Over in our Interviews section, Soman Chainani, author of The School for Good and Evil, shared some advice for kid writers in his conversation with V.V. Ganeshananthan:
“Kids are always told to write a lot and just keep writing, but I think that’s silly. I’d much rather them write one thing over and over until it’s perfect. What I tell kids is, when you finish a story, read it to your friends, read it to your parents, read it to your dog. And get suggestions, feedback, emotional reaction, and keep rewriting it. That’s the only way to get better. No one gets better by writing endless first drafts.”
10-year-old writer Kavi K offers his take on Chainani’s bestselling fairy-tale adventure:
In The School for Good and Evil, Agatha and Sophie live in Gavaldon, a town that believes in fairy tales. They believe that someone entitled “The School Master” has been kidnapping two children—one beautiful and good, the other an outcast at birth—each year for 200 years to take to the School for Good and Evil, where kids are trained to be either a villain or a hero in a fairy tale. Sophie, a young girl that cares mostly about beauty, wishes to be whisked away so that she can live out her “Happily Ever After;” whereas Agatha, a grouchy, “ugly” girl, does not believe in the school, nor wants to be taken there. Yet, they are both kidnapped. Sophie expects herself to be in the school for Good, and anticipates Agatha to be put in Evil. The two end up getting switched: Agatha is dropped in Good and Sophie in Evil. While both think in the beginning that it was a mistake, they slowly start to question their original prediction.
By the end of The School for Good and Evil, it becomes more recognizable why the two were placed in schools they didn’t expect to be in. They meet Tedros, King Arthur’s son, and while they both want him to kiss Sophie so the two can go home, he finds himself attracted to Agatha instead. He then asks Agatha to the Snow Ball, the school’s most awaited event of the year. Driven by jealousy and the need for vengeance, Sophie finds that her fairy tale’s nemesis is not Tedros, but Agatha. Teamed up with Hester, Anadil, and Dot, her roommates, Sophie goes rogue, and crashes the Circus of Talents, where every student, both Good and Evil, displays his or her best talents. After casting a ‘Petrification Spell’ on the teachers that makes them stay in whatever position they’re in until the caster takes it off, Sophie destroys Good, trying to kill Agatha. The conflict gets so tense that even the School Master gets involved and there are many exciting and shocking things, until the end.
I highly enjoyed this book, though it is directed mainly toward female readers. It is a book that has you turning to the next page constantly once you start reading. One of my favorite parts of the book was the way both Agatha and Sophie changed, and how the other characters developed in the story. Overall, the book was very good, and I highly recommend it to you.