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The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil is a middle grade fantasy novel by Soman Chainani.

And oh my gosh it is sooooooooooooo good!!!!!!

In the village of Gavaldon, it has become an accepted truth that once every four years two children are kidnapped – only to appear in mysteriously delivered fairytale books later on. Their faces are clearly seen in the illustrations – some the heroes, some the villains.

Of course, many an adult has tried to resist such a ridiculous idea. Yet it is difficult to deny that it seems these children are being taken to be featured in new fairytales.

Sophie, the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, is ready when the next four-year mark comes. She is prepared to be a princess, marry a prince and continue to wear as much as pink as she can.

Her best friend, Agatha, isn’t too thrilled at the idea though. Not only does she think the idea of being whisked away to a fairytale is ridiculous – she doesn’t want to lose Sophie. With her off putting, antisocial personality, home in the cemetery and pet cat who hates everyone – she certainly knows she wouldn’t be taken along with Sophie – nor could she probably find another friend if Sophie is taken.

But when the time comes, both Sophie and Agatha find themselves at the fabled School for Good and Evil. And when Agatha is dropped in the School for Good and Sophie in the School for Evil, everything they think they know seems reversed.

Sophie is desperate to get to the School for Good, whereas Agatha is just desperate to get them both home. What they will learn, however, is the only way to get anywhere is to live through their own fairytale…


It’s not as clear from the premise I typed up as I’d like it to be, but The School for Good and Evil extraordinarily original.

With strong world building, Soman Chainani has weaved a story that creates a school to, essentially, teach children to become princes, princesses, witches and villains. Based on your looks and demeanor, it seems, you are plopped into a school and from there you reach your destiny.

Or do you? Can your looks and demeanor truly judge what you should be? Have you no chance to change? To be gray, instead of black or white?

For a “middle grade” novel, The School for Good and Evil presents some very mature questions!

I absolutely adored the twist to the fairytales. From beginning to end, this book is extremely inventive, fun and creative. We get fascinating classes – such as Beautification, Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication for the princesses and Uglification, Henchmen Training and Curses & Death Traps for the villains – to follow and a glorious myriad of unexpected twists!

On top of all of this, we also get characters that are funny and ridiculous, but also heartfelt. The School for Good and Evil, many times, made my heart hurt. It also made me smile with quick turns of wit and flat-out excellent writing.

It’s hard to express how much this book excited me! One other indicator: I immediately ordered book two on, as well as pre-ordering the third and final.



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