Book Review: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Title: The School for Good and Evil (Book 1)
Author: Soman Chainani
Published: 2014
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Synopsis: 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?

My Rating: red-starred-starred-starred-star 1/2

Don’t you just love when you start reading a book on a whim and it turns out to be utterly fantastic? That’s what happened here! This is a case of not judging a book by its cover and also going in knowing full well that you’re reading middle grade which for me is an added bonus.

I’ve not read a story that was immersing in its fantasy elements since I would say Harry Potter. This story, at heart, is about the friendship between two girls. Sophie, the beautiful pink-loving princess wanna be and her bff Agatha with the pasty skin who lives in a graveyard and hates love. The girls live in a sort of enchanted village were every year a child is chosen by a Schoolmaster for The School of Good and Evil. One child is good and eventually becomes a princess/prince the other is bad and becomes a villain. Sophie has dreamed all of her life in attending the School of Good and getting her own fairy tale story. This book is uproariously funny, especially Sophie who steals nearly scene acting very much like this:

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There’s so much tongue-in-cheek moments that I’m pretty sure only older teens and adults could every get these references which of course made it all the more enjoyable to read. Agatha despite being smart, loyal and loving her best friend above everything in the world has some serious self-esteem issues.

The twist comes in the first chapter when Agatha is chosen for the School of Good and Sophie for the School of Evil. Throw in a charming dashing prince, some mean girls in both sides of the schools and you have a solid adventure book that makes it very easy to fall in love with. The world-building is pretty straight forward as in Harry Potter, our book takes place in the school. We have teachers and classes and contests, very Hogwart-esque but for Villainy and Chivalry. And impromptu sword-fights that apparently resolve everything once again done in a very humorous way. I think I laughed each time Tedros’ shirt billowed.

About 35% in the book and I went ahead and purchased it (I heard it on audio) along with the rest of the books in the trilogy. I am so impressed by Chainani’s story telling that I cannot wait to read more and see where he takes the story. Such a great book for anyone over 11 and I cannot say this enough but this needs to be made into an awesome movie.

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