- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 830 (What's this?)
- Series: School for Good and Evil (Book 1)
- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (April 15, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006210490X
- ISBN-13: 978-0062104908
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (444 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The School for Good and Evil Paperback – April 15, 2014
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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
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)
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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
Villains learn how to monologue, princesses are taught how to talk to animals and how to beautify themselves, while princes are taught how to be valiant and sword fight. The book, of course, mocks some of these classes. In one part, the main prince couldn't come up with a rejoinder to a princess and instantly started a sword fight with one of his classmates instead.
Sophie and Agatha are well-written and it's fun to read what they will decide to do next to get to what they believed were their proper schools. And since I have never even seen a book like this before--the closest probably being Harry Potter--each attempt was a complete surprise. I was even surprised at the ending, but it was fitting as well.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this YA fairy tale to anyone who enjoys these kinds of things. It's a fairy tale with a definite twist, some of it dark, but all of it great fun. I will reread this book in the future and I know I will enjoy it again as much as I did this time
The story - of two girls kidnapped from their village and then deposited in seemingly the wrong schools (with fairytale princess Sophie taking Henchman classes and dark, brooding Agatha learning beautification) - is compelling and beautifully told. Both girls are surprising, but also have characters and motivations that make absolute sense and drive the plot forward all the way through. And the ending? Exactly what it should be. Somehow surprising and also so very perfect.
Sophie is everything you picture "Good" to be an Agatha is everything that might get stereotyped as "Evil". The start of the book is a bit confusing, because it feels like you're dropped into the middle of an action film and you have no idea what's going on or which way to turn. Even as I read deeper into the book, I felt there were always chunks of information I was missing to fully understand what was happening. In the end, I felt far more for Agatha's character, because Sophie annoyed me right from the start.
Welcome to the School for Good and Evil, where best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
In a village called Gavadill, two children are kidnapped every four years, no matter how the village prepares and protects - they're always taken.
Sometimes two boys, or two girls, or sometimes one of each, but one thing never changes. One child is always good and beautiful and the other is evil and homely. They're taken away to be the heroes, royals or wicked villains of fairy tales like Snow White and her evil stepmother or Hansel and Gretel and the cannibalistic witch. They were all once top students trained at the School for Good and Evil.
"In the forest Primeval
A School for Good and Evil
Two towers like twin heads
Once for the pure
One for the wicked
Try to escape you'll always fail
The only way out
Is through a Fairy Tale."
With her glass slippers and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she'll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella, Rapunzel and Snow White. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks and wicked black cat seems a natural fit for a villain in the School for Evil.
They two girls soon find their fortunes reversed - Sophie's dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchman Training. While Agatha finds herself in the School for Good, thrust among handsome 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...
When I first read about the School for Good and Evil, I had a feeling it would be my kind of book and couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy. I've always loved fairytales, and add in some magic with some adventure and fantasy and you have the makings of a classic.
This book did not disappoint, it had my imagination running - picturing the settings and the characters. Oh and the characters! They made you want to keep turning the pages. They were quirky fun and full of spunk.
"I don't know why people think princesses are pretty." Hester said picking a wart on her toe." Their noses are small. Like little buttons you want to pop off."
Sophie and Agatha both had so much emotion, it was easy to be a part of them and feel their struggles and how they developed and changed throughout the story. The secondary characters were also really fascinating and were able to hold their own.
The only con I had about this story, was that I kinda-sorta wished that some more the classroom settings in the book were described a little bit more. I found them interesting and intriguing. I mean a classroom made of ice? and another of sweets? That's awesome! I also have a love for books that have a school setting, so my con is more the selfish reader in me wanting more, a tiny detail that is far from a deal breaker for this book.
Nevertheless, I completely enjoyed this book and fell in love with the characters. I cannot wait to find out what happens to Agatha and Sophie in the next book!
This is a fascinating world, in which Good and Evil are supposed to be utterly distinct, and never the twain shall meet. And- because it's got people in it- that is just not the case. Complications ensue! This is especially true when the looks-ism- Good = pretty, Evil = ugly- turns out not to be as effective as supposed.
It was hard to keep track of some of the plot twists- they came on really fast and relentlessly, but that was in part the point. Sophie and Agatha were working out what it meant to be Good or Evil, and whether and how they could be friends despite this (sometimes). Sophie was very annoying indeed- but that too was part of the point. I loved some of the secondary characters, especially some of the Nevergirls.
The ending was interesting and unexpected, though I think foreshadowed adequately looking back.
It's an odd book, but I enjoyed it a lot.
Most recent customer reviews
If you like action and fantasy you will probably fall for this series.Read more