Book Review of The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Posted February 27, 2014 by Kara in book review, Lyn / 8 Comments

Book Review of The School for Good and Evil by Soman ChainaniThe School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Series: The School for Good and Evil #1
Published by HarperCollins on May 14th, 2013
Genres: fantasy, young adult
Pages: 512
Buy on Amazon

At the School for Good and Evil, failing your fairy tale is not an option.Welcome to the School for Good and Evil, where best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.With her glass slippers and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she'll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks and wicked black cat, seems a natural fit for the villains in the School for Evil.The two girls soon 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 among 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 and Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

The School for Good and Evil sounded like Wicked for MG readers when I first ran across the book during a Waiting on Wednesday post a year ago. I had cover lust from the start.  When the reviews rolled out, the range of love and dislike were huge. I decided that I would take a chance on the book.

I have to say that the book wasn’t a terrible book, but it missed so many opportunities. You have two very different girls, and according to social standards, one is instantly labeled good, and one is called evil from the start.  Chainani kicks down the fairy tell stigma of beauty versus ugly, and self worth versus self projection. I like that the book took a chance and picked up on the trend in current media to change what we thought before about entitlement and true character value.

What Was Good

♪ Pink Sparkly Villain versus drab heroine. I love it. I was always angry when I was young that a majority of female heroes on TV were always attractive. As a non-attractive young teen, I always felt that these girls were unrelatable, and only a small percentage of girls could only be courageous and brave.

♪ I love books about school. I just so adore them.

♪ I like the debate between what you are and how you look.  Many companies *coughDisneycough* often face the fire of online criticism of depicting virginal, beautiful young girls and handsome and smooth male roles in their films and media. The tables are turned in this tale as the author urges the reader to look deeper, and it is inside, not outside, that determines if we are indeed good or bad.

♪ The cover is AWESOME.

What was Meh

♪ The main love interest, Tedros, the son of King Arthur, seemed cruel and clueless.  Seriously, he KICKS AN ANIMAL and his affection turns off and on light a lightswitch. I wanted to like him, and he is given a small, yet flimsy, backstory and the urge to be beloved for more than his looks. But it stops right there and nothing decent is ever done with the character.

♪ Way too much potty humor. Just…no.

♪ The story focused on the wrong girl. I was interested in Agatha, yet the story seemed so pro-Sophia. It really took the teeth right out of the novel. If the main point is that looks are deceiving, and what matters is who you are, not what you are, then the whole concept is tossed right out the window by focusing on a spoiled pretty brat instead of turning the attention on a girl who comes to believe that she is honestly good. However, on that note…

♪ Evil and Good are not black and white concepts. We’re all a little good and a little bad.

♪ The Evers (Good students) didn’t seem all that good to me. Gossip, backstabbing, and jealousy. I wasn’t sure that I even bought the whole “You’re soul is what makes you good and evil” if the Nevers (the Evil students) seemed more likable and relatable.

♪ The constant back and forth bickering and side-switching. I almost felt dizzy while reading this book.

♪ Sexualizing a 12 year old is so, so, so not okay.

♪ Not enough school. Too much repetition of the same dialog. The storyboard was everywhere. Above all, lackluster ending.



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This was a fun read, and towards the end, the book started to really become very endearing and well worth the read. The story was just clunky and it did attempt to break away from the norm, but then quietly slipped back into the cliche fairy tale genre quietly while your back was turned.

8 responses to “Book Review of The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

  1. I’ve tried to get into this book, like, 3 times, but just can’t seem to get past the first 15% or so. I do love the cover and think the premise sounds so interesting and cute. It seems like maybe I shouldn’t waste my time, though, especially since it’s a series. Great review!

  2. Amy

    It’s too bad that this one didn’t really work out well for you. I didn’t care for Sophie at all, but I did enjoy the story. I listened to this one on audio, and the narrator was fabulous. I may not have liked it as much had I read it myself. I have the second one for review and am excited for it, but I am worried that I won’t get into it as well not on audio. Perhaps I will get the audio for review for it. *fingers crossed*

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