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The School for Good and Evil

Review

The School for Good and Evil

Every four years, the School Master selects two students from Gavaldon, where all the children avidly follow fairy tales, to bring to his school. THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL by Soman Chainani takes place the year two girls, best friends, are chosen. Sophie and Agatha are polar opposites in the way you would expect good and evil to be. Sophie flounces around in fluffy pink dresses and performing princessy deeds while Agatha hides in drab black clothing and enjoys being alone with her cat. Sophie eagerly awaits the day she’ll be swept up by the School Master to learn how to be a princess before being placed into a fairy tale fit, quite literally, for a princess. On the other hand, Agatha knows she’s already doomed to a less than glamorous existence and has none of Sophie’s ambition.

"THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL is a fun and exciting read, incorporating elements of beloved fairy tales and putting a modern twist on others."

Swept away by the School Master, the two girls find themselves dumped in two schools located on the edge of the Endless Woods. To her complete shock, Sophie finds herself dumped in the School for Evil, among the other wannabe witches, villains and henchmen. At the other side of the divide, Agatha finds herself surrounded by preening, perfect-looking girls. Both girls think that clearly someone made a mistake. After much difficulty, they meet up, deciding that they need to see the School Master. Returning to their respective schools, they both discover there are more sinister forces at work. Agatha recognizes children from Gavaldon written into the stories, and some have less than happy endings. As both girls struggle to come to terms with their school placement, they discover that they may actually be more fitted to their respective schools than they think. Sophie and Agatha make a pact to escape and return home, but Sophie quickly loses sight of their common goal at the arrival of Prince Charming. The best friends soon find their friendship on shaky ground. It seemed, like the School Master had said, that good and evil could never remain friends.

THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL is a fun and exciting read, incorporating elements of beloved fairy tales and putting a modern twist on others. While Sophie is enamored with the idea of happily ever after, Agatha wants to forge her own path. She tries to save both her and her friend from the conniving motives of the School Master by getting them home safely. She scoffs at the idea of a class teaching the girls to save themselves from harm by talking to woodland creatures, wondering why they can’t learn to sword fight like the boys. She’s compassionate, worrying about the fates of others that her fellow Evers can’t seem to understand. THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL is mismatched and backwards, rewriting and retelling all the traditional elements of a fairy tale. Good and evil can’t be determined by appearances, nor can outward appearances mask true intentions. Good and evil aren't black and white. Good and evil can’t be clearly defined.

Reviewed by Ashley L. on July 2, 2013

The School for Good and Evil
by Soman Chainani

  • Publication Date: April 15, 2014
  • Genres: Youth Fiction
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 006210490X
  • ISBN-13: 9780062104908