Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Flunked and Charmed - Jen Calonita



Title: Flunked 
Author: Jen Calonita 
Format: Hardcover 
Rating: 1 Star 
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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?


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Title: Charmed
Author: Jen Calonita
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 1 Star
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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…


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 Two book reviews in one blog post?  What?  Yes, that's right, I am talking about TWO books by Jen Calonita: Flunked and Charmed.  

First things first: I am not the target audience for these books.  I am 36, and these books are geared towards 10 to 12 year olds.  So maybe that was part of the reason I didn't like these books.  

The actual writing in these stories was so dumbed down that I couldn't help but wonder if they were actually written for pre-school kids.  The sentence structure was weak, and the author basically told the reader what was going to happen next.  There were almost no surprises in these books, even by children's book standards.  Dear Authors, please remember that kids are smart, and they will know when you are writing books that are beneath them.  Don't treat kids like they can't handle well written, age-appropriate books.  The old standard of show don't tell still applies, even if the books are written for youth!

The characters in this story are daft.  Jax, for example, thinks he can just keep breaking out of school without anyone finding out why he's doing it (not so spoiler, he's a royal spy.)  Gilly has all the maturity of a child several years younger than her.  She doesn't seem like the type of person who actually has the nerves or character to steal for her family - I actually found it more likely that she would be the one to sit by and let others just take care of her.  

I know that in fairy tales there is this sort of idea that commoners will hate royals.  It's a given.  But the author kept beating the readers over the head with this fact throughout the stories.  I get it, Miss Calonita, the commoners hate the royals.  I think the thing that bugged me the most about this was that in these stories, there really didn't seem to be any reasoning behind WHY the commoners hate the royals other than the fact that they were royal.  It wasn't because the royals were mean, or vindictive, or spiteful towards the commoners - it was just because they were royal.  

I wouldn't recommend these books to anyone - even your children.  Find another book to read - you'll enjoy your time much more that way.


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