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The School for Good and Evil
Soman Chainani
Valiant - Holly Black After reading many of the reviews here, I was worried I would not enjoy this story, but since I already bought it, I decided to check it out. I was pleasantly surprised.

The story tells of high school student, Val, who ends up living with a small group of homeless kids in NYC. The group has dealing with exiled fae and the story tells of Val's internal and external journey over about a months time.

Many negative reviews pointed to the language and violenece prevalent in the book. It's true. This is definately not a book for everyone and parents may not want their teens to read it. However, I honestly do not feel the swearing or violence was gratutious. Val's journey is a dark one. She faces many perils and they aren't pretty. Drugs, violence, sex are all tackled. But I think Ms. Black tackles it with brutal realism that is both refreshing and potentially jarring. It's a very visceral experience to be sure. Black paints a vivid description of a darker side of Manhattan. Being from the city, I found her attention to detail so rich and accurate.

This is usually darker and "edgier" than what I prefer, but what I like about this story is that there is still an underlying sense of hope. Most stories like these are very cycnical, and I think Val's journey and the final result make it end on an up note. Val's journey was quite a ride.