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The Empathy Academy

The Empathy Academy, by Dustin Grinnell, follows Montgomery Hughes on his journey of discovery as he questions his morality. A school was built for those who test positive for genes that affect empathy, and even though Monty tests negative, he finds his way onto Nantucket Island to enroll.

Montgomery “Monty” Hughes is a terrific kid, intelligent, and constantly questioning if he is doing the right thing. When he discovers his father profited on a fake cancer drug, he decides to enroll in the Empathy Academy, which is run by Dr. Sonja Woodward. Monty uses his friend’s test results to get into the academy so that he can escape his father’s wrongdoings.

Monty has been intrigued by medicine and wants to become a doctor; however, he does not want to make his father’s same mistakes. As Monty goes to the academy for the summer, the FBI places his father under house arrest while awaiting trial for the biggest fraud committed in medicine. His father, Richard Hughes, marketed a drug that was supposed to cure cancer and ended up being harmful. There is some irony in the story as his father was diagnosed with terminal Pancreatic Cancer.

The writing style and tone of this book are a balance of science and questioning morality. Are our genes responsible for our behavior and empathy, or does our environment also play a role? Throughout this book, Grinnell accurately captured human nature and the fine line between right and wrong. Some characters in this book know what they are doing is wrong but move forward because they are scared the outcome would negatively impact them. Other characters believe what they are doing is just and right but blind themselves to the true nature of their actions. Monty is inherently good but feels he needs help because of his father’s mistakes.

This captivating novel was interesting to read. Each character had a unique development, and you could see the inner workings of human nature. The underlying plot of the fake cancer drug could elicit some strong emotions from those that have been impacted by cancer in their lives. Cancer is a touchy subject, but I believe the author handled it well throughout the book.

The Empathy Academy combines science fiction and ethical philosophy into a riveting fantasy novel. If you question right and wrong, love deciphering morality, and would like to dive into human nature, then this book is for you.

Pages: 209 | ASIN : B09RTSZ7PQ

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