Author: Jen Calonita
Genre: Children (tween), Fantasy
Series: #2 in the Fairy Tale Reform School series
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jaberwocky
First Published: March 1, 2016
First Line: "Official Decree of the Enchantasia Dwarf Police Squad - Wanted - Alva the Wicked Fairy"
Book Description from GoodReads: 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…
My Review: Author Jen Calonita needn't worry about the sophomoric blues in her fantasy series for tweens. While I liked Flunked, the first book in the Fairy Tale Reform series I actually liked this newest installment even more which was a welcome surprise. And what about the cover picture? Gah! It is, once again, beautiful and striking artwork. Hats off to the artist.
In Charmed Jen Calonita paints a vivid picture of her fantasy world where misguided kids are sent away to a reform school in which former 'baddies' such as the Big Bad Wolf and various other evil characters are now teachers. While the fantasy elements are strong it's the story and relationships between the characters that take centre stage. In Charmed, Gilly and her gaggle of friends - Jax, Ollie, Maxine and Kayla - once again band together to save Enchantasia and hopefully defeat the evil Alva once and for all.
Gilly remains a spunky character who has a great group of friends and is okay with bending the rules to keep the plot interesting. But this time there's an added issue. After her success at defeating evil in the first book she's let her notoriety and fame of that accomplishment give her a hefty sized ego which causes some issues among her friends. She may not be as likeable this time around but how she handles this issue with her friends gives young readers a good lesson too.
Charmed is charming, fun and magical. I'd highly recommend it for tween-aged kids ages 8-12
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Sourcebooks Jaberwocky and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.