Review: The School for Good and Evil


No, I haven’t gone completely crazy reading books for teenage girls. The official explanation for my interest is: one day I’d like to write a novel for young adults so I’m doing my research. Between you and I, I also occasionally enjoy this sort of a read.

“The School for Good and Evil” by Soman Chainani is certainly an interesting read. The book tells a story of friends, Sophie and Agatha. The girls are very different from one another, but they seem to get on well. Sophie dreams about becoming a princess, while Agatha just wants to be on her own. The lives of the girls will change when they’re both kidnapped to be educated in the School for Good and Evil. Will their friendship survive? You can find out from the book.

The novel creates a world in which nothing but fairy tales exist. Some students come straight from fairy tales, others from a village where they’re but readers of the stories. When you start your education, you are chosen for one of the schools, depending on your natural tendencies. The students of the school for Good (Evers) compete with the pupils of the school for Evil (Nevers). On the top of it, even within the schools the students compete with one another trying to become the best prince/princes or a villain. What’s good or bad isn’t as straightforward as some teachers would like it, though. The novel is certainly an introduction to moral ambiguity for young readers!

I really like the attempt to redefine fairy tales and there are many entertaining ideas in the book. It reads well and fast. I binged on it, even skipping my lunch TV watching! Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that it’s a great novel. It is a bit trashy, honestly. Apart from the two main characters, it is difficult to feel any attachment to the students. There are too many of them and they’re just not that well described. I felt like the author was leaving to much to my imagination in terms of both the characters and their environment. The descriptions of the fantasy world were mostly flat and even the action scenes were sometimes confusing. I often asked myself why? how? when? did this character appear? Needless to say, I’m not a teenage girl and as an experienced reader I should naturally struggle less. That’s precisely why I don’t see myself reading any more of these novels. Harry Potter and His Dark Materials still remain on my pedestal of fiction for young adults.

Do you indulge in reading teenage novels and/or watching movies for teenagers, Dear Rinser? What is you favorite childhood novel? 


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