By Josie Rerecich
“The School for Good and Evil” by Soman Chainani is the first book in a fantastic fantasy series. This first book tells the story of best friends Sophie and Agatha, living in the isolated town of Gavaldon. Every four years on November 11, according to legend, a School Master kidnaps two children from the village. One kidnapped child is always beautiful and kind, and the other is homely and odd. These children are taken to the School for Good and Evil, which exists somewhere beyond the woods surrounding Gavaldon. The children are never seen again, unless they appear in a fairy tale, one as a hero and the other as a villain.
Sophie, who is beautiful and focuses on her looks and good deeds, believes that she will be kidnapped for the School for Good. Meanwhile, Agatha, who is ugly and wears only black, doesn’t believe the School exists but seems like the perfect candidate for the School for Evil. They are the two kids who are kidnapped by the School Master that year. However, Agatha is brought to the School for Good, and Sophie to the School for Evil. What first appears to be a great mistake turns into an adventure that not only reveals the character’s truest selves, but also blurs the lines between the stereotypes of good and evil.
Along the way, Sophie and Agatha meet the other students, who are descendants of fairytale characters. The best friends from Gavaldon take classes at their mismatched schools while they try to solve a riddle the School Master gave them that will lead them home. However, the School Master is more than what he seems, and has a different ending in store for Sophie and Agatha.
“The School for Good and Evil” is a very entertaining book, but the plot doesn’t go far beyond the school. Although this series takes place in a much larger world, the first book takes place only in Gavaldon and the School. The world of fairy tales is supposedly endless, but readers don’t get to experience much of this world in the first book. One must read the rest of the series to see more of this magical world of Good and Evil.
In “The School for Good and Evil,” nothing is as simple as it seems. It is a great read for those who like dramatic twists and sneaky foreshadowing in their books.