Book Review: The School for Good and Evil

School for Good and EvilI’ve had this book sitting on my to-read shelf for almost a year. True story. I bought it from Books of Wonder last May.

Here’s the thing. I wanted to love this book. I really did. And, the more I got into it, the more I enjoyed it. But, I struggled at the beginning.

The School for Good and Evil is the story of Sophie and Agatha. Sophie is all things princess – pretty, pink and full of what she thinks is enough good-will to help her land a prince. Agatha prefers black and brooding, and she’s seen enough of the cruelty of the world to know that nothing really has a happy ending.

They are two girls living in their own world, even though they’ve heard the stories. The stories of the children kidnapped, never to return. Sophie is convinced being kidnapped is the way for her to find the fairy tale ending she’s always wanted. She knows that, if she’s taken, she will go to the School for Good, where girls are groomed (literally) into fairy tale heroines.

And, she gets her wish. Sort of. Sophie and Agatha are captured, but the Storyteller has something different in mind for them. Agatha is dropped in the school for Good, while Sophie lands in the muck and mire of the School for Evil. Based on appearances, it looks like there has been a mistake, but the Storyteller never makes mistakes.

The School for Good and Evil is an interesting and entertaining look at what really makes people good and evil. It’s a story about appearances not telling the whole story and how our preconceived ideas of what really makes a person who they are. It’s only when the truth is revealed that Sophie and Agatha can fight to write the story they want their lives to tell. When life becomes less about perfect parties and princes, the girls realize that the most important thing they can have is each other.

The School for Good and Evil reminds me a lot of a middle-grade version of Wicked.