The School for Good and Evil

Common Sense Media says

Fractured fairy tale has plenty of twists for fantasy fans.





What parents need to know

Educational value

The School for Good and Evil explicitly plays with the conventions of familiar fairy tales and urges readers to challenge the assumptions they bring to the material. Readers will recognize versions of favorite characters from folklore, but with a fresh twist.

Positive messages

The characters in The School for Good and Evil spend much of their time worrying about which side they belong on. But the story demonstrates that people are not simply good or evil, but that they are human and contain a little of each. The important thing is to strike a balance and be true to yourself and the ones you love, without obsessing about how your behavior might be rewarded.

Positive role models

At the start of The School for Good and Evil, Sophie and Agatha seem destined for particular stations in life. But after receiving seemingly mixed-up assignments at the school, they begin to change their attitudes about heroism and villainy. They bounce back and forth in their understanding of what it means to be good or evil, and their actions sometimes have disastrous consequences. Both girls eventually move beyond being stereotypes and learn the meaning of true love.

Violence & scariness

As with traditional folktales and fairy tales, The School for Good and Evil contains its fair share of violence. For much of the book, the mayhem is implied rather than shown, and when there is a violent encounter, it tends be be cartoonish rather than realistic. But the climactic chapters involve an all-out war between Evers (good students) and Nevers (bad students), and the body count is high. One of the main characters is killed, although there's hope of resurrection in the cliffhanger ending.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The School for Good and Evil is a fresh take on fairy tale devices and cliches, upending the expectations most readers have about princesses and villains. The language is very mild, with nothing worse than "ass" used. Would-be princesses and princes flirt with each other, but there's virtually no sexual content (though there are a couple of mildly bawdy sword jokes, if one cares to look for them). As in most fairy tales, violence and the threat of it are fairly constant, but most characters escape actual harm, at least until the climactic battle sequence. The body count there is rather high, and one of the main characters is killed (though seemingly revived later on).

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When best friends Sophie and Agatha are stolen away from their village and end up at the THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, the girls assume that their roles in life will remain as they always have predicted. With her blond hair, pink dresses, and penchant for doing good deeds, Sophie will be trained to be a storybook princess. Black-clad and antisocial Agatha has all the makings of a first-class villainess. At the school, however, the girls find themselves exactly where they don't want to be. Sophie is the one to take Uglification lessons and consort with future witches and their henchmen, while Agatha must learn about makeup and the proper etiquette for attracting a Prince Charming. To get back home, Agatha and Sophie must solve a riddle that seems to threaten the very existence of the school.

Is it any good?


The School for Good and Evil is no run-of-the-mill fairy tale spin-off. Author Soman Chainani has clearly done his homework in folklore and mass media, and he manipulates the cliches of fantasy and folklore with a great deal of wit and insight. This opening volume to the series feels a little long, however. Agatha and Sophie attempt new trials, pass or fail in unexpected ways, then move on to the next contest. The repetition of this patterns grows burdensome across nearly 500 pages. Still, there's a lot of narrative meat here, served up with flair by Chainani and complemented by Iacopo Bruno's black-and-white illustrations.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how portrayals of fairy tale characters in modern media differ from their original, folkloric versions. Why do you think these stories remain so powerful and compelling?

  • Do you ever make judgments about people based on how they look or dress? Can you tell if someone is "good" or "bad" just by looking at them?

  • Do you ever feel as if other people -- family, friends or teachers -- have expectations of you that you can't possibly meet? How do you handle those expectations?

Book details

Author:Soman Chainani
Illustrator:Iacopo Bruno
Genre:Fairy Tale
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Princesses and fairies, Adventures, Fairy tales, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:May 14, 2013
Number of pages:496
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 17
Read aloud:8 - 12
Read alone:8 - 17
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of The School for Good and Evil was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old October 23, 2013
Teen, 15 years old Written bymusic_mustnt October 24, 2014

it amazingggg

this is sooo coool
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written byMehak Ejaz October 24, 2014

Blistering operation and exquisite enchantment

The story of the school for good and evil is a sizzling creepily weird with the words of Roald Dhal and the action of JK Rowling combined to make an amazing new series. The opening took part with Sophie in her dream a beautiful girl who dreamed to be taken away by the school master and find her way through a fairy tale filled with adventure, romance, unimaginable twists and much more. Each year the school master takes away two children from Galvandon and before long people saw the kidnapped children appearing in the books of fairy tales Jack the handsome hunk of Galvandon had found his way with an ugly giant who was before a child. Rapunzel had also found her way through the fairy tale all these children were kidnapped by the school master no one knew what and how these school existed beyond the woods but Sophie had been waiting to be kidnapped her entire life! Until her friend Agatha, the lone wolf turned the tables and things don’t go exactly as she plans. Sophie’s dream does come true of being kidnapped and being taken to the school but ends up being put in the school of evil and her ugly friend in the school of good. The teachers and even students of both schools thought that there had been a mistake that the students had been switched but they had to respect the wishes of the school master. Agatha on the other hand never wanted to be in any of the school she wanted to go back with her best friend home but Sophie had more ideas who fell in love with a prince the son of King Arthur, Tedros. She wanted to switch school with Agatha for her dream for being a princess she’d imagined to be with her prince Tedros. The bird that dropped Agatha and Sophie into a more deeper look into their hearts then there looks therefore we come to the conclusion where Agatha turned out to be the most beautiful in her school and from Sophie, she turned her true colors outside and turned into an ugly hag. The book shows that a person does not remain the same but change character traits due to extreme change and twist of events. The book was left incomplete but with a sequel the book has wrapped up billions of readers in the hands of enthusiastic adventure.
What other families should know
Great messages


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