GREETINGS! I have returned from Hiatus Hawaii to bring you more fabulous book reviews, full of witty cynicism and relevant metaphors.
However, the cynicism will have to wait, because in The School for Good and Evil, there's only Good for me, bookies!
And along with being Good, I do not intend to release any spoilers, because 1) You cannot start this book and then not finish it and 2) I restrained myself from flipping to the end, so you can, too!
Soman Chainani (A MALE AUTHOR, FINALLY!) is not only a really cool guy--he totally responded right away to my gushing fangirl message on GR--but he's written this colorful confection of YA goodness.
Now, I have to admit, at 400+ pages, it sort of pushes the envelope in the Acceptable Lengths category for YA, but honestly I don't really care. A good book will suck you in, and you won't want to stop reading it until it's finished. So I have no issue with the length. However, my one tiny little complaint is that the plot tends to drag a bit, but I got over it. Everyone else can too. I've never been one to complain about certain YA books being too long and a bit tedious at times (case in point, a certain wizard's coming-of-age after the death of his godfather).
Here's what you can expect from this wonderful new addition to my Best of YA bookshelf:
1) A plot with so many twists and turns that I didn't even see the ending coming...
2) ...OMG THIS ENDING. It will catch you off guard, and then leave you yelling "WHAT?!" like I did, with a bunch of unanswered questions!
3) A character you can really root for. Make that two. I loved Sophie and Agatha, both in their own ways.
4) The message of the story. It's True Love, yes, but don't let that make you groan. It's about the love between the most unlikely of friends, and how we overcome obstacles for them.
5) And finally, my favorite of all: The blurred lines between good and evil. This is what I love, how a book written for children takes something that all of us struggle to understand. How can someone be pure evil, or pure good? It is impossible. We are all born with the ability to be both, but what happens when we can't choose what we want to be? Chainani does a great job of meddling through these questions, and I love him for it.
6) Okay, not finally. I love a good fairy tale, I just had to add that. :P
This is the kind of book I want my future students to read. This is the kind of book that makes me love this genre even more. Like the Percy Jackson series, School for Good and Evil proves that we can take the simplest of storylines and create something that kicks the YA books I've been sorely disappointed in IN THE BUTT. I loved this book, and I will tout my praise until the next one in the series comes out...ugh so faaaaaar away!
Five stars, and a literal round of applause.
p.s. There's a girl who can turn anything into chocolate. Um, why isn't she real??