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The School for Good and Evil Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 14, 2013

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Editorial Reviews Review

The School for Good and Evil Reading Playlist by Soman Chainani

One of my goals in writing The School for Good and Evil was to give the book new energy from chapter to chapter, so you never feel like you're in the same place twice. For each of the 30 chapters, I'd pick a book (sometimes a piece of music or an article) that I remembered loving as a child or adolescent and obsessively reread it until I put the chapter to bed. None of the books had explicit links to The School for Good and Evil -- in fact, most of them aren't even fantasy. But in the end, I realized I had a 'playlist' to my own imagination, at once light and dark, good and evil.

Compiled between April 2011 through March 2012

1. The Princess & The Witch

Mary Poppins, P.L Travers.

2. The Art of Kidnapping

Peter Pan, JM Barrie

Music Video: "Oh, Father" (Madonna, Like a Prayer)

3. The Great Mistake

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

The Bad Beginning, Lemony Snicket

4. The Three Witches of Room 66

The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith

The Steampunk Bible, Jeff Vandermeer

5. Boys Ruin Everything

Interview with a Vampire, Anne Rice

6. Definitely Evil

The Witches, Roald Dahl

7. Grand High Witch Ultimate

The Magicians, Lev Grossman

8. Wish Fish

9. 100% Evil

The Magician King, Lev Grossman

10. Bad Group

The Hobbit, JR Tolkien

11. The School Master's Riddle

The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman

12. Dead Ends

Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

TV: Downton Abbey, Season 1

13. Doom Room

14. The Crypt Keeper's Solution

Room with a View, EM Forster

15. Choose Your Coffin

16. Cupid Goes Rogue

Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil, John Berendt

17. The Empress' New Clothes

18. The Roach and the Fox

Auntie Mame, Patrick Dennis

Auntie Mame Around the World, Patrick Dennis

Madonna Style, Carol Clerk

Music Video: "Express Yourself," Madonna

"Viva Donatella," Lauren Collins. New Yorker. 9.24.07

19. I Have a Prince

Lord of the Flies, Wiliam Golding

20. Secrets and Lies

21. Trial by Tale

And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie

22. Nemesis Dreams

The Secret History, Donna Tart

Music Video: "Bedtime Story," Madonna (Bedtime Stories)

23. Magic in the Mirror

The Line of Beauty, Allan Hollingshurst

24. Hope in the Toilet

25. Symptoms

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

TV: Downton Abbey, Season 2

26. The Circus of Talents

27. Promises Unkept

Blindness, Jose Saramago

Music Video: "Frozen," Madonna (Ray of Light)

28. The Witch of Woods Beyond

The Crucible, Arthur Miller

Music Video: "What It Feels Like For a Girl," Madonna (Music)

29. Beautiful Evil

30. Never After

The Alienist, Caleb Carr

Music Video: "Falling Free," Madonna (MDNA)

From Booklist

With overtones of Wicked, and shaped by the world of fairy tales, comes this story of two girls plucked from their village to attend the School for Good and Evil. Pretty (on the outside) Sophie has been hoping for the schoolmaster to take her to a place where she’ll become the princess she always imagined herself to be. Homely loner Agatha is the other chosen girl, someone Sophie befriended in an effort to show off her “goodness.” But their arrival at school leads to a shock, with Agatha placed with the Evers (as in happily ever after) and a distraught Sophie stuck with the creepy Nevers. So begins a tale that sees both girls fighting their fates—and at times each other—as they search for an ending that will encompass all that they are and what they’ve learned during their Grimm adventures. The terrific cover will draw readers in, the premise is a winner, and both Sophie and Agatha are strong characters. However, this is sometimes overwritten and repetitive, dragging the narrative down in places. But those who like their fantasy laced with fairy tale will surely enjoy it. Grades 6-8. --Ilene Cooper

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
  • Series: School for Good and Evil (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062104896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062104892
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (327 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Soman Chainani's first two novels, The School for Good and Evil and The School for Good and Evil: A World without Princes, debuted on the New York Times bestseller list. The series has been translated into languages across six continents and will soon be a major motion picture from Universal Studios.

As a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University's MFA film program, Soman has made films that have played at over 150 festivals around the world, and his writing awards include honors from Big Bear Lake, New Draft, the CAPE Foundation, the Shasha Grant, and the Sun Valley Writers' Fellowship.

