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?
"Fairy Tale Reform School is spellbinding and wickedly clever. Gilly is smart, spunky, and a hilarious narrator, and I cannot wait to read about her next adventure!" -Leslie Margolis, author of the Annabelle Unleashed novels and the Maggie Brooklyn mysteries
"Fairy Tale Reform School is a fresh and funny take on the enchanted world. (And who hasn't always wanted to know what happened to Cinderella's stepmother?)" -Julia DeVillers, author of the Trading Faces identical twin series and Emma Emmets, Playground Matchmaker
About the Author
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Fairy Tale Reform School
By Jen Calonita
Sourcebooks, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Jen Calonita
All rights reserved.
Sometimes spying on low-level royals can be so boring.
They're easy to spot the minute they leave their precious royal world behind. With their pricy clothes, made-up faces, and clouds of perfume wafting behind them, girls like that stick out like sore thumbs when they get dropped off in town in their flashy carriages.
So far this afternoon, I've tailed this bunch from the Gnomeolia Bakery (where they made fun of the gnome serving them their rhubarb cupcakes) to the One Enchanted Evening dress shop (where they scoffed at having dresses spun out of cotton even though there is a silk shortage). Neither shop was a good place for me to steal some loot from them.
But at Combing the Sea, which is overflowing with the most exotic trinkets money can buy, a person could easily be distracted by glittery things ... and accidentally "lose" something. There are racks upon racks of fancy hats and veils, and tables piled high with velvet and silk purses and scarves — everything a princess-in-training might need if she doesn't have a fairy godmother to whip it up for her.
But the jewelry and tiaras are what these royals are desperate to get their hands on.
And they haven't even noticed me following them at all. Ha!
On the other hand, Neil, the shop owner, has. Trolls are good at sniffing out trouble, and he knows my reputation.
"Need help with something, Gilly?" he asks, eyeing me warily as he polishes the jewelry counter for the fourth time.
"Just looking." I make eye contact so he knows I'm not scared of him. What can he do? So far, I'm just a twelve-year-old potential customer. I can't get kicked out for browsing, can I?
To blend in, I grab a ruby tiara and plop it on my head. I giggle when I see myself in the mirror. Me, the shoemaker's oldest daughter, the tomboy with the frizzy brown hair and freckles, in a tiara! One of the royals turns around and frowns. Uh-oh. One look at my overalls and she'll know I can't even afford to buy hair ribbons in this place. I've learned that when I'm stealing goods, it's best if my mark barely notices I'm here. I put the mark at ease so she isn't suspicious, then disappear like fairy dust so she can't even remember the color of my hair. Later, when she's filling out a Dwarf Police Squad report, she won't recall anything out of the ordinary about her day.
I smile, which catches the blond off guard. "Where did you find that amazing boa?" I pretend to look through silk throws on the table in front of me. "I've been looking for one just like it. Not that it would look that good on me. It looks gorgeous on you."
"Doesn't it?" Blondie grins and turns back to the full-length mirror. "It was the last one though, and I'm definitely taking it. Sorry." She smiles thinly. Blondie doesn't look sorry. I won't be either when her hair clip is mine.
"Oh well." I sigh. "I'll have to find something else to get. Thanks!"
"Good luck." The mini royal wraps the boa around her neck twice. It looks like a giant snake ready to squeeze her. "Pink must be my color," she says as the other girls crowd around her.
"It is!" The others fluff her hair and play with the boa like they are professional royal stylists getting her ready for a ball that evening.
"Try it with your hair up," I suggest, and the other girls nod.
Blondie removes the clip from her hair.
I watch what Blondie does next like it's happening in slow motion. This is the moment I've been waiting for. The mini royal drops the glittery golden clip on a table with half a dozen pairs of earrings and forgets all about it.
At least I'm hoping she forgets all about it.
That clip is the reason I'm here. I've been following Blondie and her gaggle of friends around all afternoon, waiting for a time to lift it. It has to be worth ten gold coins, at least. Maybe more. Dragon's tooth products are rare in the kingdom of Enchantasia, and smuggling in goods from other kingdoms has gotten harder now that Princess Ella has cracked down on crooks. Yeah, that Princess Ella, otherwise known as Cinderella. She and the other princesses — Snow White, Rose (a.k.a. the expert sleeper), and Rapunzel — all reign over our kingdom together like one big, happy family.
