The School for Good and Evil - Soman Chainani

tl;dr | ✭✭✭✭✭ | This book was a test of sorts for me, to see if I can still get into kids/mg books. And I most definitely can. I love, loved this story. It was fantastic! So well written, great characters, a great take a fairytale setup. Its definitely a new favorite. I would suggest it to everyone.

Description (from 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…?

Oh my goodness!! This story was FANTASTIC! Where to start? Ok the writing style. It was definitely written for a tween reader, so its an easy and fun read. The plot really makes you look at the attributes we assign to not only girls and boys, but also good and evil. Good guys are supposed to be pretty and muscular and strong, good girls are supposed to be primped and perfect and wait expectantly for their prince. Evil guys and girls are supposed to be dirty, ugly, smelly, and friendless. You can't have friends if your a Never, and Evers always have an abundance of friends and animal servants. Thats the general idea at the school for Good and Evil, anyways. You are sorted into a Never (evil) or an Ever (good), and from there you take classes teaching you how to talk to animals (evers), how to uglify yourself (nevers), how to swoon for your prince properly (evers), and how to use evil spells (nevers). Everything you could ever need to know to survive your own fairytale! 


Sophie very much looks like your average fairtyale princess. Long blonde hair, pink dresses, flawless skin. And she tries oh so hard to be good, she's even befriended the town witch's ugly daughter, Agatha. So when Sophie is taken, Agatha isn't about to let Sophie go without a fight. Agatha grabs on and is taken off to the school for Good and Evil, determined to get them both back home. But a mistake surely was made when Sophie ends up in the school for Evil, and Agatha sent to the school for Good. Holy cow, I've basically written up another description haven't I? 


So let me get to the actual review part. I'm sorry. So, Agatha and Sophie. Reading through this book, I feel as though we're supposed to hate Sophie. She's self centered, stubborn, shallow.... but the entire time, I absolutely adore her. I want her to be right, that there was a mixup. I want her to end up in the school for good. But Sophie in the school for Evil is an absolute treat. It really, really is. Agatha, no doubt, is supposed to be the girl we root for. And don't get me wrong, I do like Agatha. She is your typical wallow-y, insecure brooding girl. She thinks she's ugly, so of course she is. But she has a good heart, and she truly cares for Sophie and their friendship and its so sweet. I love their relationship, its such a great dynamic. 


And then theres pretty-boy Tedros. The prince of all princes. The love interest of all love interests. Of course Sophie would instantly want to be with the most handsome of all princes, and of course Agatha finds him infuriatingly annoying. You can't blame her, because like everyone else in the school for good, he treats Agatha poorly because she's ugly, dark, and looks like she should be in the school for Evil. Tedros was definitely an interesting character. The backstory between his mother and father made him a deeper character than I had originally anticipated, and it was enjoyable to see the play between Sophie, Tedros, and Agatha. 


This book had a great plot, great pacing, and was such a refreshing story. It was different, and built this absolutely fantastic world. I absolutely loved every moment of it.