Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review! Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School #1)

FlunkedAuthor: Jen Calonita
257 Pages--Ages 10-13
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on March 3, 2015

Summary (from amazon.com):

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 steals 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 villain really change?



I first spotted this book when I was browsing around amazon.com. My initial hopes for this book are for it to have action, likable and memorable characters, and a distinctive and interesting world. I was surprised when I saw that the author was Jen Calonita because she is the author that wrote the Secrets to my Hollywood Life series which I read when I was younger. I read those books when they first came out and I remember enjoying them, but if you were to ask me what they were about I couldn't even give you a bare bones summary (basically the only thing I can remember is that it was about a famous teenage Hollywood star) so it didn't really stick with me. I only got through the first 3 books (or so) before I got tired of waiting for them to come out and I gave up. I'm hoping that I find this book much more memorable.

[caption id="attachment_148" align="alignright" width="200"]Author, Jen Calonita Author, Jen Calonita[/caption]

I have mixed feelings on this book, on one hand the premise sounds interesting on the other hand I hope it's not too similar to Hollywood Life because I lost interest in that series. I can see the book going either way though.


My first comment will be on the main character Gillian. She was extremely flawed and many young girls may be able to relate to her, but I just didn't like her all that much. She tries to justify her stealing habits like Robin Hood (stealing from the rich and giving to the poor) except I get the feeling that she's just bitter and has a sense of entitlement. She gets a little better as the story progresses and in the end when she finds out her younger sister is trying to steal things, I like how Gillian reprimanded her and told her it was wrong. It was nice character development and it was well needed.

Combined with the fact that I didn't really like/relate the Gillian the first half of the book was kind of slow paced. Not much interesting happened and it wasn't until the attacks started that the story picked up. The characters and their actions started to get a bit more interesting and there is a small "twist" in the story that I'm not going to tell, but let's just say it was a twist that I didn't expect, however at the same time it wasn't very original. I can't really say that I liked the twist but it's one that I can accept and live with.

In the end, this book leaves a lot open for its sequel (which I didn't expect there would be a sequel until I reached the last page and it said to tune in for the next installment). There are signs of a relationship brewing between Jax and Gillian along with Ollie and Maxine, unanswered questions such as Cleo's ominous warning, and Jocelyn's loyalty (is she a friend or foe?). It was a nice change to see that not all of the ex-villains were evil and I sincerely hope that it stays that way in the next installments of the series.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I will definitely tune in for the second one when it comes out. The second books is set to be titled Charmed and released on March 1, 2016 (according to amazon.com).

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