I hear the princesses have their own issues co-ruling, but their issues can't compare to those of us in the village — the trolls, ogres, gnomes, fairies, and other creatures that are lumped into the commoner category. Money is tough to come by. I could buy a lot with that one clip Blondie has carelessly tossed aside.
I stare at the clip wistfully, then notice Neil out of the corner of my eye. He's looking at me again. I know better than to make my move yet. I walk to another table and pretend to be interested in magic wand holders. Like I would ever carry a sparkly, pink wand holder. Eww.
I notice Blondie pulling up her hair with a ribbon and the girls clapping.
"Much better!" one says and gives her own curls a flip with her hand.
I've always wondered how girls like that get anything done with hair so high-maintenance. Do they spend all day combing their locks? Have to sleep with rollers in their hair? The advertisements for Rapunzel's new hair-care line say her shampoo helps you do away with all that primping. That's why my ten-year-old sister, Anna, wants Rapunzel's shampoo. But I say, what for? At Enchantasia Trade, where I go to school, doing your hair would be a total waste. When you go to shoemaker classes like we do, there is not much need for luminous hair.
Blondie spins around and squeals. "I'm going to get the boa to wear to Petra's thirteenth birthday party."
A snort escapes my lips. Thirteenth birthday party. I won't be having one of those. I'll be lucky if Mother has time to make me a cake with all the hours she puts in with Father at the shoe shop. Uh-oh. All the girls turn and look at me. So does Neil. I start to cough. "Sorry. I think one of the feathers from your boa flew into my mouth."
Blondie turns to Neil and frowns. "Your boas shed?" She quickly unwraps the one around her neck. "Umm, I think I'll pass then."
"I can assure you," Neil says, his stare at me darkening. "My boas do not shed."
That was foolish of me. If Blondie walks out of this shop with her clip, I'll have a tougher time snagging it. People drop things in a place like Combing the Sea all the time. Buying daisies at Everything's Rosy? Not so much. I need to fix this. Time for a distraction.
"Actually, I don't think it was a feather I swallowed," I say, squeezing into the conversation. "These boas definitely do not shed. My cousin has had a feather skirt from here for years, and it still looks like she just bought it."
"Feather skirt?" Blondie's eyes light up. "Oh, I have to have one of those. Neil, do something with this." She drops the boa on the floor and runs to the other end of the store. That's so like a royal.
"I call it first to wear to Laurence's!" says a tall girl with a big nose.
"No fair!" The group heads to the tiny apparel department in the back corner of the shop, and Neil's eyes glow like the gold coins he'll soon be getting. Skirts are way more expensive than boas. See? Neil's lucky to have me. I'm making him money!
I inch my way back toward the table and pick up a crystal hairpin lying next to my clip. I turn it over a couple of times and gaze at it like I'm considering buying it. The girls are still talking about that silly birthday party. I wonder what it would be like to have nothing to worry about other than what filling to pick for my birthday cake.
My hand dangles over the clip.
"Are these made with ostrich feathers?" the tall girl asks Neil.
Closer, closer ...
"Ostrich feathers are totally in right now!" Blondie chimes in.
I cover the clip with my hand. It's warm beneath my fingers.
Almost there ...
I slide it into the sleeve of my brown jacket with one quick motion.
I head to the door, making sure to reach up and hold the bell on top so it doesn't jingle when I exit. Then I'm out and heading down the alley next to the shop before anyone even notices I'm gone.
Told you it was easy. Like taking lunch from a sleeping ogre.CHAPTER 2
The Great Escape
After a mega score like that dragon's tooth comb, I always head home.
No gloating to fellow thieves about my take. No stopping for bread at Gnome-olia Bakery (even if it smells heavenly). And this is definitely not the time to go to the Arabian Nights Pawn Shop to cash in. That is a classic rookie mistake.
Now is the time to blend in, stay out of sight. Disappear.
Never, ever run.
Running is like asking to be followed by the dwarf squad and their henchmen. That's Enchantasia's police. Snow White's dwarves got sick of the mines but love their pickaxes, so Snow found them a job where they could still use weapons — law enforcement.
The squad was a joke at first — not many people are afraid of dwarves — but then Princess Ella got wise and hired a bunch of guys who are rumored to be half ogre to be the squad's muscle. Those guys are scary. They could break you in half with their pudgy pinkie fingers. Now crime has gone way down ... but it hasn't disappeared. To stay ahead of the ogres, I've had to be smarter about my marks. Royals are still easy targets, but I can't be sloppy.
