Sunday, January 15, 2017

Reading Recap: The School for Good & Evil

It's my goal for 2017 to complete a book review for each book I finish.  It's been a while since I've done one of these, especially for other people to read!  So, without further ado, my first, of hopefully many, book report of 2017!

While on a trip to Asheville this summer, we wandered into a local indie bookstore, Malaprops Bookstore.    As I perused the writing and journaling section, the kids browsed the children's literature.  It was there, among the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Junie B. Jones books, that Sadie picked up a book neither of us had heard of before, The School for Good & Evil.  We both read the inside cover and thought the book seemed interesting, but we didn't actually pick it up that day.  She had a stack of Percy Jackson books on her bedside table, so I promised once she finished those, we would start The School series.

When we got home, I checked the prices on Amazon and saw that the book wasn't too recent, and thus, that it was available used for only a penny (a little psa - if you don't already buy used books on Amazon, you totally should!  just my opinion!!).  Anyway, I put the order in and a few weeks later we received the book.

I immediately took off the dust jacket, like I do for all of my books, and since Sadie was still working through Percy Jackson, I decided I'd read this book first.  So that's the story of how I ended up reading, and totally devouring, this middle grade fantasy.  Here's the run-down on my thoughts:

Quick Synopsis:

The School for Good & Evil is written by Soman Chainani.  It is set in a future fantasy world, the School for Good and Evil, where characters from all the major fairy tales come to learn to be either Good or Evil.  The main characters are two girls, Sophie and Agatha.  They are from the Woods Beyond, where, every four years, two children are taken in the middle of the night by the School Master to the School for Good & Evil.

For Sophie, being taken is a dream come true.  She is a princess through and through, and desires nothing more than to find her prince and live happliy ever after.  The Woods Beyond, Gavaldon as it's known to its residents, has no such princes or happy endings.  She has been awaiting her turn to be abducted for the entirety of her young life.

Agatha, on the other hand, is not at all interested in the School for Good and Evil.  In fact, Agatha does not even believe in fairy tales, nor does she understand why the entire town around her does.  She is not into boys, or pink, or happiness, it seems.  She lives, with her mother and cat, in a cemetry, mostly alone and okay with that.

Sophie, living up to the expectations of princesses, befriends Agatha.  Agatha is, for maybe the first time in her life, verging on happy.  She has a friend.  

The night comes when the School Master must select two children from Gavaldon to attend the School for Good and Evil.  After somewhat of a fight, both Sophie and Agatha are taken.  This is when the real story begins, for as soon as the girls arrive at the school, the nature of who they really are comes into question as Agatha, not Sophie, is deposited into the School for Good, while Sophie is sent to Evil.

The girls put up quite the fight.  Sophie to get into Good where she belongs, and Agatha, to get them both home to Gavaldon.  What ensues is a funny, yet sad, coming of age story, where the reader is both surprised by and rooting for each girl at different turns.

Favorite Quotes:



Closing Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book, as a parent, a fiction lover, and an aspiring YA author.  I found it interesting and funny, with themes which resonate with all regardless of age or background.  I will definitely be reading the next two books, and I'm looking forward to discussing this one with my girls as they read it, and getting their take on both the story and the meaning behind it.

What books have you read lately that you've enjoyed?  Leave me a message in the comments below.  I'd love to hear from you.

love + grace

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