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.Flunked by Jen Calonita
Series: Fairy Tale Reform School #1
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on March 3, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Length: 5 hours 17 minutes
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.
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 villain really change?
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.