The School for Good and Evil
Cover for the first book in the series
|Genre||Children's fiction, fantasy|
|Published||2013 - current|
|Media type||Print, e-book, audiobook|
|No. of books||2|
The School for Good and Evil is a New York Times Bestselling children's fantasy book trilogy by Soman Chainani. The first book, The School for Good and Evil, was first published on May 14, 2013 through HarperCollins. The series is set in a world where every four years two children are chosen to attend a prestigious school where fairy tale heroes and villains are made.
The School for Good and Evil
In the village of Gavaldon, Agatha and Sophie have grown up as best friends, albeit for different reasons. The awkward and morbid Agatha puts up with the attentions of the beautiful but vain and superficial Sophie, who hopes that it will raise her chances to get selected to attend the School for Good, one of two legendary academies that prepare children to become fairy tale characters, the other being the School for Evil. Every four years, two children are taken from the village to be enrolled in either school, despite the parents' best attempts to prevent it from happening. No children have ever returned, but will occasionally show up in storybooks that mysteriously appear each year.
When the two girls find themselves whisked away by the monstrous servants of the mysterious Headmaster of the schools of Good and Evil, known the School Master, Sophie is ecstatic until she realizes that she has been placed in the School for Evil (Nevers) and Agatha is in the School for Good (Evers). She tries to switch places with Agatha on several occasions while trying to insist that she's an Ever rather than a Never and therefore deserves the attentions of the handsome Prince Tedros, son of the late King Arthur. This is hampered by Sophie's innate ability to do bad works and the School for Evil soon considers her to be a prodigy that will return them to their former glory, as they haven't won in a story for 200 years. Meanwhile Agatha finds herself ostracized and bullied because she isn't a princess-like beauty, although she eventually proves that she is highly capable of performing princess-type feats such as granting wishes. All Agatha wants, however, is to return home- something that is made more difficult when they find the School Master and discover that they are in the middle of a story and that they cannot return home until it is completed. During this time Sophie and Agatha also learn that the School Master and his brother were at war and that one of them died in the process. As the two were a pair and represented the Schools for Evil and Good, it was assumed that the good brother survived since the Evers kept winning their stories.
Knowing that a kiss from your true love will end a story, Agatha (who thinks Tedros is immature and a roach at this time) helps Sophie charm Tedros into asking her to the Ever Ball by disguising herself as a cockroach and helping Sophie through her classes, firing spells and helping to pick out the poison in the Poison or Palatable? challenge, and much more. This eventually backfires when Tedros discovers the duplicity, which plummets Sophie into a deep depression followed by irrational rage. Sophie then uses her ability for evil to take revenge on Tedros and eventually Agatha, who is revealed to be Sophie's Nemesis that she must destroy. She tries to enlist the Never students in her task, but they are initially reluctant to take part in all of Sophie's revenge- first because they believe that losing a ball invitation is too minor, but later because they believe that she is going overboard. Sophie does manage to convince her classmates and the animosity culminates with a showdown between the Evers and the Nevers. It is during this time that she and Agatha discover that the entire time they were being manipulated by the School Master, who is actually the evil brother. He wanted to cultivate Sophie to be the perfect Never villain in order to find his own true love, as Nevers are otherwise incapable of finding true love in their stories. Tainted by his influence, Sophie tries to trick Tedros into believing that Agatha betrayed him. Sophie eventually regrets her actions when she ends up getting killed. Upset, heartbroken, and extremely desperate, Agatha kisses Sophie, which returns her to life. They begin to disappear into light. Tedros, who is revealed to be Agatha's true love as her prince, reaches for her. However Agatha chooses her ending with her nemesis, and she and Sophie both return to their village.
When the story, The Tale of Sophie and Agatha is published to the village, the last page ends with a picture of a prince who looks a lot like Tedros walking away, his back facing the page, and it says, They didn't need princes in their fairytale at all.
