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School of Fear

(School of Fear #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  8,071 ratings  ·  783 reviews
Everyone is afraid of something...

Madeleine Masterson is deathly afraid of bugs, especially spiders.

Theodore Bartholomew is petrified of dying.

Lulu Punchalower is scared of confined spaces.

Garrison Feldman is terrified of deep water.

With very few options left, the parents of these four twelve year-olds send them to the highly elusive and exclusive School of Fear to hel
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published March 9th 1999)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  8,071 ratings  ·  783 reviews

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Reading Vacation
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing

I can describe School of Fear in one word….wait for it….QUIRKY! I bet you thought I was going to say spooky or scary or phobias or fearful. It has those too, but it’s mostly quirky. And I really like quirky.

The four main characters are children with serious phobias. So serious, in fact, that their parents have sent them to the School of Fear to be cured. My favorite character was Madeleine She was smart and soft-spoken, but she also had a major fear of bugs – especially spiders. I can rela
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
This came to my attention when it got mentioned in a group I'm in, and it looked like something I might like. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work for me.

It starts by introducing us - at length - to the four main characters and their fears. First we see them individually, and then as they start to come together. But this extended intro doesn't really add anything new, it's just the same sort of introductions to their phobia-induced quirks over and over again.

We finally get to the school and meet
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children
For me, the best part of this book was the page before each new chapter where the author gave the name and basic description of different fears. The characters were annoying. The plot was predictable.

I'll end up using it in my second grade classroom to show students that even as an adult, sometimes we have to sound out l-o-n-g words (the different phobias).

Since that was my favorite part, I'll put those in here to save you the time from reading the rest of the book yourself...

Mottephobia is the
Jun 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: funny, creepyish, j, mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a funny, offbeat book for middle grade students with an intriguing premise: four 12-year-olds go to the School of Fear one summer to overcome their phobias. Madeleine Masterson comes from England with a fear of bugs and spiders; Theodore Bartholomew is afraid of dying (and endearingly annoying); Lulu Punchalower is claustrophobic and mean; and Garrison Feldman, athlete extraordinaire, from Miami is afraid of large bodies of water. Eccentric former beauty pagent contestant, Mrs. Wellingto ...more
Paul Eckert
Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
School of Fear is the story of four kids trying to conquer their fears by enrolling in an exclusive, hush-hush summer program in Massachusetts called…the School of Fear. The only way to attend is by getting a recommendation from a therapist who is in the know about the school. Everyone who knows about it swears by its results.

The four kids in question are Theo, who is afraid of dying, Madeline who is afraid of spiders and insects, Lulu who is claustrophobic and afraid of heights, and Garrison,
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had this book in one of my piles for a while now, as my mom picked it up because it looked interesting.

While it was indeed interesting, and had a fun concept, it was predictable, in my opinion, and I didn't find it a new plot line. I personally wished they had played up on the actual fears though, as it seemed they were rather untouched throughout the entirety of the book.

The style and illustrations heavily reminded me of The Benedict Society. It was similar in ways, though I feel School of F
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is very interesting and I liked it very much. I liked how is was funny and creative and unique. It showed all the characters thoughts. It did, although, have some more dull parts that made you just want to skim through to get to the interesting part. I really enjoyed how they described the characters and made them very unique. It is definitely one of the more unique books I have read, and I like that. I have read the second book, and (Spoiler-ish) (not really) in my opinion, it is a li ...more
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Humorous, well written, twisty novel that left me wanting another semester!
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I liked this book in its oddness. It had an anti-trope feel in its setting, perhaps 'noir'? not sure what that genre is, similar to Series of Unfortunate Events. It was over-the-top in just about everything except the fears, from the parents' indulgence and inconvenience to settings and the school itself. A bit of a disservice but kept everything on the same canvas. Despite being about getting rid of fears, and how they can be normalized or problematic, I did not get the sense they were at all b ...more
Murf Reeves
Jul 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I decided to downsize the books in my house. I have been paring down and reading and came to several of my daughter's books. I read a lot of nonfiction so this was a nice change. A quick journey with Gitty DAneshvari. All four of the students have epic phobias and The School of Fear and her headmistress Miss Wellington will fix the phobias right quick. A fun read with, a lot of laughs especially in the second half of the book as the students must rely on each other if they are to graduate!
Eileen W
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
We got this from our neighborhood Little Lending Library (those are so fun!). I read it out loud to some of my kids, ages 12-6. They enjoyed it.
Quincy Sorrentino
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought that the book was interesting but the story I could see from about halfway through the book.
Ally Christensen
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
i forgot i read this book! thanks for reminding me bekah!!! I still need to read the other ones though!!!!!
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it

What are you afraid of?
It may be spiders, death, confined spaces, or even large areas of water?
Whatever it is just remember, everyone is afraid of something.

The cover and name of School of Fear, by Gitty Daneshvari, makes the book look scary and serious. But before I was finished with the first page I knew it was a carefree, silly book. There is a wide range of characters from the normal, sports loving Garrison Feldman to the odd, brainiac Madeleine Masterson.

Meet the thoughtful, strange Madel
Jan 15, 2015 rated it liked it
What I liked:
-The story was OK. (I wasn't that interested in it.)
-The author would put the name of the fear then, define what the fear was.
What I didn't like:
-So many details not needed. (Could've been simplified by a lot.)
-Didn't hook me at all. (I only read this book for the sake of A.R.)
I would probably read the 3rd book. I thought the 2nd book was good. The 1st was kind of boring. (I read the books out of order... I read the 2nd one first.)

This book is basically about 4 kids with fe
Oct 24, 2015 rated it liked it
If you cross The Mysterious Benedict Society with the movie "Sunset Boulevard," adding the concept of a school for overcoming fears, you might have a good idea about School of Fear.

