Posts Tagged ‘fairy tale’

Curl Up & Read: The School for Good and Evil

Posted on September 2nd, 2016 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff, Teen Services














Title: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Read by: Anna, Teen Central Librarian

Summary: Agatha and Sophie are best friends who couldn’t be more different from each other. Agatha considers herself ugly and the daughter of a witch, wanting nothing more than to be left alone. Meanwhile, Sophie is beautiful, doing everything she can to stay that way, and considers helping Agatha become beautiful as her Good Deed. When both of them are kidnapped and taken to the School for Good and Evil where they will learn how to survive in a fairy tale, they are surprised to find out that Agatha has been sorted into the school for Good, and Sophie into the school for Evil. Together, they try to right this obvious wrong while also attempting to escape, gain friends and boyfriends, or avoid them at all costs.

Genre/Subgenre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale

Standalone/Series: Trilogy


book 1 – 488 pages

book 2 – 433 pages

book 3 – 655 pages

Personal Thoughts:

“The most dangerous person in a fairy tale is the one willing to do anything for love.” – The School Master

Looking for something similar to, and yet different from, Harry Potter? This is it! The School for Good and Evil is a trilogy with a richly complicated plot and fantastic characters that keep you guessing whether they really are good or evil as they were assigned, right up until the very last page. The series tackles huge, sometimes very dark, subjects in a light, humorous way. It messes around with sexist stereotypes and while Chainani doesn’t use the words lesbian, gay, transgender, or bisexual, even these make it into the story in hints and undertones.

There is a heavy romance element here, but it is so much more than the typical teen love triangle, making this a fresh read for those who enjoy romance. In book three we get introduced to characters from classic fairy tales, like Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Red Riding Hood, whose lives have changed dramatically since the ending of their fairy tales. Some of these characters would happily tell you they left their princes and their happily-ever-afters behind for an even better life, proving that life is not all about romance.

Overall, I have to say I enjoyed book one the best. It was the most fresh and engaging story of the three. Everyone seemed to want the exact same thing in book two and some of the characters’ personalities got a little tiring in book three, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying all of the books. Small illustrations at the start of each chapter are a fun addition. This could be seen as a middle grade series, but will be enjoyed by teens of all ages.

With the addition of Merlin and Tedros’s family in the third book (Tedros is the son of King Arthur here), I was reminded of Mary Stewart’s Crystal Cave series, written from Merlin’s point of view, which takes a more realistic approach to the story of Merlin, King Arthur, and magic. I highly recommend this series for any who love historical/fantasy fiction. The first book in the series can be found here.


Editor’s Note: This is Anna’s last book review for the BPL Teen Blog, as she moves on to her new job in Reader Services. We’ll miss you, Anna! But never fear, Curl Up & Read will still be posting on the first Friday of the month — and the reviewer could be YOU. If you’re a teen and you’re interested in having a book review posted on the Teen Blog, please email vkovenmatasy (at) bpl (dot) org and pitch your idea. We might even be able to hook you up with an Advance Reader’s Copy of something coming out soon, so you can really be ahead of the crowd!


anna250-150x150Looking to borrow these library books? These links will take you to our catalog:

Book One: The School for Good and Evil

Book Two: A World Without Princes

Book Three: The Last Ever After

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow these books? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.


* “Curl Up & Read” posts book reviews by librarians and teens on the first Friday of every month.


Princess of the Midnight Ball – a review

Posted on February 4th, 2013 by mdevine in Books, Reviews - Staff


I am a collector of “The 12 Dancing Princesses” The original “12 Dancing Princesses” by the Grimm Brothers is well grim as is most of the stories that were never originally intended for children. I love how writers interpret this fairy tale and “Princess of the Midnight Ball” is no exception.

Princess of the Midnight Ball brought a different spin on the story although retained some of the originally story plot. Princess Rose and her sisters were put under a curse that was struck by 2 bargains with their mother, Queen Maude and King Under Stone. The price: Queen Maude had to pay was to dance for King Under Stone every two weeks. When the Queen would miss a ball, the number of nights increased. Queen Maude died when the youngest princess, Petunia, was 2 years old. The princesses then had to take up the payment for the two struck bargains made with King Under Stone.

Along comes Galin, the hero of the story, home from the war. It took a while for the war to end as well as for him to get home. Since his father and mother both died during the war, he went to find his mother’s family to see if they could let him stay with them for a while and know of a job for him. His Uncle Reiner was the chief gardener of the castle so Galin was given a job as an under-gardener. Galin’s first meeting with one of the princesses, Rose, that resulted in a mishap. Galin eventually picks up the task of wanting to find out the reason for the princesses’ shoes to be worn out every three days. He guessed that they had to be going somewhere. He received permission from the King to monitor the grounds to see if the princesses came outside to go to their intended destination. No luck. Eventually, he was able to get permission to find out what was going on by sitting in the Princesses’ room. He has a few tricks up his sleeve to help him be unnoticed and to follow the princesses. He becomes determined to save them from King Under Stone.

Since this is a retelling of a fairytale, you know there has to be a happy ending. But it’s how Jessica Day George gets to the happy ending that keeps the reader in suspense.

Because I have been reading various adaptations of “the 12 Dancing Princesses”, I had no idea how the story would go. I love how authors can take the premise of the story and change it to a new location with more or less details depending on the intended audience.

I could imagine the storyline in my head as I was reading, what the characters looked like and the scenery. I like a book that brings out my imagination. So I would recommend this book to everyone who loves to use their imagination.