Tabitha's Reviews > The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
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it was amazing
bookshelves: middlegrade, own, harpercollins, fairy-tale, arc, for-review-received-from-publisher, magic, fantasy, favorites
Recommended for: Everyone! Lovers of Fairytales
Read 4 times. Last read May 12, 2013 to May 14, 2013.


Prepare for a breaking of the heart, twisting of the spirit and warping of any illusions you have about Good and Evil!

Read my Interview with the Author @ Not Yet Read and see the FanArt Dolls my sister made!

The School for Good and Evil, it sounds like a light breezy read doesn't it? What it really is *flabbergasted for the right word* is well, downright MAGNIFICENT! I haven't loved a book so much in a very long time, and I devour books like a maniac. It literally went above and beyond any expectation I could have conceived for it. I picked it up thinking: "This will be quite the fluffy fairytale," but was blown away because it was nothing of the kind.

Lets begin with the description: I love that it tells you exactly what The School for Good and Evil is about without giving even an inkling of just how this tale is going to be delivered. This is a book that can definitely be enjoyed by fairy tale lovers of all ages. Especially if you don't mind your fairy tales having a bit of a dark side. Not too dark mind you but just the right amount. Yes JUST RIGHT!!

There are wonderful comic moments, that I couldn't help but smirk at. I felt like the author was making fun of so many things and it tickled me pink to no end. However, there are some moments that tightened my chest and throat. You know what I'm talking about, that's right when you are biting back the tears. I'm not normally a crier...I'm a laugh-er. So I don't think I can explain well enough why this book touched me so much. Also, it is full of illustrations! At least one for the start of each chapter. These added the perfect storybook touch.

What surprised and absolutely delighted me was how much I loved all of the characters. I grew attached to all of them! From main, to sidekicks, to little supplemental characters. They were all given realism and depth of character that made each unique and memorable. My favorite is Hort...you'll hear me gush about him again. *smirk*

I was captured immediately by the wry sense of humor one of the main characters Agatha possessed. She looks like your typical fairy tale witch but somehow ends up in the School for Good! As you can see from the quote below. She is a snappy girl and I couldn't help but love her.

"Graveyards have their benefits," Agatha said. "No nosy neighbors. No drop-in salesmen. No fishy 'friends' bearing face masks and diet cookies, telling you you're going to Evil School in Magic Fairy Land."


Soman Chainani writes characters that we can see reflected back in ourselves. These are the children that we once were, or hey for those young readers, perhaps who they still are. I think he was delving deep trying to get his readers to challenge those childhood tropes of Good and Evil. Are you beautiful with flawless skin and impeccable clothes? Are you ugly with warts and foul body odor? Does eating lots of sweets really lead you down a road of sin and temptation? Well shucks folks, I MUST be Evil because I'm a total greedy gobbler!

Prepare yourself for the "Evers" and the "Nevers" - that's what these kids call themselves, for that's how their stories go. But onto my favorite character Hort, of course he is a "Never," attending the School for Evil. He was such a sad pathetic looking little guy, but he was excitable and friendly and hey he was Evil right? This quote is when I first met him - and the little girl in me that loves the underdog had high hopes for him.

He looked like a sinister little weasel.

"The bird ate my shirt," he said. "Can I touch your hair?" Sophie backed up.

"They don't usually make villains with princess hair," he said, dog-paddling towards her."


Then in unexpected moments my heart would break...and frequently it was Hort that would do this to me.

"Dad told me villains can't love. That it's unnatural and disgusting."
...
"So I definitely can't love," Hort said.
...
"But if I could love, I'd love you."


If that isn't sad...unrequited love, then blast I don't know what is!

Agatha sums up the best element of this tale for me and precisely how I feel about villains! They are a major part of what makes a story worth reading. Often I feel like some authors treat them just as a way to make the good guy look better or "grow" into that strong character that the reader wants to love. But me? I'm usually secretly rooting for the bad guy.

"She had always found villains more exciting than heroes. They had ambition, passion. They made the stories happen. Villains didn't fear death. No, they wrapped themselves in death like suits of armor! As she inhaled the school's graveyard smell, Agatha felt her blood rush. For like all villains, death didn't scare her. It made her feel alive."
​​

The School for Good and Evil captures the true spirit of the human heart in so many ways that I was laughing, cringing, weeping and just dying to get to the end to know how this fairy tale would end. And now?...now I'm so sad that it's over.​ I know this book will become a hearthstone in my library, one that I will read my own child when he gets older and that I will return to time and again.