Now, there is a definite similarity to The Mysterious Benedict Society in the quirky and humorous writing style, in the strange and implausibly designed world, and in the population of peculiar and eccentric characters. School of Fear lacks a certain coziness that The Mysterious Benedict Society holds, as one might gu
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

Do you have any irrational fears? Do you wish to get rid of them?

This summer, four twelve year olds - Madeleine, Theo, Lulu, and Garrison - will be forced by their parents to go to the School of Fear and see if they can do just that.

This elite, private boarding school is full of gloominess and lanterns that hang from rusty old chains. The inhabitants spend endless hours of learning proper smiling and waving with their former beauty pageant contestant princi
Daveisha Thomas
Oct 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Title: School of Fear
Author: Gitty Daneshvari

This book was about 4 kids Madeleine Masterson, Theodore Bartholomew, Lulu Punchalow, and Garrison. Every one is afraid of something. School of Fear is to help them overcome their fears. But when their peculiar teacher Mrs.Wellington and her unconventional teaching methods turn out to be more frightening then ever. Their fears the four some realize that this just may be the scariest summer of their lives.

I gave this book a 3 stars because. I liked the
Feb 03, 2013 rated it liked it
While I am twelve years old, like the children character's in the book, i found this book to be very immature. I liked it though. One word you could use to describe this book is predictable. When the children went on an adventure (won't put spoilers in here), I had already guessed the ending. And I was right. It didn't come as a surprise to me when what I figured out/ guessed happened. It was okay overall. Coming from one pre-teen to another, this book is definietly for ten years and under. I t ...more
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Madeleine Masterson, Garrison Feldman, Lulu Punchalower, and Theo Bartholomew are all completely petrified of one thing after another and fear is ruining their lives. That is until the fearsome foursome meet Mrs. Wellington, the psychopathic woman who is vain, insane, and possibly the only solution for fear this world has ever known. Schmidty, the kindly yet blind and obese house keeper, Macaroni, the lovable bulldog, and their phobias are the only things keeping them at Summer Stone, Mrs. Welli ...more
Anita Nyberg
Apr 07, 2016 rated it liked it
In "School of Fear" by Gitty Daneshvari, Madeleine, Lulu, Theo, and Garrison all have intense, irrational fears. They are sent to the secretive, exclusive School of Fear summer camp to receive help to get over their phobias. However, something goes wrong and the four preteens have to work together and face their fears, with no adults, to do the right thing. But all along, it was just the teacher, Mrs. Wellington, tricking them so they would get over their fears. I thought this book was really ad ...more
Dec 07, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is about four kids with catastrophic fears go to a training school, hoping that they get over them. I don't really like this book because a it takes so long to get to the point. I'm half way threw and they still aren't at the school. All the kids are scared to go because they don't know what it is going to be like. I remember when it was my first day of kindergarten, I was nervous that I would go to the principals office and get in trouble. My friends were nervous too, but we all walke ...more
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It was about a group of kids that all have major phobias of something. One character I could relate to was Madeline, who had a fear of bugs, and I wouldn't blame her, bugs are very scary! The phobias of these kids are bad. So bad that their parents sent them away for the summer to cure them.

I love this book because its quirky and fun. The book had me laughing at Mrs.Wellington's teaching methods. They sounded unusual. The book itself is a really good one and it was a

Aug 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a very easy read. It was similar to some of Lemony Snicket's stuff, but it was less depressing than Snicket's writings. It was an interesting story and at the beginning of each chapter there was the name of a phobia and what it meant. I enjoy learning words that are uncommon, so this made the book more enjoyable. I felt it ended abruptly. This might have been because, supposedly this is only the first book in a 4 or 5 book series. I would be willing to read the next one. If you enjoyed ...more
Sep 29, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I can't say I truly read it, but I can say I gave it a very concerted effort.

My 8yo daughter read it and then lent me the book. Since I'd seen it at the library and was interested in it then, I thought I'd go for it. I tried for over 100 pages but the pacing was all off and I didn't care a lick about the characters. I felt that the writer was trying to write like someone else, although I'm not sure who, and it did not come across very genuine.

It's important to note that my 8yo, with an independe
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
School of Fear is about four young kids who have "Big Fears" .Madeleine,Garrison,Lulu, and Theo all meet at one point of the book.The children are waiting to see what horrid place they will see very soon.What fear's do they have?Wait and see in the book "School of Fear".
I like this book because I have some fears that are in this book.i rate this book 4 stars.This is not a scary book if you were wondering.If you like funny and "scary" books then read School of Fear.I reccomend this book to Mrs.Sp
May 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
Reading the galley. It could just be me but I lost interest in the middle. I say it could just be me because I put the book down at some point and with me that's the kiss of death. I had really enjoyed the beginning though so I picked it up this morning and basically read the last few chapters. This book is filled with some odd characters and scenarios, some of which are really really funny. I think I will give it to a kid and see what they have to say.
Jun 17, 2011 rated it liked it
This was so sweet and so much fun. A cross between Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman with a twist of Lemony Snicket. While the story is set in America, there is something very English about the precise, descriptive writing and the sense of humor. If you are trying to boost your child's vocabulary, I highly recommend this one. Oh! and I almost forgot to mention the illustrations -- those made the book for me! ...more
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Gitty Daneshvari was born in Los Angeles to an Iranian father and an American mother. As a child she talked incessantly, feeling the need to comment on everything around her. While at first charmed by her verbose nature, her family soon tired of the constant commenting. This is how she found writing — it was better than talking since she didn't even need anyone else to do it with.

She currently liv

Other books in the series

School of Fear (3 books)
  • Class is Not Dismissed! (School of Fear, #2)
  • The Final Exam (School of Fear, #3)

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