Logan and the other from a side character named October, that also didn’t work so I dropped down to just Logan. I also cut a character named Kristen after around the third draft because she wasn’t adding anything to the story.

3. Which character was the most difficult to write? Who was the easiest? 

I think October was actually the hardest character for me to write. She’s changed a lot from the first draft of the story, originally she was more over dramatic and bossier, I definitely toned her down, but she was hard to write because she bears a lot of the hurt from the MC. Charlie was definitely the easiest to write, once I knew he was going to be the male prefect his whole character came together and then when I was writing him, his whole character arc just came to me so naturally it was just beautiful. I also just adore him because he is such a sweet egg!

4. You have such a diverse cast of characters in Cherrington. Was Logan always going to be the narrator? If you could rewrite from another character’s perspective, who would you choose?

He was always going to be one of the narrators, but I did experiment with both October and Charlie being narrators in Cherrington Academy and in the sequel it is a dual POV between Logan and Isaac. I think if I was going to rewrite this story I would choose to do it from Noah’s POV so I could explore his life fully as we get so many tiny insights into it in Cherrington Academy, but his story could definitely be something its own right!

5. Cherrington Academy explores cheating, mental health and discovering your sexuality, do you think these themes are represented enough in YA or do you think we collectively need to do more to break the taboo around them?

One of the things I always said I wanted to when writing YA or NA was to make sure it was realistic and inclusive. I’m not the hugest fan of stories that are just boy meets girl, they fall in love, they live happily ever after. Whilst that is real life for some, it is never that easy and I really wanted to show the trials and tribulations of navigating life as a 16 year old boy. I think that we are getting better in the literary community in being more diverse and including a wide range of issues, but I definitely think we have a tonne more work to do. Writing about mental health was really important for me, I also wanted to make this a story that shows men asking for help/seeking it out and lifting that taboo on men having emotions/getting therapy. One of the things that I was most worried about, however, was the cheating that takes place in Cherrington Academy. However, when I thought about it, I wanted to be realistic and just show a slice of life in this book and cheating unfortunately is a part of that life for some people. I’m glad I chose to keep it included in the book.

6. What was one strange thing you googled in relation to writing or researching Cherrington Academy?

I spent a lot of time Googling cufflinks to be part of Logan’s accessories to his school uniform, like an actual ridiculous amount of time trying to find the perfect pair to compliment the navy uniform and his auburn hair. Only for me to then cut out all the main details about them when I edited the book for a final time! Thankfully because I lived in the hometown where Cherrington is set for a year I did a lot of my actual researching for the story in person which was such an amazing way to do it.

7. If you could choose one song to be theme for Cherrington Academy, what song would you choose? (I definitely had Illicit Affairs by Taylor Swift in mind when reading!)

This is the hardest possible question you could ask me about Cherrington Academy, summarising it in one song is so damn hard. After hearing ‘folklore’ ‘Illicit Affairs’ is one hundred percent a Cherrington kind of song. When I was writing it however it was definitely either Ariana Grande’s ‘Just a Little Bit of Your Heart’ or Selena Gomez’s ‘The Heart Wants What it Wants’. I do, however, have a whole playlist dedicated to Cherrington Academy that I built up as I was writing and am absolutely loving listening to whilst I’m emotional about my book baby being published! You can find that playlist here.

8. Lastly, could you summarise Cherrington Academy in emojis?  


Rebecca Caffery is a BA Politics graduate and enthusiast, who can always be found curled up reading somewhere when she isn’t working on a new novel idea. She grew up in Birmingham, UK, where she’s been writing since the age of fourteen. It wasn’t, however, until she moved to Canada for a year that she found her voice and passion writing again and was inspired to write Cherrington Academy.

Outside of the writing and reading world she is a Netflix addict and loves to watch anything with a heart-wrenching romance plot, just like the books she writes. Cherrington Academy is her debut book.

Twitter | Blog

read it and weep,

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