When he's not telling stories, Soman is a diehard tennis player who never lost a first-round match for ten years . . . until he started writing The School for Good and Evil. Now he loses all the time.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Miss Bonnie on May 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
'[...]whether you are Good or Evil, an Ever or a Never, you must learn to respect one another, for no matter how different you may seem, you cannot exist without the other. The line between princess and witch is a thin one indeed...'

The residents of the small town of Gavaldon are all raised on fairy tales, and they all believe them to be real. Every four years, The School Master takes two children over the age of 12 and one child is placed in The School of Good and the other Evil. It's been four years.

Sophie, lover of pink and a self-proclaimed princess, dreams of going to The School of Good and meeting her Prince and living happily ever after. Agatha, lover of black and silence and solitude with her cat, isn't quite sure if she believes in the schools but she knows if she was destined to go there would be no better place for her than The School of Evil. Sophie and Agatha are best friends and when both are chosen for The School's, it comes as quite a shock when their placements are switched. Agatha is definitely not Good and Sophie can't possibly be Evil...

What worked for me: The writing is vibrant and extremely visual with alternating POV's between Sophie and Agatha which provided the reader with a glimpse of both schools through their eyes. Sophie was quite an unbearable character but I do believe that was the purpose (and only solidified her position with The School of Evil). Agatha managed to become the real heart of the story and a truly good person. Both girls struggle throughout the story to retain their friendship due to the constant stereotype that Good can't possibly be friends with Evil.

What didn't work for me: The story was excessively long and would have benefited from some additional editing.
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81 of 101 people found the following review helpful By V on June 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up after reading all the glowing reviews, only to discover that its merits were greatly exaggerated.

The premise of the book is somewhat unique: Children from different villages are kidnapped and put in a school where they train to either be villains or heroes that must ultimately go up against each other to produce the fairy tales we know and love. Sophie and her "best friend" Agatha, are kidnapped but, to Sophie's horror, dropped off in the wrong schools. Pretty princess Sophie goes to the school of evil and "ugly" Agatha goes to the school for good. The evil side teaches villainy but condones intellect and personality, while the good side aims for good deeds but enforces physical beauty and sexism. The book promises us that both girls discover something new about themselves and about friendship.

In my mind, this plot would have ended in a smart, fun, but cliché story where the characters discover that there is no such thing as ultimate good or evil, but that everyone has traces of both. It seemed like the author wanted to go there, but the end result was a lot different.

Sophie spends a vast majority of the book (literally hundreds of pages) trying various cartoonish methods to win the prince she feels she should have. Agatha is intelligent and resourceful, but fails to do much more than support Sophie in her quest. There is a lot of catty bickering, poorly described action scenes and way too many adjectives. The pacing is not good and the middle chunk of the book could easily be thrown away with no impact to the overall story.

For a reason I can't understand, the author also felt the need to put in blatant references to popular literature.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Crossroad Reviews on July 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This one is so 5 stars! I started this one not knowing it was for Middle School kids. But that doesn't take anything away from this 488 page book of Good vs. Evil!! In this wonderful world that Chainani has created you find that all fairy tales are created in a school for both good and evil and the town beyond the woods is where all the books get read. Now I can't go into to much detail as I don't want to give anything away. But this book was so good it's just beyond words!

This book goes back to the old fairy tales that we all grew up with but adds a twist that will make you read very fast and will make young readers want to read until the last page. Even if they have to hide under the covers with a flashlight to finish it.

This is a trilogy and I can't wait for next year to come so I can read what happens next for our friends of the good and evil school.

OMG there is a book trailer! And it just made me want to read this book again!! I checked out the authors site. I didnt know that this was written by a man well good job! Also it looks like Universal has purchased the rights to this book and it also seems like we might see it on the big screen in 2015! I cant wait!!

For some fun with this book you can apply to the school (Apply SGE) and see which school you belong in!

My 9 year old also read this one and this is her review:
I looooooooooved this book! And this was a really big book for me to read! It took me three days to read it but I did it! I hope to meet him one day so I can get this book signed. And I cant wait for the movie!

This is what I got!
It is my pleasure to accept you to the School for Good, with a soul score of 80% Good and 20% Evil.
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