Children's Literature · Modern Fantasy · Review

Flunked by Jen Calonita

Flunked by Jen CalonitaSynopsis from Goodreads:

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 meant to post this some time in March since Flunked was released then. So, the only way I can make it up to you is to post the link to the quiz: Which Fairy Tale Reform School Professor Should Be Your Mentor? I got Madame Cleo! Here it is a month late. 

In Jen Calonita’s Flunked, Cinderella’s wicked stepmother felt so full of regret that she founded a reform school. The Fairy Tale Reform School would turn criminals into upstanding members of society. Gilly Cobbler has a history of theft, but she got unlucky a third time which means she is to be shipped off to Fairy Tale Reform School. She plans to escape as soon as possible. When she meets friends Kayla and Jax, she learns there is more to the school than its founding mission. Wicked things are brewing in this school of villains.

I received this electronic Advanced Readers Copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a decent and quick read, but I think it would be liked only by children. I wish there had been more depth to the novel since I love fairy tales.

Gilly was the only character with development. However, I liked her back-story. She is one of the children of the Little Old Lady in the Shoe, and her family starves because of a fairy.

The world-building was good. I liked the explanation, mainly through newsletter, of what has happened since “the end” of each fairy tale. The history of Fairy Tale Reform School is interesting, but it does not explain how Cinderella’s stepmother reformed the professors. It’s ironic that everyone knows they have been in a fairy tale since it’s part of the school’s name.

The theme of this book, and the mission of the school, is that villains can become heroes. The only problem is that Gilly wasn’t evil to begin with. She only stole to help her family.

The cover is pretty, but it gives the impression to me that it is Young Adult when it is meant for a younger audience. It also makes Gilly look like a witch when she is not a magic user. I liked the kingdom newsletters, announcing history and school events.

If you’re looking for a quick read for a kid who likes fairy tales, this is the book for you.

Genres: Children’s Fiction, Fairy Tale

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

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