Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil
(The School for Good and Evil #1)
At the School for Good and Evil, failing your fairy tale is not an option.

Welcome to the School for Good and Evil, where best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

With her glass slippers and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she'll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks and wicked black cat, seems a natural fit for the villains in the School for Evil.

The two girls soon find their fortunes reversed—Sophie's dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School for Good, thrust among handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.

But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are . . . ?

The School for Good and Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: May 14, 2013


Kat's Review

Soman Chainani takes every childhood stereotype of good and evil and turns it upside down.  Despite what I thought was a bit of a slow start, this book completely won me over less than halfway through.  The writing is sophisticated without being overly complicated for a middle grade audience, and the tale is cleverly woven. This book has everything a child expects from a fairy tale: beautiful princesses and ugly witches, monsters lurking in the forest, handsome princes and magic at every turn.  Only it all comes with a twist. 

The animals are children who didn't succeed at the School, the headmaster is never seen by the students, and the balance between Good and Evil is off.  Evil hasn't won a battle in 200 years, much to Good's delight.  When Sophie and Agatha are plucked from their village and dropped into their respective schools, it's obvious there's been a mistake.  Or has there?  With her dazzling beauty and charming demeanor, Sophie is revolted when she is forced to find a place in the school for evil.  In the school for good, Agatha is shunned by the other students upon arrival.  She possesses none of the attributes associated with good, and can't understand why most of the education for girls consists of learning how to be a damsel in distress so they can be saved by their prince. 

Agatha's determined to get her and Sophie back home, but Sophie's more determined to switch schools so she can find a prince to call her own.  As the girls are faced with increasingly daunting challenges both in and out of the classroom, their true natures are revealed, and they aren't what anyone expected. 

I found myself laughing out loud at times and utterly enchanted by the twists and turns of the story. There are so many great messages in this book that both boys and girls could take away, most importantly the ones questioning princess culture and the stereotypes that go with it.

Rating: All Consuming

This book brings a great new voice to children's fantasy writing.  While the notion of the anti-princess has been done before, I really feel that this book tackles it in an original manner, keeping the reader guessing how things will turn out until the last page.  This book will stand the test of time. 

On another note, have you seen the book trailer?  One of the best. 


I was provided a complimentary copy of this book for review from Edelweiss & the publisher in return for an honest review.



  1. Ahhh you read this? I'm so jealous! It looks really good. ^^


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