Thursday, March 3, 2016

Charmed ~ Jen Calonita (earc) review [@jabberwockykids @JenCalonita]

Charmed (Fairy Tale Reform School #2)
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
March 01, 2016
288 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Sometimes it's good to be bad...

Charmed is the exciting sequel to the wildly popular Flunked -- second in the brand new Fairy Tale Reform School series where the teachers are (former) villains. "Charming fairy-tale fun." --Sarah Mlynowski, author of the New York Times bestselling Whatever After series.

It takes a (mostly) reformed thief to catch a spy. Which is why Gilly Cobbler, Enchantasia's most notorious pickpocket, volunteers to stay locked up at Fairy Tale Reform School...indefinitely. Gilly and her friends may have defeated the Evil Queen and become reluctant heroes, but the battle for Enchantasia has just begun.

Alva, aka The Wicked One who cursed Sleeping Beauty, has declared war on the Princesses, and she wants the students of Fairy Tale Reform School to join her. As her criminal classmates give in to temptation, Gilly goes undercover as a Royal Lady in Waiting (don't laugh) to unmask a spy...before the mole can hand Alva the keys to the kingdom.

Her parents think Gilly the Hero is completely reformed, but sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. Sometimes it's good to be bad...

Praise for Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked
"Fairy Tale Reform School has a clever concept and a fresh and funny take on the enchanted world. (I always wanted to know what happened to Cinderella's stepmother too!)"-Julia DeVillers, author of the Liberty Porter, First Daughter series and co-author of the Trading Faces series
"Spell-binding and wickedly clever."-Leslie Margolis, author of the Annabelle Unleashed novels and the Maggie Brooklyn mysteries

Charmed, the sequel to Flunked is the second book in the cute, fun Fairy Tale Reform School series. Readers are now familiar with Fairy Tale Reform School, its headmistress Flora, Cinderella's (formerly) Evil Stepmother, the teachers, Gilly and her friends. There is enough recap of what the school is, why Gilly is there, who (and what - ie Maxine is an ogre, Kayla is a fairy, etc) her friends are to bring readers back into the world.

At the end of Flunked Gilly and her friends seemed to save everyone. Yet, with Alva, the one who cursed Sleeping Beauty, still out there and wanting to take over, the students at FTRS still aren't safe.

I thought that the mystery parts of Charmed were not all that mysterious - whether or not it was because I'm older than the book's target reader, I don't know. I really didn't mind that I had that aspect of things figured out, though. It allowed me to focus more on Gilly, her character, her relationship with her friends, and how she was taking her new 'hero' status.

Gilly has to make some difficult decisions in Charmed: What's right for her, what will keep her family safe and keep her father's business flourishing, how much to embrace being a 'hero,' and how far to go to save everyone again.

The story, as the characters work to unravel the mystery, figure out the danger and how to counter it kept me reading. The Fairy Tale Reform School books have the villains from those fairy tales we all know so well (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Rapunzel) but there are also characters or mentions of characters from nursery rhymes (like Three Blind Mice). The mix of magical characters, (former) fairy tale villains, a reform school, pegasi, magical scrolls and danger is perfectly entertaining.

review copy received, from publisher, via NetGalley

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