Would you send a villain to do a hero's job?
FLUNKED is the first book in the Fairy Tale Reform School series by Jen Calonita. It's fun and super cute for all ages. While I've seen a lot of "boarding school"-style fairy tale novels lately, none of them are quite like this. For one thing, the headmistress is Cinderella's evil stepmother, now reformed and helping save the kingdom from evil. She created and runs a school to help citizens in danger of becoming evil stay on a good path in order to help keep the peace.
Gillian Cobbler's family is very poor. Even though her father invented the fashionable glass slipper, when the fairy godmother stole his idea to help Cinderella discover her Happily Every After, everyone started commissioning her to make them shoes instead of the true inventor. Gilly steals from the Royals in order to help make ends meet. Upon being caught for the third time, she's forced out of the family boot and into reform school. Gilly hates being sent away because her family needs her in order to survive. When she discovers something amiss at Fairy Tale Reform School, she has to make a tough choice. But which decision will help her family more?
This new series is perfect for kids, and fun for fairy tale lovers of all ages. It explores family and friendship, as well as the plight of being a new student in a school you never wanted to attend in the first place. It also turns preconceptions upside down and keeps readers guessing. What is evil and what is good? Can villains change their nature? As Gilly learns, "True power is learning how to put others first and not judge a book by its cover, so to speak" (pg. 254, US E-ARC Edition).
If you get sentenced to Fairy Tale Reform School, it will help to have an ally.
Here's an excerpt from
There’s a boy up there, standing on the crystal chandelier! He has slightly curly blond hair and is wearing a uniform—a navy sweater vest over a white shirt with khaki pants—but his boots are muddy. He’s stepping on priceless crystals with cruddy boots? Is he insane?
“Jax! What are you doing up there?” Kayla whispers heatedly.
“I’m cleaning the crystal for Flora,” Jax says and rolls his eyes. “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m making
a break for it.”
Kayla applauds. “Yay! This time I know you can do it.”
I shade my eyes from the light bursting through the stained-glass window next to the chandelier Jax is perched on. “Busting out? Why?” I ask Kayla. “I thought you said this place was cool.”
Jax laughs loudly and looks at me. I feel slightly stunned. I’ve never seen violet eyes before. “FTRS was fun for a while, but strange things have started happening and I don’t want to be here when something bad goes down.”
Strange things? What kind of strange things? Why does Kayla suddenly look pale?
“He’s exaggerating,” Kayla tells me, but she doesn’t sound convincing.
Drip. Whatever Jax is holding is leaking. Kayla and I move out of the way so we don’t get wet. “Grease,” Jax explains to me. “It lubes the window.” He swings the chandelier, and as it nears the window, he uses a fork to try to pry the window open. “A few more tries and I’ll have it.”
“Then what are you going to do, genius?” I ask. “You’re two stories up.”
Jax’s eyes gleam. “I’ve jumped from higher spots before.”
“It’s true,” Kayla says to me. “Jax once jumped from the gym to the dining hall turret. That was three stories up. We call him the Escape Artist. One time he even managed to break into Azalea and Dahlia’s rooms and borrowed their keys to the indoor pool so the whole dorm could take a midnight swim.”
“Impressive,” I tell him. “And I thought I was good at tricking obnoxious royals.”
“She stole a dragon’s tooth clip from one this morning,” Kayla fills him in.
“Nice,” Jax says. “Your first pull?”
“No, I’ve been doing it for a while,” I brag.
“Me too,” Jax says. “My father is a farmer. You can only get so far trading vegetables. I needed to kick things up a notch.”
For some reason, I don’t think any of us are going to make the transformation Headmistress Flora is looking for. “Why do you want to break out so bad?”
“I’ve got places to see, and Enchantasia isn’t one of them.” Jax swings the chandelier so hard the crystals clang together. The window latch pops open, and I watch Jax leap from the chandelier to the tiny window ledge. I’m in awe. Jax looks down at us smugly before pushing open the window. “Are you sure you two don’t want to join me?”
“There’s no time for us,” Kayla says. “Get out of here. Wait!” Her eyes widen. “You deactivated the alarm on the window, right?”
“There isn’t one,” Jax insists. “If there was, I wouldn’t be able to do this.” But when Jax lifts the window, we hear:
EEEEEE! EEEE! EEEE! Unauthorized exit! Unauthorized exit!
The shrieking sound is so intense that Kayla and I cover our ears. Within seconds, Flora is out of her office and running toward us.
I feel something brush past me and I whirl around. When I look up at Jax again, a large, muscular man with a long mane of hair is hanging on to the window ledge, his furry hands pulling Jax back by his shirt. How did the man get up there without a ladder?“Mr. Jax,” the man says in a low growl, “we really must stop meeting like this.”
Ready to check out
FLUNKED: FAIRY TALE REFORM SCHOOL?
FLUNKED: FAIRY TALE REFORM SCHOOL?
1 of 5 copies of FLUNKED!