My eyes scan the village laid out in front of me like a map. I watch as shopkeepers call out end-of-the-day deals (half-price bread, free shoe shining with any repair, a sale on scarves for the coming winter). I ignore them all, even if my family could use the scarves. Our boot is always cold. I hurry down the cobblestone streets, switching my route home from the way I came this morning. You never want to be seen in the same spot twice when you're in the middle of a caper.
I hurry past the pricier shops and restaurants I wouldn't dare enter because I'm not of royal blood. I pull up the collar of my coat when I walk past the marketplace where commoners are buying their nightly fish or fresh vegetables from farmers. I skip the row where magical goods are being illegally traded. The dwarf squad is undercover in that row all the time.
When I enter the busy town square, I exhale slightly. With so many people and carriages around, it's easy to blend in. Schoolchildren from the Royal Academy are carelessly throwing their coins in the fountain. (Thief tip: Never steal from those waters. They're always being watched.) Someone from Happily Ever After Scrolls is trying to sell mini magical scrolls (their latest invention) and is drawing a crowd. A carriage driver is offering rides home for two pence, and royal carriages are lined up in the valet area waiting to take the royals' loot home. One look at the dimming skyline and you remember where your place is in Enchantasia. We commoners live down in the village, while high on the hill, the silver turrets of Royal Manor gleam bright as if to say, "You'll never climb your way up here."
I hear a neigh and then a "whoa," and I turn back toward the fountain, quickly pulling my hood over my head.
"You there!" I freeze. "Have you seen anyone running through the square with a green satchel?" says Pete, the chief of the dwarf squad, in a deep voice that makes him sound much more menacing than he looks. "The baker has lost his shipment for Royal Manor, which was waiting on his steps to be taken to the castle."
I picture Pete high on his horse, looking tough although he isn't even three feet tall on the ground. With his pudgy midsection (he likes cinnamon rolls) and long black beard, he resembles a troll. But his wide, red nose and oversized ears remind me he's a dwarf. The two of us have a love-hate relationship. I've gotten out of a few jams by feeding him info about other thieves, but when I catch a big haul, he comes after me hard.
"Nah," says the small boy standing right next to me. "Haven't seen nuthin'."
Pete sighs and I exhale. "You mean 'I haven't Seen anything.' Schools these days," he mumbles. "Okay, go about your business. Find Olaf if you hear of anything." I hear Pete kick the horse's sides with his small feet and gallop off into the square.
I reach into the pocket of my overalls Mother just patched and give the boy two pence. "Thanks, kid," I say, patting the satchel under my cloak. I lifted that this afternoon when the royals left the bakery. No surprise it took Pete 'til now to realize it was gone.
Then I disappear through a narrow alleyway off the square that leads to the smaller, poorer streets on my side of town where oversized teacups, boots, and thatched huts replace the nicer brick buildings. The streets are already dark — we don't have lanterns to light the way — but I would know this trail blindfolded. I hurry past the panhandler, dropping a biscuit into his outstretched hand, and move toward the smell of shoe polish that always leads me home. My boot is one of four on this tiny block. With one last look around to make sure I am not being followed, I turn the key and head inside.
"Gilly!" My four-year-old twin brothers, Han and Hamish, knock me backward into the door I just came through. They're so light, they roll off me. I see they got into the shoe polish again. There is black all over their cheeks, foreheads, and identical plaid rompers.
"What did you get?" Six-year-old Trixie, with her rosy cheeks and bright red hair, runs into the room at the sound of the collision. "Jam? Cheese? That good pepperoni you got last week?"
"Shh...." Felix, my five-year-old brother, hushes her as he comes down the ladder from the loft where we all sleep in bunk beds. Felix is the wise-beyond-his-years one and looks the most like Father. His dark brown eyes seem to see right through me. "You didn't get caught, did you?"
"No," I assure him and lift my cloak to reveal a satchel full of dinner rolls. My siblings try to grab some. "Wait!" I say, looking around the room. We can barely fit in the living room despite only having a fireplace and one shabby couch.
The walls of the boot have patches to keep out the cold from cracks in the leather exterior. The patches look like paintings, of which we have none. A single drawing of a field of lilies hangs above our fireplace. My sister Anna drew it one night when we were too cold to sleep. The cuckoo clock on the wall chimes six, and I know Father will be home from the shop soon. "Where's Mother?"
