Review: Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School, #1) by Jen Calonita

21996359Flunked by Jen Calonita

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Publication Date: March 3rd 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fairytales, Boarding School, Friendship

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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 didn’t think middle grade books that aren’t centered on mystery could surprise me, but there are two twists in this that made me pause and mentally rewind what I’d just read to put the clues together.

But despite those two surprising revelations, Flunked is pretty predictable in the sense that from the very beginning we guess when bad events are going to unfold and we pretty much already point at a culprit.

And that’s okay. I never expect fairytales to mind-boggle me. But I do expect them to be charming and enthralling and fun…

Flunked is indeed diverting… and that is it. In terms of characterization, it’s alright. There is no romance, which made me wonder why, but a lovely theme ubiquitously hovers about Gilly: friendship.

The school is not as extravagantly silly as I expected from a school that welcomes villainous children. It’s actually elegant… and unexpectedly small in terms of world-building for a school that always gets talked about.

Every time the princesses – Rapunzel, Snow or Ella – were mentioned, I hoped to see them, and more than simply in cameo style. Alas, they are not the star here, not at all. Gilly is.

Gilly, whom, and I frown at that, does not have any kind of power. Ahem, so what about that cover, ladies and gents? That wand? Gilly is human. False advertisement, people.

But again, it was fun for me. It’s fast-paced, there’s always some trouble somewhere to keep us interested and I’m genuinely curious about the sequel.


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7 thoughts on “Review: Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School, #1) by Jen Calonita

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