The School for Good and Evil

By Soman Chainani

review by: SuddenButInevitable

school-of-good-and-evil

Age: Young Adult (could be appropriate for some middle schoolers, but it’s THICK.)
Series: 1 of 3
Contains: fairytale violence?

She did the fist thing she though of and delivered a swift, loud fart.

Book-a-likes: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
with a dash of (tv-a-likes): Ouran High School Host Club, Mean Girls, Winx, and Johnny Lingo (What you don’t know Johnny Lingo?  You didn’t grow up Mormon.  I’ll be an 8 cow wife…)
Lovelies!  I really love a good book.  I do, I promise.  I hoped this would be one.  Both BrontoIncognito and StegasaurusWilde loved this book.  Raved about it so much in fact that I stole it off of BI’s shelf the last time I visited and then dove right in.  I tried to love it.  I really did.  I just…. I couldn’t.

Agatha and Sophie are polar opposites.  Sophie is Charlotte LeBouf from Princess and the Frog.  Agatha is every goth kid ever.  So when Agatha gets kidnapped and sent to the School for Good, and Sophie gets sent to the School for Evil, they realize there must have been a mistake.  But plans are in motion, my lovelies, plans are in motion and they’ve been sent where they need to be.

So, first, let me say, I enjoy Agatha being written the way she is.  She’s unpopular, she abhors mirrors, she does the wrong thing at the wrong time.  She’s looked down upon by everyone in town as a weirdo, so she’s like whatevs, I’ll just live in my house in the graveyard and try not to inflict myself upon the townspeople.  I CAN RELATE TO THAT.  There’s some really big self-esteem issues going on with Agatha that I totally understand.

Sophie, on the other hand, is what I imagined every pretty girl to be.  Shallow and even when “helping” has an ulterior motive.  The girl who does things because it makes herself look good in front of other people.

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I frequently got these two characters confused because I kept thinking of Princess Sophia every time I read Sophie’s name, and Princesses are Good so I would think that Sophie was in the good school when she wasn’t and it threw me off.

We get this weird dichotomy in the book where the Sophie’s evil roommates are super helpful (while still trying to be evil) and Agatha’s entire school makes fun of her (and her roommates move out so they don’t have to be in her presence).  This is a school for good and it’s even stated by one of the teachers how the girls are shallow and care more about their waistlines than helping others.  And then it comes out that only the best girls get to graduate to princesses and the rest of them get to be the kindly helper animals and hope that they die for a princess?  That’s messed up.  Seriously.

I just…. I got mad at this book.  Because, surprise!  It’s one of my hated tropes.  Girl who doesn’t think she’s pretty is pretty and it helps her win the day!  Because only pretty girls can be good.  Heaven forbid they are fat or had warts.  (I’m a little bitter, as a child I had warts and suffered bullying in school because of it) Why not play against this stereotype?  This book makes you think it does, but nope.  Nooooope.

So, I tried.  And then I just gave up and started writing snide notes to myself.  So here are my notes. Again, if I can pull myself out of a book to write snide comments?  You aren’t keeping my attention and this is not a page-turning book.

  • Evers have their lunch packed by those annoying Pinterest Moms who start the school year spending ages making their kid anything but a PB&J.
  • Could the answer to the riddle be friendship?  Then I thought maybe love?  Now?  Totally Happy Endings. Riddle solved, 201 pages in.
  • Oooooh, So close.  True Love’s Kiss.  Because we need a man to complete us.
  • So, we’re going with the standard shortest dress wins the day?  I don’t know why I’m even surprised.
  • Every time the book mentions sword, I think of something else. That something else is Captain Hammers “and these *holds up fists* are not the hammer”

captain hammer.gif

  • Argh.  The stereotypes.
  • It’s just… everyone is so one dimensional.
  • if only everyone was beautiful… it’s just… you can’t say these Never girls enjoy getting wart stickers as rewards and then 2 chapters later have the same girls worried about which blemish cream they should be using
  • Gag me with a spoon
  • Bipolar much, Sophie?
  • Queue another for the “I’ve been beautiful all along” cliche.

That’s where my bullet points stopped.  It got mildly (the most mild of mildest) more interesting as it was winding up, but like every character would say one thing and then in the next paragraph do something totally different.  (I love you Agatha!  I can’t love you, you can’t be my true love, you aren’t beautiful.  I just ask you to trust me!  No, I’m a man, I have to protect my princess, you wouldn’t ask me to stand by, that’s not very manly….)I hesitate to say there wasn’t any character development, because there (sort of?) was.  But it was the worst of fence sitting. Sometimes development moved forward 1 step only to take 2 steps back.

Have you read this book?  Do you want to fight me on my opinions?  I look forward to the debate.

–SuddenButInevitable

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And don’t forget to check out some of my other reviews!!

lady midnight                           lost

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