"Mother is in the kitchen with Anna, finishing her birthday cake," Trixie says. "Do you want me to go around the back of the boot, knock, and leave the rolls there again?"
"Yes, after you've each eaten a roll first." I open the satchel again and let them each take a roll. They devour the bread within seconds.
The shoe business isn't what it used to be and money is scarce. Sure, we have three meals, if you call half a cup of chicken broth a meal. If it weren't for my hauls from the market, my siblings would waste away. Instead, the twins finally have a little weight on them and the dark rings around Trixie's eyes have disappeared.
I do what I can to help out around here. And that includes making sure my siblings are fed enough and get a birthday gift. I could buy a lot with that dragon tooth clip I stole today, but the minute I saw it, I knew I was going to keep it for Anna. The green in the clip matches her eyes, and I could picture her using it to pull back her long hair. She will never let that clip out of her sight, unlike that spoiled royal. That's for sure.
That's why I targeted Blondie today. I only pluck from people who can afford to lose things. Royals can definitely afford to lose a few trinkets. So can the baker whose business is booming and who treats Mother poorly whenever she comes in to see if he has any day-old bread on sale. The royals are part of the reason we live in this overcrowded boot, so I don't feel bad taking from them.
"Gilly? Is that you?" I hear Mother's voice and quickly give Trixie the satchel to deposit on the back steps.
Mother looks tired as she comes over to give me a hug, smelling like a mixture of flour and leather, which means she must have had to help Father in the shop earlier. I sink into her like I would a soft pillow.
"You okay?" she asks. Her blue eyes look tired. "Your cheeks are flushed."
Excerpted from Flunked by Jen Calonita. Copyright © 2015 Jen Calonita. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was very entertaining with some unexpected twists. I cant wait for the next book. Age level 8-15
Great book. Exited for the sequal :)
Amusing, witty and full of magic - FLUNKED has a wonderful assortment of fairytales and their characters, most notably, their villains. A wonderful book that will make you think about what defines the good from the bad, giving second chances and who your true friends are. Gilly is a 12 year old who has developed a Robin Hood complex due to her father's dying shoemaking business. She steals from the nobles in order to help put food in her siblings bellies and smiles on their faces. One of six siblings who live in a shoe, Gilly has brought it onto herself to take the risks to do what she can. She knows that if she is caught she will be sent to Fairytale Reform School and her siblings will suffer. When Gilly pulls off her biggest heist to date, she is completely unaware of the trail she leaves behind until she is caught. Having to see the disappointment on her families faces is hard, but being sent away to school is even worse. Who will help and look after her siblings. Fairytale Reform School was founded by the reformed "Wicked Stepmother", Flora. After realizing how badly she mistreated Ella, Flora decided to change her ways and what better way to complete the process than to extend a hand to others who have done wrong and help them find a way to better themselves. After reforming these "villains", she recruited them to do something worthy with themselves within society and asked them to join her faculty at the school. A few of these memorable characters are - the Werewolf that ate Little Red's grandmother, the Sea Witch and the Evil Queen, who is still obsessed with apples. The school itself resembles a castle - with ornate rooms and furniture, and nothing is lacking. Gilly's classes and meals are better than anything else she's ever had in her life. She feels guilty for not being able to take care of her siblings, but also, for living better than them too. However, strange things have been happening at the school. Unexplained disappearances and teachers and students acting differently... something is happening. And Gilly and her friends are going to find out what it is. What I love most about this book is Gilly's personality, she is very strong-minded and not only sticks up for what she believes in but for others too. She won't tolerate any type of bullying towards anyone and is very loyal to what and who she believes in. Gilly is definitely someone you can count on. Her new friends all fit an important role in her life and situation. There is a little magic here and there, but by all means, this is no fairytale where magic fixes everything and things are swept away with a swish of a wand. Everyone has to work hard and your best is always expected. The story is wonderfully written and told strictly from Gilly's point of view, primarily through conversations and her thoughts. We see and know precisely what Gilly does without unnecessary details, which is exactly what my boys enjoy. Fun, sassy and bold - we cannot wait to read the next book in this series! One of the best middle grade books of this year! *I received an eARC from the publisher for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
** spoiler alert ** Such a fun read! I devoured this one quickly and want the second one to come out much sooner than is planned :( I think this is what would've happened if Harry Potter's world was based on fairy tales. There's a crazy plot, steadfast friendships, and plenty of classes to attend. Here's what you need to know! Pros: Main character is NOT a well-known fairy tale character, which means she has lots of room for personality Quick, easy reading Twist ending matched the narrative without feeling out-of-place All the villains had ACTUAL names Thieving skills being put to practical uses (w/ good explanations) Cons: Jocelyn was a static character How can a prince be undercover w/o any of the main royals knowing about his existence? Fairy's weird turn at the end My favorite reformed villain-turned-teacher would be the Sea Siren from Little Mermaid. Her and her classroom were very amusing. I look forward to more from this author and especially from these characters!