So consider this readers...

What's the one thing Evil can never have...and the one thing Good can never do without?


Visit @ Not Yet Read and see more amazing photos of the FanArt Dolls my sister made!
Agatha & Sophie

P.S. There is already a film being planned for 2015!
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Quotes Tabitha Liked

Soman Chainani
“She had always found villains more exciting than heroes. They had ambition, passion. They made the stories happen. Villains didn't fear death. No, they wrapped themselves in death like suits of armor! As she inhaled the school's graveyard smell, Agatha felt her blood rush. For like all villains, death didn't scare her. It made her feel alive.”
Soman Chainani, The School for Good and Evil

Soman Chainani
“What's the one thing Evil can never have... and the one thing Good can never do without?”
Soman Chainani, The School for Good and Evil

Soman Chainani
Beauty can only fight the truth for so long...
Soman Chainani, The School for Good and Evil

Soman Chainani
“Agatha: "If you say anything smug or stuck-up or shallow, I'll have Reaper follow you home."
Sophie: "But then I can't talk!”
Soman Chainani, The School for Good and Evil


Reading Progress

Finished Reading (MP3 CD Edition)
Finished Reading
April 7, 2013 – Shelved
April 7, 2013 – Shelved as: middlegrade
April 15, 2013 – Shelved as: own
April 15, 2013 – Shelved as: harpercollins
April 15, 2013 – Shelved as: fairy-tale
May 12, 2013 – Started Reading
May 12, 2013 – Shelved as: arc
May 12, 2013 – Shelved as: for-review-received-from-publisher
May 12, 2013 – Shelved as: magic
May 12, 2013 –
page 2
0.41% "Everyone's prattling on that you're too be taken this year," her father said, nailing a misshapen bar over her bedroom window, now completely obscured by locks, spikes, and screws. "They tell me to shear your hair, muddy up your face, as if I believe all this fairy-tale hogwash. But no one's getting in here tonight. That's for sure.""
May 12, 2013 –
page 14
2.87% ""Graveyards have their benefits," Agatha said. "No nosy neighbors. No drop-in salesmen. No fishy 'friends' bearing face masks and diet cookies, telling you you're going Evil School in Magic Fairy Land.""
May 13, 2013 –
page 36
7.38% "He looked like a sinister little weasel. "The bird ate my shirt," he said. "Can I touch your hair?" Sophie backed up. "They don't usually make villains with princess hair," he said, dog-paddling towards her."
May 13, 2013 –
page 99
20.29% "She had always found villains more exciting than heroes. They had ambition, passion. They made the stories happen. Villains didn't fear death. No, they wrapped themselves in death like suits of armor! As she inhaled the school's graveyard smell, Agatha felt her blood rush. For like all villains, death didn't scare her. It made her feel alive."
May 13, 2013 –
page 177
36.27% ""What's the one thing Evil can never have...and the one thing Good can never do without?""
May 14, 2013 – Shelved as: fantasy
May 14, 2013 – Shelved as: favorites
May 14, 2013 – Finished Reading
February 11, 2014 – Started Reading (MP3 CD Edition)
March 6, 2014 –
85.0% (MP3 CD Edition)
March 7, 2014 – Shelved (MP3 CD Edition)
March 7, 2014 – Shelved as: 1st-in-series (MP3 CD Edition)
March 7, 2014 – Shelved as: audio-book (MP3 CD Edition)
March 7, 2014 – Shelved as: childrens (MP3 CD Edition)
March 7, 2014 – Shelved as: classics-and-retell... (MP3 CD Edition)
March 7, 2014 – Shelved as: fantasy (MP3 CD Edition)
March 7, 2014 – Shelved as: fairy-tale (MP3 CD Edition)
March 7, 2014 – Shelved as: middlegrade (MP3 CD Edition)
March 7, 2014 – Shelved as: own (MP3 CD Edition)
March 7, 2014 – Shelved as: favorites (MP3 CD Edition)
March 7, 2014 – Finished Reading (MP3 CD Edition)

Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)

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Tabitha "Dad told me villains can't love. That it's unnatural and disgusting."
...
"So I definitely can't love," Hort said.
...
"But if I could love, I'd love you."


