By Awnali Mills
My last audiobook (which shall remain nameless) had a disc mess up on me, and I didn’t care enough about the story to get a new disc (the old one worked fine in my computer, by the way). But, I felt the need for something light hearted and fun instead. I grabbed Flunked by Jen Calonita.
Twelve year old Gilly is a thief. She justifies her stealing because she’s using the proceeds to supplement her family’s income to keep them from starving. Unfortunately, she gets caught and sentenced to three months in Fairy Tale Reform School (affectionately known as FTRS).
FTRS is run by the baddest of the bad—villains like The Wicked Stepmother, The Big Bad Wolf, and The Evil Queen. The school claims that only reformed villains can help juvenile delinquents learn to give up their law-breaking ways and become productive citizens. But are the villains themselves truly reformed? Gilly isn’t so sure, and has her doubts about the trustworthiness of her fellow delinquents.
Bad things keep happening, and Gilly tries to figure out how to break herself out of school before it’s too late. Then she learns that things aren’t what they appear, and has to make choices about which side she’s on, and who is worth trusting.
This book doesn’t take itself too seriously despite heavy themes about criminal activity, poverty, and reformation. It’s full of fairies, ogres, trolls, mermaids, and Rapunzel’s line of hair care products. Kristin Condon has such a sweet soprano voice that it’s rather hard to buy very serious villainy from her characterizations. Still, it’s worth recommending to kids who enjoy twisted fairy tales, or good vs. evil stories, as long as they aren’t expecting great literature, just a good time.
By Awnali Mills