I love fairy tale retellings! There are so many great middle grade series about fairy tales these days. After reading Misfits, which is set in the same world as this series, I wanted to check out Jen Calonita’s other fairy tale books. In this book, Gillian, a cobbler’s daughter, is sent to the Fairy Tale Reform School after being caught stealing. The school is meant to reform kids in the fairy tale school. It is run by Flora, who was Cinderella’s stepmother. The teachers are reformed villains, such as the Big Bad Wolf, the Sea Witch, and the Evil Queen. This story was very fast paced. There was lots happening in the story. Since there were so many villains, it was hard to know who to trust. It made the story more exciting, because it was unpredictable. I really enjoyed this story! I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!
This story is awesome because it hooks kids into wanting to read it. The storyline is very intriguing since it is about magic. Loved this story and i rate it 5 stars!
As a grandmother, I try to read the books before giving them to my grandchildren. This series is an awesome find. Clever take on familiar fairy tales. Definitely a great gift for my granddaughters, ages 10 - 13. Writing was fitting with age group and problem solving plots get and A plus.
AWFUL! Don't bother with this one! It makes no sense and I dumped it after a couple chapters. Thank goodness the ebook was free!
*Was given a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review* It actually took me a couple of chapters to get into it for some reason. I don't know why. In the beginning we see that Gilly steals things from royals so she can help provide for her family and thinks she's doing this for good reasons. But then she gets caught for the third time and gets sent to the reform school. At first she hates it and sees Flora up to no good- can the Evil Stepmother truly be good now? So she hopes to find something worth as blackmail to get out of there. Instead she stumbles upon something bigger and needs to be a hero her friends need. Flunked is a light, fun, and charming story. I was breezing through it and sometimes I was even sitting on the edge of my seat. I absolutely love the school building! The inside is constantly changing, the halls are moving and I truly loved this element, I think this was my favorite part of the book! I also enjoyed the classes that she went to but I was hoping for more magical classes. The classes we saw were a bit boring but I understand why she needs those lessons. I was just expecting more. Also, I felt like this story was moving fast. Like, she's there one day and the next she's completely comfortable there. That just seems odd. Maybe it was just because I was flowing through it so quickly. It is an easy read after all. Sometimes things were moving seriously fast that I didn't feel any connection to any of the characters. I feel like we learn only little bits of them, just things you can see with your eyes. And I understand why we didn't see much of Gilly's roomie, I saw that coming a mile away. Overall, I enjoyed it though I think I was hoping for more magic. I don't know, there was magic but I thought maybe Gilly would be learning it and she does but we don't get to see it. Hopefully in the next book. And the little twist at the end was great but I felt like it was too easy for them to defeat the bad guy. But we do know they'll be back, so we'll see how things go down in the next one, Charmed.
