Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked by Jen Calonita


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Would you send a villain to do a hero’s job?
Flunked is an exciting new twisted fairy tale from the award-winning author of the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series. “Charming fairy-tale fun.” —Sarah Mlynowski, author of the New York Times bestselling Whatever After series.
Gilly wouldn’t call herself wicked, exactly…but when you have five little brothers and sisters and live in a run-down boot, you have to get creative to make ends meet. Gilly’s a pretty good thief (if she does say so herself).
Until she gets caught.
Gilly’s sentenced to three months at Fairy Tale Reform School where all of the teachers are former (super-scary) villains like the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen, and Cinderella’s Wicked Stepmother. Harsh. But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there’s more to this school than its heroic mission. There’s a battle brewing and Gilly has to wonder: can a villain really change?

MY TAKE:
I found the description for this book quite intriguing, so I just had to have it.

In Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked, Gilly's family has fallen on hard times since business at her father's shop has slowed down considerably. To put food on the table, Gilly resorts to stealing from royals. However, she ends up getting caught and sent to Fairy Tale Reform School. The school aims to reform wayward kids and fairy tale creatures and is run by former fairy tale baddies like Cinderella's stepmother. Ginny settles in okay at the school, however, things aren't as they seem, and all of Enchantasia may be in danger.

I liked the premise of the book. It could be a cartoon show on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. I can definitely see young kids enjoying the adventures of Gilly and her friends. Since it's a middle-grade book, the story is not too complex, but there's enough twists here to appeal to slightly older kids. I can't think of a similar book to this one, but if pressed, I'd say there's elements here of Harry Potter mixed with Disney and Shrek.

The world of Enchantsia was interesting too. It reminded me of a PC game I used to play around 8 years ago. There's all sorts of fairy tale creatures and references to rhymes, like Gilly who lives in a boot with her family.

The kingdom is ruled by royals, with Princesses Ella (Cinderella), Rose, Snow, and Rapunzel. Obviously a strange way to rule a kingdom, but hey, it's a fairy tale kingdom. Despite being a fairy tale kingdom, life isn't a fairy tale for everyone. As sad as it is, it's nice to see that this book doesn't ignore the reality that life isn't rosy for everyone.

I liked a lot of the characters in this book. Maxine was an underdog who's easy to root for, and Jax and his roommate Ollie were mischievous but not annoyingly so. Gilly's roommate Kayla was a flake for a huge portion of the book, so I didn't really care for her. As for Gilly, I didn't really like her for most of the book. Her boyishness was okay and helped her seem more realistic and easy to relate to. However, I disliked how she just shrugged off the bad things she was doing on the basis that it was for her siblings. Her heart was in the right place, but she was very misguided and stubbornly refused to acknowledge it. I really only warmed up to her during the last part of the book when she became a little bit more mature.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for the e-ARC. Publication date of Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked is on March 3, 2015.

THE GOOD:

  1. The world is fun to imagine.
  2. The premise is interesting.
  3. Gilly and her friends are easy to root for.

THE BAD:

  1. Gilly can be too stubborn for her own good sometimes.

READ IT IF:

  1. You like fairy tales.
  2. You're intrigued by stories of villains becoming heroes.
  3. You like stories with magical creatures in them. 

RATING:
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