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The School for Good and Evil
Soman Chainani
The Very Little Princess - Marion Dane Bauer This is a quick, simple read for young readers. Finished it within an hour on a train ride.

It's a cute concept which deals with the theme of loniless and friendship. However, I found it a tad harsh for young readers. It was very jarring, to me, that Zoey's mother simply leaves her at her grandmother's house. I wish more had been explained about the background between the mother and grandmother and also the reason as to why her mother was leaving Zoey with her grandmother. I think this might upset young readers as the thought of being abandoned with no resolution or explaination may be a very scary thought. I do think the use of the interaction between the doll and Zoey is a good way to showcase and understand lonliness, but more work needed to be done to the interaction with the family members.

One other thing I didn't care for was the author's tone when addressing the readers. It felt like she was tooting her own horn when she writes things like "Most stories would do this... but this isn't just another one of those stories". She does this several times and it really ruffled my feathers because it felt like the author was prasing herself and gloating to her reader, which is something I find to be very distracting and annoying. And personally, I did not find the writing amazing enough to warrant such an ego. There is certainly nothing gripping or outstanding about the writing nor the story. It is a bit plain, thought the idea itself is cute.

There are certainly some kids whom I think could appreciate this book, but I don't think it's for everyone. Children who have dealt with divorce, adoption or abandonment might find it to their liking as a way to cope with their own lonilness, but that's about it.