Banner by me.
Banner by me.
Banner by me.
You might be asking, “Charlene, why haven’t you been posting many book reviews these days?” I’m afraid to tell you that that’s the wrong question. The correct question is “Why haven’t you found any new books to review?”
Well, the simple answer is that I had difficulty finding books that interested me enough for a review. A lot of the books in the teen section are either romance, supernatural romance or dystopian romance. And you know how I feel about romance. So for the first few days of December, I’ve been looking for new books to read. I didn’t have much luck in the teen section, but I did remember this one book series that my friend has been crazy about recently.
I tried searching for it in the bookstore, but I couldn’t find it. Luckily, my friend has been kind enough to lend the series to me so I can read it. I would like to thank him for his generosity, good taste in literature, and for introducing me to new material for book reviews. This is All The Wrong Questions.
A Little Bit Of Background
Lemony Snicket is an author famous for his unique writing style. When Lemony Snicket writes, the fourth wall will not go unscathed, side comments will be made, and weird comparisons may arise. His most famous book series is A Series of Unfortunate Events, which I will have to read sometime. The subject of this review, however, is the prequel to that book series.
All The Wrong Questions is based off of hard-boiled detective stories and has a film noir aesthetic to it, which I really like. (Story time: There was an activity at school where the students had to dress up as book characters, and my friend and his group came as characters from this book, wearing things such as suits, sweater vests and some cool hats. The fact that they reminded me of mafia stories may or may not be what drew me to this book series. Anyway, on with the review!)
Welcome to the second installment of Brush And Ballpoint Pen. Today we’re diving into the world of magic and fantasy with The School For Good And Evil.
In the last review, I was out of my element. But here…oh, boy, I can’t feel more at home. Fantasy is my favorite genre, and this book is an amazing example of fantasy. I can’t wait to begin.
A Little Bit of Background
Now, of course you know about fairytales. Snow White, Cinderella, pretty much 80% of Disney movies. We know the fairytale so well: the princess wants to go to a ball, the knight wants to slay a dragon, and everything ends happily ever after. The fairytale is the most classic of the stories, which is why we keep trying to put a twist on them.
The School For Good And Evil trilogy (this review is for the first book) is one such work. It is written by Soman Chainani, a screenwriter who has also written a movie script for this book (as mentioned in the bonus content after the story). The book we will be reviewing today is the first book. The second book is called A World Without Princes and the final book is called The Last Ever After. I’ll get to those in the future. Let’s begin.
There are two girls named Sophie and Agatha who are best friends from a city called Gavaldon. Every year in Gavaldon, two children disappear to go to the School For Good And Evil and end up as storybook characters. Sophie, who avidly reads these books, dreams of being kidnapped as well and becoming a princess, while Agatha doesn’t care for them, but her mother and everyone else thinks she’d be perfect for the School of Evil. Then one night, the two girls are whisked away, but everything is not as they expect.
School For Good and Evil does a good job of developing the characters’ personalities in order to tell a good story. I was on the edge of my seat wondering what paths Sophie and Agatha would take next. In the middle, they encounter a riddle that they have to solve, and the story just gets more interesting from there.
The characters are very engaging. Sophie and Agatha’s personalities fit very well with each other. Though Sophie’s personality gets a little irritating at times, it is balanced out by Agatha’s more subdued personality. You really want to see how these characters turn out in the end. The other characters, particularly Sophie’s roommates and the teachers of both schools, are also very interesting. The one flaw is that there are characters with unused potential. One example is Tedros, who I hope has more development in the later books.
One of the reasons I’m looking forward to a movie adaptation of this book is the setting. The fairytale forest and the two schools are described beautifully, and I really got engaged in the scenery of this book. My favorite scene is the first scene in the lake with the wish fish, which I feel would look lovely in a movie. I like the contrast of the Schools of Good and Evil, and the respective settings that come with each like the galleries displaying each school’s best students.
Welcome to Brush and Ballpoint Pen , your one-stop source for book reviews. For this first one, let’s start with something low-key. This is A and D.
First things first, let me tell you one thing: I absolutely hate romance novels. To me, they’re corny and reading them makes me want to hurl. But since today’s book is a romance novel, I will try my best to not be biased and review this book as fairly as possible. With that said, let’s get it started.
