Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Sourcebooks, Inc. on March 3, 2015
Genres: Adaptations, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy & Magic, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Source: eARC from Publisher
Would you send a villain to do a hero's job? An exciting new twisted fairy tale series from award-winning author Jen Calonita.
Full of regret, Cinderella's wicked stepmother, Flora, has founded the Fairy Tale Reform School with the mission of turning the wicked and criminally mischievous into upstanding members of Enchantasia.
Impish, sassy 12-year-old Gilly has a history of petty theft and she's not too sorry about it. When she lifts a hair clip, she gets tossed in reform school-for at least three months. But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there's more to this school than its sweet mission. There's a battle brewing and she starts to wonder: can a villian really change?
Flunked is the first book in an adorable middle grade series called Fairy Tale Reform School. I really liked this book. It put a smile on my face the whole time I was reading it. Yes, it was a younger read than I was used to, but it was perfectly suited for it’s middle grade audience. The heroine is Gilly and is around 12 or 13. She is caught stealing a hair clip and is shipped off to the Fairy Tale Reform School for the mischievous children on the path to becoming a villain. I think this is such a cute idea for a magical and funny story.
I really like that we got to see the “crime” that Gilly committed to get sent to reform school as it played out, rather than just starting the book with her already there and flashing back on what brought her in. I thought it gave the readers a great perspective on what her family is like, and gave us an idea of who Gilly is. I had a hard time calling her a mini villain because she didn’t seem even close to evil, but I thought she did have some flair and interesting qualities that are not anything like your typical heroine. It made her more likeable, as strange as that sounds.
I loved the fairy tale reform school setting. The professors were all ex-villains. Come on, you know that sounds like a fun school to be at! And Gilly’s friends are great. This book kind of had an Ella Enchanted feel to it. I’m not completely sure why, because the story is not even close to the same, but I just kind of pictured the town and the schools to be the kind of setting from the Ella Enchanted movie with Anne Hathaway. That kind of colorful faux olde world setting? (I would really love someone else that has read the book to tell me if they felt the same way, or if I am just weird?)
Bottom Line: Flunked is a super cute book in what I think will be a great middle grade series. Heck, not just for tweens. I liked this series, and I will be continuing on with it. I loved the humor in Jen Calonita’s writing. Not to mention Flunked was a whole lotta fun to read.
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