Mogsy (MMOGC) Took your recommendation and added this! And your review, specifically the quote "one that I will read my own child when he gets older" was what sold me. I remember saying to myself I should be looking into more children's books even though it'll be a few more years before I'll be able to read to my daughter, but never too early to start!

See, I told you you were unhealthy for my tbr :P


Tabitha It is marvelous! Probably even better for a little girl then a little boy. I'm hoping to convince my sister to make me Agatha and Sophie Dolls!!


Mogsy (MMOGC) They may actually have this at my library! It's definitely a sign I should read this!


Tabitha Skyla (Skoyklha) Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books wrote: "Tabitha the Pabkins wrote: "It is marvelous! Probably even better for a little girl then a little boy. I'm hoping to convince my sister to make me Agatha and Sophie Dolls!!"

Dude if she does you ..."


Oh heck yes! I usually end up updating my profile photo to whatever new doll she's made. That reminds me I should update it - she made this creepy awesome "Radioactive Teddy Bear Doll" inspired by that music video Radioactive my Imagine Dragons! See here she is Annabell


Tabitha Haha - yeah, all handmade that's why. I know the average person wouldn't pay that much. But I'm a doll collector you would be flabbergasted if you knew how much I've paid for a handmade doll/figurine in the past. LOL


Tabitha Exactly!! Someone wanted my family to make a Diaper Airplane for them like the one my cousin made for me and when he told them how much it cost and the time spent they acted like he was crazy. Like HELLO you can't just get a huge thing like that made for you for 100 bucks. Same with the Diaper Carousel I made recently. If they want something like that why don't they try their hand at making it and see how much time, skill and money it costs them! haha People just expect beautiful handmade things for mass produced prices. It's ridiculous. BUT VERY FUNNY to see the face they make when they hear how much it cost us to make them!


Jen (Book Den) Dude, I wish it was common knowledge that handmade = more expensive. There is this crazy misconception that a handmade gift means a cheaper gift. Skyla - you made a Hunger Games quilt?! I must see that somehow.


Jen (Book Den) So awesome!! I really wanted to crochet something Hunger Games-y, but I couldn't come up with any ideas I loved. I love your quilt squares!


Jen (Book Den) Sorry Tabitha! This is now the The DIY Craft School for Good and Evil.


Tabitha Jennifer | Book Den wrote: "Sorry Tabitha! This is now the The DIY Craft School for Good and Evil."

Haha =- DIY Craft School for Good and Evil!


Mogsy (MMOGC) I'm reading this now and I am loving it! Thanks for the rec!


Tabitha MMOGC wrote: "I'm reading this now and I am loving it! Thanks for the rec!"

I'm so glad! That makes the third friend this week who is reading it! Woohoo


Janah OMG, where do I begin. I've just recently joined good reads as part of my New Years resolution to read more, particularly outside of my usual genre. In line with this resolution I also wanted the same for my ten year old daughter, who reads quite often (at times due to mummy telling her to) but who rarely goes out of her comfort zone. And so with a little bit of research we made a list and decided to read The School for Good and Evil together....

She and I fell in love with this story, it is very well written with a good flow, character development is rich and interesting. All characters have depth and play a very important role in the story telling. So many themes are explored and well thought out and in the mist of all this is humour and plenty of it.

We just finished it tonight and the climax to the end was brilliant, I can honestly say that I we were quite beside ourselves as we read the final chapter. So much so that my four year old sat listening intently as to what would happen. A great read to start the year and now to wait for the sequel that is due to release later in the year, we cannot wait!!!

Oh and did I read right that a film is in the making? The amount of times that we said this story would make a great movie... Brilliant :)


Tabitha Janah wrote: "OMG, where do I begin. I've just recently joined good reads as part of my New Years resolution to read more, particularly outside of my usual genre. In line with this resolution I also wanted the s..."

I am so glad both you and your daughter loved this book so much! It was one of my favorites last year - and I'm itching so bad to get my hands on the next one. The author is such a wonderful person too. If you tweet him on Twitter he is so responsive. Yes, Soman said he has already turned in the first half of the script! Hort of course will have the best lines, the little rascal I love him!