A school meant to reform villains has got to be one of the best ideas ever! Aside from my love of reading retellings of fairy tales, it is what drew me to this book. I mean, who doesn’t want to read a book about the better known villains and possible up and coming villains going to school to learn how to reform their evil ways? This story takes place in Enchantasia and is ruled by the four Princesses – Rose, Snow, Rapunzel, and Ella. Though their names may confuse you a bit they are better known as Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Rapunzel (I guess Calonita didn’t feel like renaming her) and Cinderella. The four rule the kingdom of Enchantasia in harmony. However, not everyone is happy with how they do things. Especially those who are not of royal blood. This brings us to our main character – Gillian Cobbler. Gilly is the daughter of the cobbler and lives in a worn down shoe with her parents and 5 brothers and sisters. There is little to no room in the shoe and there is definitely not enough food to go around, especially since the Princesses have decided that the Fairy Godmother can make all the glass slippers for the kingdom. With the lack of money and the desire to help her family at all costs Gilly steals so that she can help provide the things that her brother and sisters need to survive. Unfortunately for Gilly, while she is off stealing food and a present to give her sister on her birthday, she gets caught. Being her third offense she is then sent to Fairy Tale Reform School (FTRS) and is to remain there until she can correct her evil ways and follow good. The Fairy Tale Reform School was created by Flora, Ella’s evil Step Mother. Reportedly Flora saw the evil of her ways and wanted to help other villains find their way to good instead of evil. There are some well known faces amongst the teachers at FTRS. There is Professor Harlow (the Evil Queen), Professor Wolfington (the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood), and Madame Cleo (the Sea Siren/Witch from Little Mermaid). These ex villains have found it in their hearts help others find good in the world like they have. Or have they? Some thing seems a little off at the school and Gilly plans to figure out what it is. She has to do this while keeping her head down and being on her best behavior, even if she doesn’t feel like it so that she can get out and get back to her thieving ways. Her family is counting on her after all. This story was brilliantly crafted. Jen Calonita must have really stretched her imagination and creativity bone out to be able to come up with this world. There are so many different fairy tales and aspects of fairy tales throughout the story that it is impossible to name every one of them. It is quite a complex world when it comes to a middle grade book. That is not to say that there weren’t some rough spots in the story. There were a few times I found myself wondering “how did that person get there?” or “who is that character again?”This is a problem which ultimately I had to lower my rating of the book for. The idea behind the story was top notch in my opinion, but sadly there were a few execution issues. Find the rest of my review here: http://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com/
I was really excited to read this book. I love fairy tale re-imaginings like the TV show Once Upon a Time. In this book, Gilly, one of the children who lives in a shoe, is sent to reform school after stealing from the royals three times. The school is run by Flora, the wicked step-mother of Ella (Cinderella). Other reformed villains teach at the school. The idea is creative and fun. Unfortunately, I was very distracted by all of the similarities to the Harry Potter books, especially The Sorcerer's Stone. No author should ever try to match J.K. Rowling. It's impossible to reach that high standard. The world Jen Calonita creates is interesting, the friendships were cute, and the adventure was pretty fun, but I just didn't really get into this book all that much. Luckily it was a quick read. Maybe kids would enjoy it more than I did. It does set up well for a full series, but I won't be reading any additional books. http://momsradius.blogspot.com/2015/07/book-review-flunked-mg.html
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. 3.5 stars. I remember when I broke my oath to stay away from NetGalley for a while to pick up Flunked. I saw it on Michelle's Sunday Post and I had to have it - I mean, look at that cover! Although I did enjoy it, I'm afraid I didn't love Flunked like I thought I would. I think the principal reason I didn't love it was that I was the wrong audience. I think I went into expecting a YA and I got a Middle Grade. I think it's probably entirely my fault - looking at the details now, I realize it wasn't marketed as a YA. I should have paid more attention. But, it's not like being an MG is a deal breaker. Harry Potter started off MG (I feel it grew into YA), and I ate that up (still do). Flunked actually had several similarities to Harry Potter, particularly in the Howards-esque Fairy tale Reform School and the brave students/troublemakers. I enjoyed these elements, because - while they felt familiar - they still bore their own unique stamps. I liked the characters and the concept - take the villains of fairy tales and show them on the course to redemption, while they teach youngsters who are in danger of becoming villains on their own to pick a better course. And Flunked had several messages about how to make good decisions, despite disappointments, disadvantages, and setbacks. Flunked was entertaining and I'm thinking it might be a great book to make available to my 5th graders. I just would have preferred the YA version for myself, I think.
I thought it was great.
