by Soman Chainani
Audience/Genre: MG/YA Fantasy/Fairytales
Publication Date: May 14, 2013 by HarperCollins
Rating: 4 out of 5
THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL is a twist on what we know about the fight for good and evil. Despite its main characters being twelve, much of the content and language reads like it is more suitable for an older teenage audience. Chainani's book reminded me of HARRY POTTER, but much much darker.
**If you are a parent, I advise reading the book first before giving it to anyone who is under 12 years old.**
In a village Beyond the Woods, lives two friends named Sophie and Agatha. The girls are complete opposites. While Sophie is beautiful, Agatha is ugly. But appearances aren't everything when the School Master visits their village to take two children to his School for Good and Evil.
Sophie goes with the School Master willingly while Agatha does everything in her power to rescue her only friend. Repeat this sequence about fifty more times and that is the overall arc of the book. When arriving, Sophie had her heart set on becoming a princess in the School for Good. Instead she gets plopped into the School for Evil to become a witch. Ugly Agatha, on the other hand, begins her training in the School for Good to become a princess. Neither girl is happy with their circumstances and try to take fate into their own hands, only to realize there are mightier powers at hand controlling their destinies.
I like that this book explores lives beyond the popular Disney tales. THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL leans more on the darker side, even though one of the schools has classrooms made of candy. Chainani raises the question of defining what makes someone good and what makes someone evil. At the end of this fabulous journey, readers will learn that it's not as simple as calling someone good or evil. The story reminds us that even fairytale characters are human, capable of good and evil acts and it is not who you are that defines you, but what you do.
I know I'm late to the party, reading this book almost three years after it was released, but I will say, while it borders HARRY POTTER look alike in setting and content, it transported me back to my twelve year old self, when the world was an endless expanse of possibility. And not many books do that.
Highly recommend for adults and teens!