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

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The School for Good and Evil

Author: Soman Chainani

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Publisher: Harper Collins

Date Published: May 14, 2013

Date Started: Jan. 1

Date Finished: Jan. 2

Rating: 2 stars (⭐⭐)

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

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.

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.


MY REVIEW:

Hi, Lovelies!

I’m back again for another review.

The School for Good and Evil is basically a tale of two girls, Sophie and Agatha, who gets kidnapped like all the other children before them and taken into the fabled school that trains kids to be heroes or villains. Every year, it’s always a pair that gets taken. One good and one evil. However, Sophie gets put into the School of Evil while Agatha is placed into the School of Good. They think it’s a mistake, but what if it wasn’t?

I first learned about this book from a friend of mine who only told me a little about it. The book is 488 pages long, written in multiple POVs. Has a deceptively charming cover, a fast-paced writing style, engaging dialogues and fairytale themes.

While the story is certainly promising, I wasn’t sold on the writing. There had been too many issues for me. One, I cannot keep up with the events in the story. There are times when the scenes change abruptly or too fast, and the author inserts plot twists that really don’t fit in, and you don’t know which character is saying which line anymore. It’s all very confusing. Add to that, the story is super LONG, so I would advise anyone attempting to read this book NOT to read it if you don’t have the patience.

On a positive note, I did like the absurdity and humor of this book. You can’t help but laugh along at Sophie’s notions of being ‘good’, Agatha’s exasperation, the silliness of their classes, and other ridiculous things that should annoy you but would entertain you instead. It was also interesting to see how Agatha and Sophie’s friendship would turn out, seeing as how different they are and the schools they were put in. Their friendship is mainly one of the reasons I continued reading and haven’t DNF’ed the book.

Overall, The School for Good and Evil makes a really entertaining read if not for the writing issues and unreasonable plot twists that I mentioned above. In fact, the whole time I was reading, it felt like I was watching a CARTOON instead of reading an actual book. At least this book IS really meant for children though I highly doubt that it actually sends the right message, since the girls here highly depend on boys and the concept ‘good and evil’ was taken too pettily.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my review! 

(I think I’ll be doing a book tag next time soon ’cause I miss doing ’em. 😉 Anyone care to recommend some?)

Later, lovelies!

ARC Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

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NOTEWORTHY

Author: Riley Redgate

Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary

Date Started: April 15, 2017

Date Finished: April 16, 2017

Rating: 4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

SYNOPSIS: (Goodreads)

It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

 

Blogger’s Note: Special thanks to Netgalley and Amulet Books for providing me an eARC of Noteworthy to review.

 

MY REVIEW: 

Anybody who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of Riley Redgate’s Seven Ways We Lie. So knowing about her latest upcoming novel Noteworthy, I didn’t hesitate to give it a try.

Basically, the story revolves around Chinese-American Jordan Sun who crossdresses her way into the school’s elite all-male a capella group The Sharpshooters. Yes, you heard that right. There is crossdressing involved. But not to worry since it’s actually the most fun part. Desperate move it might be, after being constantly rejected to play in musicals, Jordan is eager to prove herself worthy. When she joined the Sharpshooters, she never intended to get close with any of their members. But little by little, she gets to know each of them personally and becomes close to them anyway. On the other hand, pretending to be Julian Zhang had its consequences. As Jordan finds her place within the group, she also unravels a lot of things about herself that she never paused to consider before, things she liked and things she wanted the most.

It pleases me that despite the cross-dressing and LGBT aspect, I didn’t cringe. The cross-dressing bit is tricky so I was doubtful that the author could actually pull this part off, but again – Riley Redgate proved me wrong – it was handled pretty well. Plus, I also found Jordan’s slip-ups freaking hilarious.

As for the LGBT facet, it was hands-down amazing – one of the best LGBT books I’ve ever read in my life. A few characters in the story are either gay or bisexual, and some of them were actually my favorites. I’m not telling you which ones are which, but it’s safe to tell you at least that Jordan is one of them, though she hasn’t realized this until the middle part of the story.

I really felt for Jordan because in some ways I can relate to her. I think every girl (or guy) has at some point questioned their own sexual preferences. Even me. I admit that I’ve experienced girl-crushes before, but not to the point where I actually wanted to go out with one. Anyway, I really do appreciate the fact that the author portrayed Jordan’s bisexuality without being gross since most of the LGBT books I’ve encountered before were either very lewd or over-the-top inappropriate.

Aside from gays and bisexuals, this book has plenty of other diverse characters. Take The Sharpshooters members for example. We have the overly serious musical director Trav, the happy-go-lucky president Isaac, funny fat Mama whose real name is Theodore, the attractive but dyslexic Jon Cox, egalitarian Marcus and socially awkward Erik. Each character had their own issues and unique personality, but all together, they make a pretty great and fun team.

Also, the way the author explored the issues in this book? It was clear how much research Redgate put into this book, while at the same time managing to retain respect for her chosen genre.

Noteworthy truly did not disappoint. It’s highly fun, exciting, and recommended especially for lovers of Pitch Perfect, a capella and just music in general. If you’re looking for a good book with lots of diversity, music, assorted characters, multiple sexualities and just really great humor, then Noteworthy is the one for you.

P.S. Noteworthy is going to be released on May 2, which is only a week away from now, so fans need not wait any much longer! 🙂

Thank you for reading my review and see you lovelies ’til next time! ❤