The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani, is a fantasy book with a unique twist on the classic fairy tales by Brothers Grimm.
Sophie and Agatha live in Gavaldon, they’re best friends, but they couldn’t be more clashing from the inside out and in demeanor and personality.
Sophie; a fanatic worshipper of pink, dresses, beauty accessories, and all things girly, likes doing good deeds (or so she thinks). Her well-known desire centers around being kidnapped by the mysterious School Master that visits the village every year to kidnap children to take to the Schools of Good and Evil. At the schools, she envisions herself in pink at Good, excelling in school and at last graduating a fairy-tale princess with a handsome prince–happily ever after in a white castle.
On the other hand, Agatha is an outcast in society and is regarded as “the witch’s daughter” or “the freak”, she dresses in all black and is rarely friendly. She’s content with her life in a graveyard, with her mother and black cat, Reaper. Everyone in Gavadon avoided her or taunted her and even went to measures to make sure their children and pets avoid her. Hardly anybody likes her.
When the School Master strikes again that year, Sophie and Agatha find themselves the kidnapped children. Both expect that they know where they’ll go: pink with Good; black with Evil.
But when Agatha finds herself dropped into pink mist by the bony Stymph birds and Sophie discovers herself left in a swampy moat, their expectations are reversed. All Agatha wants is to go home. She despises her frilly, shallow classmates and tries at once to find Sophie.
Sophie has her hopes set on switching schools with Agatha. The dirty, unfashionable Nevers of Evil is not where she thinks she belongs. With classes like Uglification and Henchmen Training, she’s absolutely certain that she belongs among the gorgeous Ever girls and boys.
The moment Agatha finds a way to force her way onto Evil’s grounds, she begins to frantically search for Sophie wanting nothing, but to go home and escape the horrible schools. Her pleas are thrown out the window with extreme disregard by Sophie however who immediately ignores Agatha’s idea and with force tries to make Agatha switch schools with her by changing uniforms.
When their uniform magically change back to their wearer’s real school, Sophie becomes frustrated and refuses to give up her dream. Although Agatha stays true to her desire to be back at home and as loyal a friend as ever to Sophie no matter how selfish Sophie was.
As their time at the Good and Evil progresses, their wishes and desires begin to reflect on who they really are. And their choices on who they really are…not from the exterior, but from the interior and who the villain really is.
I loved this book because of the creative license used to retell the classic fairytales and the irony between the two characters. I also liked Agatha’s character who was really loyal, kind, smart, sarcastic, and funny (“Hate at first sight. Now that was believable”.)
Rating: Read it!
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