The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.
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.
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…?
Best Bits: Oh SfGaE, how I love thee. I know that I shouldn't, but I have a grocery list for things that I love in YA books. Your standard YA book usually has one or two items checked off, but this one seems to have it all: strong female characters (that don't fit into typical good/bad roles, despite what the title implies), a fairytale aspect, a focus on friendship (and a potential for interesting romances in books to come), and a big surprise at the end that I genuinely didn't see coming...it was a glorious read. The world-building was impressive, too. Due to the opposing natures of Agatha and Sophie, we get to see exactly what the differences are between the two schools. The courses are imaginative "Beautification" vs "Uglification", and they even have a class where the two school mix. Amazing drama ensues.
With the hours that I work I find that I get into reading slumps more frequently than I used to. This book, however, really motivated me. I found time each day to read, and it felt like a treat to myself. Plus, indulging myself in a good book is probably a bit better than eating all that Halloween candy that is left over.
Nit Picks: I'm at a loss for this one. It's been a while since I read this one, yet I still can't think of any issues with it. It even has a believable reason for insta-love...I just can't, it's too good!
Chainani has created a world with characters to root for, and I can't wait for more!
The School for Good and Evil
By Soman Chainani
Published by HarperCollins