A Little Bit Of Background
If you aren’t from the Philippines, you might be thinking, “wait, online stories get published?” Well, they do. Pop Fiction is a division of Summit Media that publishes stories from Wattpad by Filipino authors in these adorable little paperbacks with pretty anime covers (honestly, I really like looking at the covers of these books, they’re lovely) They’re really popular here, and some even get made into movies. I’ll probably tackle one of those in a future review.
A and D is written by Louisse Carreon, or fallenbabybubu on Wattpad. She has another published novel under Pop Fiction, Realize, that I may or may not get to. You can read A and D on Wattpad here.
You know Taylor Swift’s music video for You Belong With Me? That’s the basic story of A and D, but with a little more added.
Dakota and Aaron are best friends. Dakota is a nerd and Aaron is a jock with a cheerleader girlfriend. A lot of people say they shouldn’t be friends because Aaron is popular while Dakota isn’t. Still, Dakota is in love with Aaron, but because of the aforementioned dilemma, she finds it hard to admit her feelings. The events of senior year find ways to bring Aaron and Dakota together and progress their relationship.
As with all romances, I knew that our leads were gonna get together in the end. But my mom told me that in romance, the most important part is the middle.
The plot was quite simple with the girl-next-door-likes-her-popular-childhood-friend thing. The story also has some extra bits to keep it entertaining, like the subplot about the new guy. Overall, it’s not that plot-heavy, but it’s sweet. It might be boring or downright corny to some people, but it’s entertaining if you like fluffy romances.
The characters were okay. I like how the villains get more background than just being mean for the sake of meanness. I also like the supporting characters, such as Aaron’s two friends. Unfortunately, I felt like our two leads were too generic – just the usual nerdy girl and the jock guy you’ve seen in other romances before. I feel like that could’ve been improved on. At least they weren’t completely stupid like other romance protags.
The story is set in New York City, where our two leads live. It reminds me of the Princess Diaries in that respect. I’m not really sure how accurate it is to real New York, but I really like the Hudson River scenes, they’re lovely. The normal home and school scenes are written like your usual American suburban village/high school. Though the settings were normal, I really got into it.
Even as someone who hates romance, I still managed to enjoy this book. The relationship between our arguably cliche leads is pretty well-defined and there are some really sweet moments in it. It’s like cotton candy-light, fluffy and sweet. It’s nothing new, nothing exciting, just fluff. Yes, it is corny, but there’s a place for fluff in this world and that’s why I’m not giving it a lower rating.
So…I’ve decided to start writing book reviews under the title Brush and Ballpoint Pen. But before I post my first review, here are a few clarifications.
Q: Why Brush and Ballpoint Pen?
I named it after this song. I
am weeaboo trash just felt like it would fit.
Q: When are you going to post reviews?
Once a month at the very least.
Q: But Charlene, you rarely pay attention to this blog!
Well, this is my resolution. I am starting this partly so that I can use this blog more and partly so that I can read more books. Unfortunately I’m a slow writer, hence the one-review-per-month thing.
Well, with that said, I hope that I will post many, many reviews!
I was never supposed to see you, but destiny has its own ways.
The sight of you was a treasure for me, for I had heard of your legend from far and wide.
Though mundane to others, to me you were something new, something I had been looking for in a long time.
The streets are filled with your petals, and it is beautiful.
I wish I could just stay there, and do nothing but gaze at your beauty all day.
But sadly, I was never supposed to see you. I couldn’t do that. I had to leave.
As I made my way through the skies, I tried to look for you, in hopes of getting one last glance. I never did get that.
Though I have a memory of you in my heart, it just isn’t the same.
I look forward to the time I will be able to see you again…
But when is that? I don’t know.
I tried to do this prompt from the Daily Post…anyway let’s get started.
I’m sitting alone at the Starbucks at Paseo. I have somewhere to go, but I have nobody to wait with, my parents dropped me off there too early. So it’s just me, my drawing notebook, and a pencil. I’d buy a drink, but I’m too lazy to do so. Heh. As always…
I decide to entertain myself by watching the line of people who are buying drinks. Most of them are stylishly dressed teens, but there are also some adults, even some with children. A couple with a little girl are the last people in the line.
The little girl is squirming around, and can’t stand waiting so long in the line. She decides to leave her parents to find a seat. Incidentally, the only empty seat left is the one next to mine. Of course the little girl sits there, so I get a clear view of her. She seems to be about five years old, with short hair and a chubby face. Her face looks familiar. Too familiar.