Funny, worth the effort
This is a fun read packed with a little bit of snarkiness, a good dose of mischief, danger, secret agendas, attitude, magic, quirkiness and tons of references to popular fairy tales along the way. In other words, it a book with punch. The main heroine, Gilly, is one of many siblings living in the shoe maker's shoe. Since Cinderella let the Fairy Godmother simply magic up all future glass slippers instead of ordering them from the shoe maker, Gilly's family is poor and barely making it by. Gilly loves her family and helps them the only way she can: she steals from the rich to buy food for her brothers and sisters. Gilly gets caught and ends up in reform school, where Cinderella's step-mother, in attempts to redeem herself, teaches potentially 'gone astray' kids how to become heroes and heroines. Gilly is quite the character. She's a thief, she's got attitude and she has a mouth. She isn't evil—her heart is in the right place—but she's everything but sweet. But then, nobody at reform school is extremely lovable. These flawed characters are exactly what tweens will love. This borders right along the line between childish fun and teenage drama, causing an exciting and quirky mix. Plus, there's action. Tons of it. With many of the 'evil' characters from fairy tales running this school, it's hard to know which ones are honestly trying to reform and which ones are acting. It makes it impossible to guess who the real bad guy is or where the danger is coming from, when the plot starts to thicken. Even Gilly's friends crowd the gray-zone, all bordering on becoming villains themselves. Fans of fairy tales and magic battles will love this one, especially those ages 12 to 16. It's light on the emotional end, keeping focus on the fast paced plot, and holds many problems this age group will understand and identify with.
Flunked shows that the bad choices that you make in life don't always work the way you want them to. If you suspence and action then you should read this book.
Fun book for middle school readers.
This is a fun, quick read that tweens will like. When Gillian gets caught stealing, she is sentenced to time in the Fairy Tale Reform School. The school is run by ex-villains who are trying to change the troubled youth placed in their care. It isn't long before Gillian figures out that something fishy is going on at the school and it might not be as safe as it first appeared. While I liked some of this author's other novels better, this book was a fun, lighthearted adventure that was enjoyable to read. The action scenes were quick and didn't get too tense. The general feel of the book was upbeat and fun. The only romance is Gillian noticing the vibrant color of a boy's eyes. It's a squeaky clean magical tale appropriate for kids ages 10 and up. Content: clean Source: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Oh this was fun – a twisted fairy tale mash up with villains that are not so villainous, and a plot to overthrow the “princesses gone wrong”. A fun romp through some of the secondary characters as they repent and plot in this lovely story. A bit uncomplicated, there are twists and turns, but none are quite as multi-layered as they could have been. Gilly is a child that lived in the shoe: after stealing to earn money (yes, the cupboards were bare) she is sent to reform school. Here we meet the teachers of Enchantasia: the reformed villains of the tales, Cinderella’s wicked stepmother as headmistress being one of the bigger names. Narrated in 12 year old Gilly’s voice, her descriptions are just what could be expected: a bit older than her years at some times, and then completely and utterly twelve in others. These are young teens and tweens, and often their decisions and insight reflect that fact, feeling wholly appropriate and just plain old fun. While there is a plot afoot, truly this story is about Gilly: repenting for her bad (or are they really) ways and learning to work with her new friends, as she learns who she is, and how she relates to the world around her. Plenty of twists and turns keep the story intriguing, with secondary characters that are engaging and fun, if lacking a bit in development. This story is fun, and doesn’t take itself too seriously even as the issues that Gilly faces are often important ones. I’m hoping this is the first in a series of stories, so we can see more of the world through other characters’ eyes. Perfect for the 11 – 15 year old readers who want a fast-paced light read with a touch of mystery and plenty of moments to laugh. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Kiss ur hand three times post this on three other books and look under ur pillow
I have never read this book before but i f looks awsome
Flunked takes us on a not so typical fairy tale adventure. Flora is one of the children that live in the shoe. The fairy princesses in charge have enacted a magical shoe production, a production that has devastated Flora’s family financially. To make ends meet, Flora has taken to a not so legal means to earning money…she is stealing. Because of her indiscretions she is sent to Fairy Tale Reform School. Fairy Tale reform school is filled with the misfits, the students, and “reformed” villains, the teachers, of Enchantasia. Flora and her group of new found friends uncover a plot to over through the princesses with the Reform School playing a key role in the evil revolution. Twisted tales have become very popular of late in both adult and children literature. Flunked is Jen Calonita’s imaginative take on this new teen and tween storyline. In her telling, Calonita uses reformed villains to pull the “at risk of becoming villain” children back into their societies norms. She also uses the not so hero/heroine characters as the only hope to save Enchantasia. The story is absolutely based for a younger audience. I found it enjoyable but written with the young at heart, with their decision making and actions fitting their ages. It had plenty of action and twists that also opens a lot of directions for further installments in this series. For me, I found it to be a little to uncomplicated for 5 stars but I’m sure this will be a huge hit with the tween crowd.