Thursday, March 15, 2018

Fairy Tale Reform School series by Jen Calonita

Synopsis for Flunked:
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?

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

Synopsis for Charmed:
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…

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

Synopsis for Tricked:
Things are changing at Fairy Tale Reform School.

At least, that's what Gilly's heard through the Enchantasia rumor mill. Word is, notorious trickster Rumpelstiltskin has taken over management from Headmistress Flora, and he's locked down the school tighter than the Pied Piper's pants. Not that this news concerns Gilly. She's been released from FTRS and is now suffering through attending Jack of All Trades School, where she gets to learn about different kinds of shoe leather and ways to measure feet. Truly riveting stuff.

But when Gilly's little sister Anna gets whisked off to FTRS thanks to her troublemaking new friends, Hansel and Gretel, Gilly knows she's got to get Anna out of there. There's only one thing to do; make some serious trouble and get thrown back into FTRS.

It's time to out-trick a trickster.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

Synopsis for Switched:
Things at Fairy Tale Reform School are great. Rumpelstiltskin has been ousted, and everyone is buzzing about the fact that Beauty and Prince Sebastian (a.k.a. the Beast) have joined the teaching staff. Everyone, that is, except Gilly, who can’t seem to focus on anything but Anna. How is it that her beloved sister somehow went bad and joined up with Rump? And why doesn’t anyone seem to care? Sure, the Royal Court says they’re working on it, but they’ve got exactly nothing to show for it. 

But when new kid Jack joins FTRS with tales of his own family being snatched by Rump, Gilly knows she’s in good company. Jack wants answers, just like Gilly. And if the Royal Court can’t get the job done, then maybe it’s time to break some rules...

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
*NOTE: This a review of the entire series.*

Even though I'm 27, every now and then I like to read a middle-grade novel. There's something magical about a good middle-grade book. I love getting swept up in a story of good versus evil, where the good guy always wins in the end. It just leaves you with a warm and cozy feeling. I was looking through the books on my Kindle and saw that I owned all of the Fairy Tale Reform School series, and decided to binge read it. I loved it. I flew through the entire series in less than a week.

I think the FTRS series is one of the best middle-grade series I've read recently. It reminded me a lot of Harry Potter, if Harry Potter had fairy tale creatures in it. There are many similarities, such as a constant change of professors, moving hallways, and a school setting. However, FTRS series isn't a Harry Potter copycat. It takes those tropes, and turns them into something completely unique and fun to read about. I loved trying to figure out how the kids were going to solve their problems. Just when I thought the books were getting predictable, it would take a completely different. route and surprise me all over again. 

At first, I thought the series should have ended after the second book. I thought that there was no way the author could keep the series interesting without jumping the shark after the way book two ended, but I was completely wrong. She shocked me with how well she continued the story with the addition of Rumplestiltskin and the Stiltskin Squad. It kept things fresh, and got me re-interested in the storyline all over again. The very subtle political references had me cracking up laughing. My only complaint is that books three and four were a bit slow at times, but I think that's because the reader is introduced to so many new characters and plot mechanics. Everything changes, and with that comes a lot of world building.

I loved the FTRS series so much. It's one of my favorite middle-grade series I've ever read. Possibly one of my favorite series in general. I thought Switched was the last book in the series because it's the last book shown on Goodreads, but I hope it isn't. Switched left a lot of unanswered questions. I hope the author writes at least one more book in the series so we can get answers. I am looking forward to the spin-off series, Royal Academy, which comes out in late 2018. I can't wait to immerse myself back into this world, and hopefully see some more of my favorite characters. I recommend this series for anyone who wants to read a great middle-grade series with some fun fairy tale and fantasy elements.

I give Fairy Tale Reform School series: 4/5. 

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I received this series from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

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