“In the forest of primeval
A school for Good and Evil
Twin towers like two heads
One for the pure
And one for the wicked
Try to escape you’ll always fail,
The only way out is
Through a fairytale.”
― Soman Chainani,
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…?
The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.
Caitlynn: I have been anticipating this book for a while now and I’m so glad we finally made it around to it. It’s everything that I wanted in a book with friendship and magic. 4.5/5 stars.
Eden: I hadn’t intended to read The School For Good and Evil anytime soon. It was on my TBR, but it was pushed up on my list as we set it for a discussion read. Honestly, I’m disappointed that I didn’t read this earlier. The School For Good and Evil is absolutely fantastic and I’ve already ordered and began reading the second book of the series. 4.5/5 stars.
Jenn: I really enjoyed this book and the world that Soman Chainani managed to create. I think it’s a fresh take on a form of literature we all know and love, fairy tales. I’m so glad that we started this series and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book. 4.5/5 stars
Jenn: What did everybody rate it?
Eden: 4.5/5 stars.
Caitlynn: Yeah, that’s what I was going to say.
J: What did you like the most out of the book? What was it that pushed it over being a 4?
E: For me it was the first adventure/fantasy/magical story that I’ve read in a while that I was intrigued. We get all of these concepts of having a hero and a villain and there’s got to be an end game. But, with this situation it was such a strangely put together world that consisted of both stories we know and don’t know and the idea of how fairytales come together for me gave this book life. I think the world was also so captivating. And it was similar to Harry Potter in some respects.
C: It was so similar to Harry Potter. That’s what I was about to say. Because, there’s all of these magical creatures and there’s fairies and gargoyles and goblins. It was so similar to Harry Potter. But, it was vastly different too. I just really enjoyed it.
J: Yeah, and I feel like what was really great about this book was that you could totally suspend belief while reading it. So, fairytales can be kind of jarring in stories just because they’re so well known. It makes it feel like it’s own individual world. Here, they did a good job of tying these stories that we know with a completely new world and history. I also really appreciated that it was similar to Harry Potter, because I really like books set in boarding schools. I think it’s a really good way that authors have found to get rid of the issue of parents interfering in the events while still not having to kill them all off.
E: I also like that this book was a middle grade. But, I didn’t feel like it was a middle grade at times. The humor was dark and even some of the jokes are a little older.
J: I would definitely suggest high school aged kids moreso than middle school aged kids, Just because of some of the jokes and innuendos that were made. Also, it got a little colorful with some of the word choices.
E: I was going to say that too. This is a world that is built around these girls that just have to find princes. I don’t know that I would want one of my 12 or 13 year old students reading it. I think that it’s a great story in the way that it’s told and I enjoyed it and it’s entertaining. But, it definitely lost the middle grade rating at times. For example, there’s a part with Tedros when he’s in the bathroom after being at the gym and he’s talking about that he knows girls are watching him dry off.
J: Not only that but when Sophie is trying to impress Tedros with her outfits they refer to her short outfit and her creamy white thighs. That really threw me off and made me think it wasn’t as appropriate for middle grades.
E: Yeah, I some of the language was a little sexualized in the novel. I don’t think that’s bad I just think that’s an older middle grade novel.
J: I don’t think it’s middle grade.
E: Yeah, I can agree I don’t think it’s middle grade.
J: Because, by definition middle grade is ages 8-12.
E: Yeah, and some of the humor was dark too.
J: I would say that this would be more of a young adult book.
E: Like, a young young adult book.
E: They can call it a middle grade if they want but I don’t see it as a middle grade.
J: Yeah, and I can see where they would consider it a middle grade. However, if I was a parent or just as a teacher thinking of my class I wouldn’t suggest it to my middle schoolers.
E: I have students who would definitely read something like that and I read it keeping them in mind and I thought, “This is a little too old for them. This is not appropriate for their age.” These are kids that just finished the A Series of Unfortunate Events series. So, I was thinking about them and this is not a series that I would give them. But, a 9th or 10th grade? I would give it to them.
J: Also, the concept would be very hard for them to grasp because it was about the Good girls being pretty and looking for princes. I don’t know that they would realize the issues with that and how bad that thought process is. That insight I think is something that comes with age so I’d be weary. It just seems harmful for kids to read about how only beautiful girls are Good and should only worry about being protected by a boy. That message would influence kids in a negative way. However, I think older readers would be able to see through it.
E: That was my thoughts. I didn’t think the message would come across to an 11 or 12 year old kid simply because they don’t think like that.
J: That’s why I took off half a star. Because, they never give up the viewpoint of beauty equating to goodness.
J: So, that’s the only issue I had with it. Everything else I really enjoyed. I’m hoping that in the next book they peel back some of the idea of beauty, women’s roles , and morality. I cannot wait to read it and see.
C: I’m so excited. I just want to buy it and read it.
E: That’s what I was going to do. I’m going to buy it and start reading it. It’s been something that is just staying on my mind. I haven’t been able to shake it.
C: Yes. I can’t stop think about it.
E: What sucks is that I know I”ll want to fly through it and I don’t like to marathon that stuff. Because, then after I finish I’m like, “Now what do I do?”
J: Yeah, I’m really excited.