Reviews for School for Good and Evil


Booklist Reviews 2013 May #2
With overtones of Wicked, and shaped by the world of fairy tales, comes this story of two girls plucked from their village to attend the School for Good and Evil. Pretty (on the outside) Sophie has been hoping for the schoolmaster to take her to a place where she'll become the princess she always imagined herself to be. Homely loner Agatha is the other chosen girl, someone Sophie befriended in an effort to show off her "goodness." But their arrival at school leads to a shock, with Agatha placed with the Evers (as in happily ever after) and a distraught Sophie stuck with the creepy Nevers. So begins a tale that sees both girls fighting their fates--and at times each other--as they search for an ending that will encompass all that they are and what they've learned during their Grimm adventures. The terrific cover will draw readers in, the premise is a winner, and both Sophie and Agatha are strong characters. However, this is sometimes overwritten and repetitive, dragging the narrative down in places. But those who like their fantasy laced with fairy tale will surely enjoy it. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Best friends, princess-wannabe Sophie and witch-y Agatha, are kidnapped from their homes in Gavaldon and wrongly placed (or is it?) in the School for Evil and the School for Good, respectively. After subverting several fairy-tale tropes, the girls must combine forces. Chainani's characters are close to stereotypes, but the theme that everyone harbors good and evil is strong.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 April #2
Chainani works an elaborate sea change akin to Gregory Maguire's Wicked (1995), though he leaves the waters muddied. Every four years, two children, one regarded as particularly nice and the other particularly nasty, are snatched from the village of Gavaldon by the shadowy School Master to attend the divided titular school. Those who survive to graduate become major or minor characters in fairy tales. When it happens to sweet, Disney princess–like Sophie and her friend Agatha, plain of features, sour of disposition and low of self-esteem, they are both horrified to discover that they've been dropped not where they expect but at Evil and at Good respectively. Gradually--too gradually, as the author strings out hundreds of pages of Hogwarts-style pranks, classroom mishaps and competitions both academic and romantic--it becomes clear that the placement wasn't a mistake at all. Growing into their true natures amid revelations and marked physical changes, the two spark escalating rivalry between the wings of the school. This leads up to a vicious climactic fight that sees Good and Evil repeatedly switching sides. At this point, readers are likely to feel suddenly left behind, as, thanks to summary deus ex machina resolutions, everything turns out swell(ish). Rich and strange (and kitted out with an eye-catching cover), but stronger in the set pieces than the internal logic. (Fantasy. 11-13) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 June #3

At first glance, Chainani's debut appears to resemble the trend-following herd. There's the secret school that sorts its students into apparently predestined categories, courtesy of J.K. Rowling. There's the knowing, slightly shocking narration, full of farts and greasy hair, borrowed from Roald Dahl via Lemony Snicket. But Chainani's story gradually takes on dimension. Sophie and Agatha are plucked from their hometown of Gavaldon, where children are voracious readers of fairy tales. A skeletal bird drops them at the School for Good and Evil, populated by the living embodiments of these tales--princesses, princes, and villains in training. The girls soon discover, however, that these fledgling stereotypes have never read the stories. Sophie and Agatha are the only "Readers" in their class--shunned, mocked, but also feared. While the notion that conventions of good and evil don't tell the whole truth is hardly new, exploring the middle ground moves Chainani's novel out of its own ruts and, in the process, shows readers a hyperactively imaginative way to leave black-and-white thinking behind. Ages 8-12. Agent: Jane Startz, Jane Startz Productions. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

At first glance, Chainani's debut appears to resemble the trend-following herd. There's the secret school that sorts its students into apparently predestined categories, courtesy of J.K. Rowling. There's the knowing, slightly shocking narration, full of farts and greasy hair, borrowed from Roald Dahl via Lemony Snicket. But Chainani's story gradually takes on dimension. Sophie and Agatha are plucked from their hometown of Gavaldon, where children are voracious readers of fairy tales. A skeletal bird drops them at the School for Good and Evil, populated by the living embodiments of these tales--princesses, princes, and villains in training. The girls soon discover, however, that these fledgling stereotypes have never read the stories. Sophie and Agatha are the only "Readers" in their class--shunned, mocked, but also feared. While the notion that conventions of good and evil don't tell the whole truth is hardly new, exploring the middle ground moves Chainani's novel out of its own ruts and, in the process, shows readers a hyperactively imaginative way to leave black-and-white thinking behind. Ages 8-12. Agent: Jane Startz, Jane Startz Productions. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 June

Gr 5-8--Every four years in the village of Gavaldon, two children are stolen away by a mysterious person known only as the Schoolmaster. These children become students at the School for Good and Evil. One will be taught the ways of goodness, honor, and beauty; the other will be instructed in the ways of darkness and villainy. Twelve-year-old Sophie just knows she's destined to be picked for the school of Good this year, and can't wait to assume the role of a princess and meet her Prince Charming. Her best friend, Agatha, is surely villain material with her dumpy looks, black clothes, and dour demeanor. So how is it that Sophie winds up in the School for Evil and Agatha the School for Good? Now both girls must work to succeed in their new roles or face dire consequences. The girls' friendship will be put to the test in ways they never imagined. This debut fantasy will attract sophisticated readers with a love of fairy tales, particularly the dark side of them. Despite some redundant scenes and pacing issues, there's plenty of action and emotion to keep an audience well entertained. Fans of Adam Gidwitz's A Tale Dark and Grimm (Dutton, 2010) and Shannon and Dean Hale's graphic novel Rapunzel's Revenge (Bloomsbury, 2008) will be swept along in this wild story of good, evil, and two friends caught in between.--Stephanie Whelan, New York Public Library

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