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The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil
Soman Chainani
HarperCollins, 2013
Source: Library
Audience: Older Children

From Goodreads:
This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

Well The School for Good and Evil sounded like it would be perfect for me.

I was so excited to read it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like it.

What really turned me off was the mentioning of suicide. It came up twice, and it really bothered me. One character suggested to another that s/he (I don’t remember which) commit suicide and it was never addressed as being potentially harmful to someone. As a matter of fact, the whole story revolved around bullying, but lessons weren’t explained in the writing. No one corrected evil behavior or explained potential consequences in any way. Nothing in thoughts or dialogues, or even “what ifs” from the narrator. Even the shallow “good” characters never truly addressed evil behavior alternatives. Overall, character development was slow and thinly written, adding to my dislike of the book. Adventure and bathroom humor were well-done, but it wasn’t enough to keep this adult’s attention and it made me worried that if children read this book, they would think it was ok to tell someone to go kill themselves because they were ugly.

All of these problems may have been fixed by the end of the book, but it completely lost me after the second suicide comment, and I will never know.