A World Without Princes
Agatha and Sophie have returned home and they are accepted as heroes who have returned home. Unfortunately for Agatha, Sophie is taking advantage of this opening. Whereas Agatha wants nothing to do with fame, Sophie puts on many shows. At Sophie's father's wedding, Agatha suddenly wishes for another ending to her story, an ending with Tedros. This wish causes magical arrows to come and messages saying to give Sophie to them. Angry, the town turns into a mob demanding Sophie be given to whoever wants her. The Elders says that they are protecting Sophie, but in reality they are planning to give in to the mob. They tell Sophie to stay in the church ALONE, and Agatha, thinking that Sophie would be safe leaves. Sophie is taken into the forest with a message on her chest made from her own blood. She is hung on a tree with the message Take Me and left to die. Agatha finds Sophie and runs away with her trying not to be attacked by the mob. They soon arrive in a fairground and they notice butterflies trying to help them. They get on a train unknowingly bound for the School of Good and Evil.
Arriving at the doors of the School for Good, they are swamped by a herd of girls from both schools robed in blue. As the girls are introduced to their classmates (including a silent girl named Yara) and taken around by the Dean, they notice that the school has been changed and the fairy tales on the walls have changed as a result, with the damsels in distress now becoming warrior women. Agatha mentions the absence of boys, and it is discovered that after they left, all the girls from the School for Evil were repelled and had to come to the School for Good seeking refuge. The boys from the School for Good were then expelled by an unseen force and had to go to the School for Evil. As the truth and impact of what they have done settles on the girls, Sophie is horrified to discover that they are back due to Agatha’s wish for a different ending to their tale, mainly that she ends up with Tedros. Agatha denies this and insists that all she wants to do is return home. Agatha and Sophie sneak into the School for Boys and Agatha attempts to speak with Tedros, but discovers that Tedros has turned completely against her, blaming her for his troubles. Eventually, it is decided that one of the girls must become a boy to integrate into the School for Boys to steal the Storian. Sophie is chosen and integrates into the boy’s school. Soon Sophie's name as a boy is Fillip. Fillip and Tedros have problems at first, but soon, Fillip is protecting Tedros. Then they become the best of friends. Filip confesses to Tedros that he (Sophie) would do anything to see his (her) mother again. Tedros says he wouldn't want to see his, because his dad (King Arthur) sent out a warrant for her head (Explained in Agatha's history class, you may say, Guinevere cheated on King Arthur, she was with Sir Lancelot), and when he turns 16, he'd have to honor that warrant. Then later in the forest at the Trial by Tale Agatha is hiding when Fillip comes with Tedros. Soon, Agatha sees that Tedros leans in to kiss Filip, but Agatha only sees their lips almost touch. She blames "Filip" . As the three argue, suddenly, the spell wears off and Filip turns back into Sophie. Tedros is confused and angry, but then, the new "School for Girl" teacher Evelyn Sader, stepsister of August Sader, (she can hear with butterflies, blue butterflies)has her butterflies fly off trees as they carry the Storian and Evelyn to the trio. And as she tricks Agatha by giving Sophie symptoms Tedros and Agatha kiss for Ever After, but instead, Evelyn pricks her finger on the Storian and it very clearly only says The En. Sophie says she'd do anything for her mother. So then Evelyn conjures the ghost and her butterflies turn red. Sophie kisses the ghost and as it becomes the School Master, the School Master kills Evelyn and sends Agatha home. But just before, she grabs Tedros and takes him with her, and the two schools become a malevolent School for Evil together. For now, as it says, their wishes were granted.
- The School for Good and Evil (2013)
- A World Without Princes (2014)
- The Last Ever After (2015)
- Waterstone's Children's Book Prize for Best Fiction for 5-12 (2014, nominee for The School for Good and Evil)
- Rolland, David. "Soman Chainani on The School for Good and Evil, the Dangers of Disney, and South Florida Kids". Miami New Times. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- Maughan, Shannon. "Moving On Up: 'The School for Good and Evil'". Publisher Weekly. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- Fleming JR, Mike. "Universal Makes Seven-Figure Deal For ‘The School For Good And Evil’". Deadline. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- "THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL (review)". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- "The School for Good and Evil (review)". Commonsensemedia. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- "Cafeteria food is the least of students' worries in Soman Chainani's 'The School for Good and Evil'". NYDN. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- "The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani – review". The Guardian. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- Levin, Jordan. "Soman Chainani hits jackpot with novel ‘School for Good and Evil’". Miami Herald. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- "Chris O'Dowd's wife and actress Emerald Fennell up for Children's Book Prize". Express. Retrieved April 7, 2014.