Title: The School for Good and Evil
Author: Soman Chainani
Published: May 14, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Goodreads Description: This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.
But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they 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 amongst 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…?
I had heard great things about this book since it was published a few years ago, so I was especially excited when a friend lent it to me to read. I’ll admit that the first fifty pages had me thinking that this was yet another over hyped book, but I was thankfully proved wrong.
This book caught me off guard. I thought that because it was middle grade, about fairy tales, and a school for good and bad people, it would be a humorous, lighthearted story about how everyone is both good and evil. It was funny, but there were also some seriously twisted parts
that I totally dug. For one thing, the sanctions for the children of the School for Evil were messed up, and there’s one punishment that Sophie and Agatha got that was especially evil.
I also liked that my feelings about certain characters flip-flopped a ton — it really solidified the theme of “nothing is black and white”. For example, whenever I began to think Sophie was actually a decent human being, she would do something that made me think she deserves to be in the School for Evil. That also happened with Tedros. I would begin to warm up to him, but then he just made me despise him again.
Not only was this book darker than I expected, the ending played out differently than I thought it would. In fact, the last fifty pages of the book had me going, “Well, that escalated quickly,” multiple times.
As I mentioned earlier, it took me a little while to get into the story. It was partly due to the fact that I found Sophie really annoying, and also because it took longer than I expected to get to the point of the story that takes place in the School for Good and Evil.
This book was roller coaster that started off slow, but ended in the best, most unsuspecting way possible. The synopsis fooled me into thinking that it would lighthearted read, but there was a lot more packed into this book. I’m curious to see how the next two books will play out.
i really liked it