Janah Hi Tabitha, I'm also looking forward to the release date. I must say that when I read your review the other night it was almost as if you'd put all my thoughts down before I had the chance! We too fell in love with Hort, his character is adorable beyond words, and secretly I'm so glade that my daughter was also routing for him, and almost heart broken as we both chocked on his thoughts about love *sighs*... Will he find his ever after with shopie? Its gotta happen: the greatest love story of all time *I'm literally holding myself from doing a happy dance lol


Tabitha Janah wrote: "Hi Tabitha, I'm also looking forward to the release date. I must say that when I read your review the other night it was almost as if you'd put all my thoughts down before I had the chance! We too ..."

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who is in love with Hort! I agree I was so heartbroken when he had that scene telling about his dad saying they can't love! Thanks for the kind words about my review. I have to admit I think its one of the more popular ones I've written. Likely my love of the book shines thru!


message 18: by Anya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anya *goes on Goodreads to see if she might like second book, sees book twin loved first book, gets super pumped* :D


Tabitha Anya wrote: "*goes on Goodreads to see if she might like second book, sees book twin loved first book, gets super pumped* :D"

*babbles incessantly with gleeeee at the thought of how close the early copies must be to coming out* Yes yes - I takes it we are both brilliantly in love with this book, yes yes...


message 20: by Anya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anya Tabitha the Pabkins wrote: "Anya wrote: "*goes on Goodreads to see if she might like second book, sees book twin loved first book, gets super pumped* :D"

*babbles incessantly with gleeeee at the thought of how close the earl..."


The second book is on EW if you do eARCs :D I haven't read the first, hence my snooping, hehe, but I just requested it from the library because you loved it :D


Tabitha Anya wrote: "*goes on Goodreads to see if she might like second book, sees book twin loved first book, gets super pumped* :D"

Wait! I don't see that you've read it!??? Its on sale on kindle right now isn't it!!? This one is SOOO worth buying. Heck even my friend's 7 year old loved this book (though some of it was over her head as its more intended towards preteens or teens given your opinion on the matter - but she's a way advanced reader for her age).

Read it now!!!! Everything else can wait =).


Tabitha Anya wrote: "Tabitha the Pabkins wrote: "Anya wrote: "*goes on Goodreads to see if she might like second book, sees book twin loved first book, gets super pumped* :D"

*babbles incessantly with gleeeee at the t..."


Love isn't even coming close to how much I enjoyed this book. I was obsessed with it for an entire month afterward! Heck I made a 100 song playlist for it, and I want my sister to make me a Sophie and Agatha doll AND I play to make my own fan art painting. So yes, rampantly consumed might be a closer description. Hmm I must use that in my review for book two when I lead it with how much I adored the first. *cackles madly*


message 23: by Anya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anya Mwahaha, go request the second book! *pokes* also email me back >.>


Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more Tabitha the Pabkins wrote: ""Dad told me villains can't love. That it's unnatural and disgusting."
...
"So I definitely can't love," Hort said.
...
"But if I could love, I'd love you.""


the FEELS!!


Tabitha Seriously! I loved it even more the second time I read it - if that is even at all possible! My book club is discussing it this Tuesday and Soman agreed to pop in for a ten minute webcam chat! *LUCKY!!!*


Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more Lucky indeed. I just ordered it. For real. The hardback b/c I want the pretty illustrations to go along with the sounds-incredible-why-didn't-this-ping-my-rader?! story.


message 27: by Anya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anya OMG REALLY??


message 28: by Anya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anya I'm going to just give in and buy it one of these days when I want to buy books ;-)


Tabitha @Jessica - HOORAY! I'm so glad you decided to take the plunge. It was just so much fun. At turns hilarious and then heartbreaking. Pokes fun at stereotypes and just ...ahh you just have to read it.

@Anya - What, What...WHAT!! But I thought you already requested book two! You can't read the second without reading the first. YOU MUST read the first. It has to be your fun read for the month. Heck I read it AGAIN for book club because I adored it that much and I haven't been rereading any books lately. It's just that awesome. You should do the audio for your drives - this one won't put you to sleep at all! Listen to it on 1.5x speed and it still sounds great and yet goes a little faster even.


Brittan Oh the first comment...I just want to...ugh..
its just gross. I love evil but not in the sense that your being mean! I don't think evil as black things and hexes and killing amd villians and stuff....I think of it as magic a stews and wands! AND THAT THE PEOPLE ARE NICE NOT EVIL!! Great review!! ;D


Tabitha Thanks!


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